6. Brad Bird
The Trademark: Bird has a Midas touch: The Iron Giant redefined the animation movie and sounded like a modern fairytale, even for today viewers, it’s still unmatched. He gave Pixar two of their biggest hits ever: The Incredibles (Superheroes movies way before they were cool) and Ratatouille.
He contributed as a senior creative in most of their success pictures. His conversion to non-animated movie screamed perfection all over it: Ghost Protocol was a refreshing take of the spy movie series, more a reboot than a sequel with engaging script, funny dialogue, spectacular stunts : an adrenaline-rush adventure on a grand scale. The bet was unsure, but it worked.
The Crisis: Brad Bird has a small amount of films to make a comparison between yesterday’s hits and today’s deceptions for a fact. But the drop was considerable big regarding him: Tommorowland was considered by Disney as its major flop of 2015 despite his stellar cast, the big budget and the full support from the studio. Bird,on a more personal scale will be considered as the man who refused the proposition to direct Star Wars 7 to concentrate on the Clooney’s starter instead.
After that, Bird choose to return to animation movie with the most awaited sequel produced by Disney and another project with the mother studio Pixar, for sure, He can bounce back.
7. Alex Proyas
The Trademark: When you direct The Crow at 31 years old, the road to Hollywood is a clear highway. But you wrote, screen played and directed Dark City, you are no longer a revelation; you are a truly original artist. The deserved recognition of the flick was indeed shadowed by another sci-fi masterpiece called The Matrix. But, Proyas was listed by every studio in town as a next sci-fi handler with fan following.
The loose adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s several novels, I, Robot, was taken care of by him, promising a big star to assure a solid contender of the summer season of 2004. The result was a popcorn movie but served in a fancy restaurant. Alex Proyas could be considered after that, as the next Ridley Scott or the Next James Cameron with all legit reasons.
The Crisis: 5 years later.. Knowing? The next move of Proyas was unexpected and deceitful. In an ocean of mediocre movies hurting Nicolas Cage reputation badly, and with pure intention to cash-in with the whole apocalyptic end of the world trending back then (2012 was promised to a be a game changer), the result was pointless, unnoticed, not the ambitious vision expected from a promising filmmaker.
7 other years later, Gods of Egypt was given the cold shoulder from the first teasers, a polemic ensued about white washing the characters (One of the public biggest concerns right now), and the rant around the bad critics the director gave on internet didn’t help either to commercialize the movie.
All that left us wondering: what happened and what will happen to that talented and innovative director?
8. The Wachowskis
The Trademark: The singularity of the brothers resides in their originality: Bound was a stylish new take on film noir placed into a lesbian world, and of course the earthquake that is The Matrix: the movie picture that allowed blockbusters and movies production to go into the 21st century. The movie need no introduction, their reputation and solvability will always be attached to Neo & Co.
Larry (now Lana) & Andy could be given all the money in the world to write and direct sequels, and they did. Although, the reception was not equals to the 1999’s out of nowhere superhit, on commercial and critical grounds.
The Crisis: After the Matrix trilogy, there is no film of the Wachowskis whose finals gross exceeded the production budgets : Speed Racer, V For Vendetta and Cloud Atlas worked somehow, however the results weren’t what was expected for the creators of the well loved saga.
Trying to exploit again Matrix’s formulas: an original story (the three other movies where adaptations), famous actors, sci-fi world, ideas and concept to be enough for a whole movie series. Jupiter Ascending bombed at the box-office badly, the question now is that how any other studios will allow them to make movies in the future.
For many observers, the huge loses of both Jupiter Ascending and Tomorrowland in the same year are crystal clear that audiences won’t go anymore for original ideas: 10/10 of 2015 worldwide grosses are either sequels, remakes or adaptations.
9. Gus Van Sant
The Trademark: Van Sant is far from a rentable filmmaker oriented to mass entertainment. He gained reputation and fame around festivals and awards ceremony circles. He was one the last masters of independent cinema that have won prizes on Cannes Festival (Palme d’or for Elephant), Berlin, Boston, Deauville, San Francisco Film Critics Circle.
That makes big stars want to work to him : Sean Penn won his second Oscar with one of his movies Milk, and he was one of the last director that Sean Connery worked with before his retirement.
The Crisis: If The barometer for a commercial director is the lack of box-office results, so it’s only natural to presume that failure of independent movie filmmakers is the absence of any positive reviews or buzz about their work, and that happened to Gus Van Sant a lot after Milk: Restless, Promised Land (despite his on-going ecological message and the presence of affirmed actors such as Matt Damon, Frances Mc Dormand and John Krasinki) and most recently Sea of Trees which was hooted at Cannes (land of Van Sant’s most victories) in presence of Academy Award Winner Matthew McConnaughey (his lead star) can be seen as the start of an illness for the acclaimed director. Even if this don’t affect in many ways, the genius of its owner, but we could ask and observe how long this tragedy could stay ?
10. Wolfgang Petersen
The Trademark: Truth to be told, Petersen has no trademarks : He is just a steady , hard working yes-man who worked in Hollywood for over 3 decades after landing an international sensation with 1981’s Das Boot.
To his credits, how many actual directors could brag about having worked with all the famous and talented actors over the years and giving us such results as: Air Force One, OutBreak, In the Line of Fire, Enemy, The Perfect Storm and Troy? He was the first person contacted by Warner to direct the Batman Vs Superman movie back then in 2001.
The Crisis: The rising talent of younger and visionary director led Petersen to only take fewer and fewer projects over the years, his last noticeable one was the unmotivated and blank Poseidon which was another attempt to make profits out of the Catastrophe movie gender with a relatively known casting (Formula launched by movies such as the Towering Inferno and Earthquake, but exploited to the blood).
The movie wasn’t enough to face the 2006 summer’s other blockbusters: from Mission Impossible 3 (they were released in the same week almost) to Cars and The Da-Vinci Code and of course Pirates of Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.
That was enough for Petersen to call it even, taking a long break for Hollywood’s well paid jobs and trying like many exiled ones to return to the motherland to start from ashes a new career over there.
Author Bio: Abdessamia My Abdellah majors in Political Sciences and International Studies. He is devoted to Cinema in all its genres and nationalities. He seeks enlightenment through movies and books.