Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Mr. Underrated - Joe Johnston
His movies have been smash successes, but does anyone know his name? I have found that when I mention it, most people have no idea what I'm talking about.
Joe Johnston might just be one of the most underrated directors around. Not to say that every film he has done has been pure gold, but his name has been associated with lots of hits, without any of the credit attached.
He started out with one of my favorite childhood movies, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. I remember growing up watching this movie over, and over, and over. As I remember it, it was a decently funny movie, with some awesome special effects, especially for 1989. Of course, I haven't seen the film in years, and my opinion of it could very well change if I saw it now. So for the sake of preserving Mr. Johnston's work, I think I'll wait.
He then went on to direct one my all-time-favorite films, The Rocketeer. It's the story of a young pilot who finds a german rocket pack, that, once he learns he can strap it to his back, becomes a jet pack. What a fantastic 90's movie it is. It's simple, stylized, and fun.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is not the only childhood movie that Johnston has directed. He also handled the live action sequences of The Pagemaster. But unlike Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, this film still holds it's own today. The whole thing is very solid, and the opening sequences that Johnston were in charge of are very commanding.
So far we have a pretty solid lineup for Johnston. He went on to direct Jumanji, another great movie, October Sky, which everyone on Earth should be required to see, and Hidalgo, a fun, fast paced adventure. Of course, he did have his stinkers, like Jurassic Park III, but this is still a very strong resumé.
As for right now, Johnston has two projects coming up, that are sure to be big hits. You can look for his name on the upcoming remake of The Wolf Man (though personally I am surprised Stephen Sommers had not attached himself to that one) and The First Avenger: Captain America.
I am extremely excited for both of these, and I hope Joe Johnston continues to make his mark in film - and I also hope he starts to be associated with the films he makes.