This thread likely contains spoliers for The Rise Of Skywalker - if you don’t wish to be spoiled… do not read the rest of this thread.
I’m starting a new topic so this can be discussed more appropriately.
Background info: I wish I had read this before I saw TFA, because I had not seen a JJ film since Mission Impossible III and I was totally unprepared for his style. I can’t stand his style - it’s not any one factor alone, but the combination of the filming techniques that he employs - notably shaky-cam, snap-zoom, framing decisions, lighting decisions, excessive very fast edits, focus-shift, constantly moving the camera around, and so on.
Some people are saying there isn’t much shaky-cam in TFA - well I don’t know by what yard stick you’re measuring with, but compared to 80’s and 90’s action classics like Terminator II there’s an awful lot. And it’s not only in action shots, here’s an example of shaky cam in a stationary shot: https://imgur.com/xrULFXV. And an example scene from ROS that has a ton of shaky-cam in it: https://youtu.be/693qGarrgbw?t=15
So what is shaky cam? According to Wikipedia, it’s a cinematographic technique where stable-image techniques are purposely dispensed with. It is often “hand held” or has the appearance of hand-held.
Do people like it?
There are a range of individual responses to the technique. I think that most people do not like it but will tolerate it, or at least tolerate it to a certain level. I tolerate it too, but TFA was way too much for me. Its effect is also very different in the cinema compared to the small screen at home. It can make some people feel dizzy or sick - that doesn’t happen with me, my eyes glaze over and I stop trying to follow the action. Some people do like it as well, as is the case with the author of the Verge article which was written before TFA even came out.
Why is it used?
According to the discussion on cinematograpy.com, one reason it is used is as a compromise. Sometimes there is not enough time to film action sequences, or the action just doesn’t look right so the director will shake the camera. In JJ’s case, as with the example I’ve posted, he uses it even outside of action scenes - for him it’s an artistic choice, rather than done out of necessity. It’s also become more common and accepted in Hollywood action films over the past 15 years. In my opinion this kind of filming represents over-use of the technique, when the camera is pulled in too close and half of the action is out of frame, the audience can’t follow it even if they want to.