It cannot be denied that Steven Spielberg’s body of work is extraordinary. The last film I saw was Lincoln, which sadly stayed just for one week in a Vadodara multiplex. I recommended it to my college friends, praising the film lavishly for its performances, script and direction, and they surprised me by actually watching the movie. I didn’t expect them to see such a movie.
As I was telling them about Lincoln, I assumed they’d be thinking something like ‘Well, he wants us to see a three hour lecture on Lincoln. Okay, let’s pretend for now that we are super keen to see this film so he’d shut up quickly!’. They saw the film and loved it too. Then, during my internship at a multiplex in Chennai, I recommended it to a family who’d just come to see Monster’s University. They too probably got tired of me. But I think they’d have watched the film too. So Spielberg, if you are listening, I brought people to your film!!
The first Spielberg film I saw as a kid was probably Jurassic Park. As a kid, all that interested me was that the film was about dinosaurs. I remember I would badger my parents to bring me books on dinosaurs. I loved to read about the types, sizes and behaviours of these gargantuan lizards, and about how these creatures were eventually wiped off by a meteorite. I still do hold some fascination for the weird and the unknown, although I’d really not want to meet them in case they are alive, especially the Jba Fofi cryptid spider! Spielberg revives these ancient beings of terror and wonderment in his epic action-drama film. I have seen this films in parts a couple of times in the past few years, and have always wondered this: How did Spielberg and his team create those damn dinosaurs more convincingly than most monsters we see in films these days? Its truly a wonder.
Over the years, I have watched The Lost World: Jurassic Park (hard to recollect now, but I think its set on an island), E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (frankly found it overrated the second time I watched it, but I’m keen on watching it again with the perspective of a 20 year old movie lover), the Indiana Jones quadrilogy: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (my personal favourite) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (didn’t like it the first time only but its grown on me during subsequent viewings), The Color Purple (memorable for the performances by Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey), The Adventures of TIntin (one of the best use of 3D in film) and Jaws.
I saw a bite of Jaws again today, up to the part where the shark lurks in the pond area where the protagonist’s kid is swimming. I haven’t seen much of Spielberg, I admit. I haven’t seen his famous war films, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, nor have I seen the futuristic A.I. Artificial Intelligence or The Munich. And still, I can say Spielberg’s got balls of steel for extending his vision across different genres, different worlds. I loved dinosaurs as a kid but I don’t care much about them now. He may or may not have been a fan of these monsters during his childhood, yet he makes a film only to protract his radius of imagination. He has captured nearly every territory: dinosaurs, sharks, aliens, stallions, robots, pirates, adventure heroes and most importantly, people.
His film has real people with real ambitions, strengths and weaknesses and they speak dialogues that don’t sound corny (James Cameron’s Titanic, a commendable technical achievement and an emotional journey no doubt, nevertheless has dialogues that feel increasingly embarrassing with repeated viewings. Some in fact sound like they’re part of Teenybopper Disney films that are replete with clunkers like ‘I want to break free’ ‘I wish I could be like you’). Lincoln could keep me hooked for three hours in spite of all its lengthy monologues (which are brilliantly written. Credit goes to Tony Kushner, also the writer of Angels in America). Spielberg allows his camera to follow Lincoln in a way that we behold him as a leader; its amazing how different shades of his character are subtly brought out through effective direction and cinematography. Read my review of Lincoln here: https://sashankkini.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/reviewing-steven-spielbergs-lincoln-starring-triple-oscar-winner-daniel-day-lewis-along-with-veteran-actors-sally-field-and-tommy-lee-jones/
SOME OF SPIELBERG’S MOST FAMOUS MOVIES
After watching 19 year old blogger, short film director-writer and illustrator Krishna Bala Shenoi’s one minute animated tribute to Steven Spielberg, I am eager to get my hands on every movie Spielberg has made. This short film has lovely animation made using Rotoscope, which is a technique where live action footage is taken and traced over frame by frame to give the resulting drawings a seamless effect.
Shenoi uses Adobe to create this film, and he tells, in his article on famed critic Roger Ebert’s blog where he contributes as a far-flung correspondent, how Speilberg himself hand-wrote a letter complementing him for his work. And this guy lives in Bangalore, not somewhere in Beverley hills. Isn’t that just magical?
Link To Krishna Bala Shenoi’s Blog: http://krishnabalashenoi.wordpress.com/
Link To Krishna Bala Shenoi’s Film on his blog: http://krishnabalashenoi.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/steven-spielber/
Link To Krishna Bala Shenoi’s Article on Ebert site: http://www.rogerebert.com/far-flung-correspondents/steven-spielberg-my-animated-tribute
- Steven Spielberg aiming to make a film with Zhang Yimou in China (theguardian.com)
- Steven Spielberg Drops Out of Directing ‘American Sniper’ (m.deadline.com)
- The Legend of the Film-School Generation: Steven Spielberg (moviesavvy16.wordpress.com)
- Clint Eastwood takes aim, plans to replace Spielberg as director of Chris Kyle’s biopic, “American Sniper” (guns.com)
- Steven Spielberg won’t direct ‘American Sniper’ as planned (upi.com)
- Is Hollywood Model Doomed? Steven Spielberg and George Lucas Think So (rollingstone.com)
- Steven Spielberg Drops Out of Directing ‘American Sniper’ (deadline.com)
- The Movie Brats (pecsonclarisse.wordpress.com)
- Joss Whedon Points at ‘Temple of Doom’ Scene as Example of Cultural Problem (slashfilm.com)