Steven Spielberg: A life in films

He is inarguably one of the most influential personalities in Hollywood; the most popular director of the West. His work has made him one of the wealthiest in film industry. We are talking about Steven Spielberg, the pioneer of modern Hollywood era, whose films blend art & entertainment with awe inspiring magic that transcend cultures across the globe & unite the human race. He has directed movies in such a wide spectrum that after watching all his movies you won’t believe that all of them have emerged from a single director. Spielberg’s documentary premiered on HBO featuring interviews with Martin Scorsese, Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Liam Neeson, J.J. Abrams, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas & many more discussing Spielberg’s career & Spielberg himself about his early life, his creative thought process & how he ran into movie brats. So, on this occasion, let’s revisit some of his best movies that I have watched…..

1. Jaws

Spielberg made his blockbuster debut with this monster thriller. Jaws offers a frightening picture of nature gone wild. It also taps into that primal fear of being afraid of dark. Before we see anything the menacing soundtrack builds into unforgettable frenzy as the unseen shark savages its first victim. Jaws had a lot of production problems but the night when it opened it became the biggest summer blockbuster only to be dethroned by Star Wars.

2. Indiana Jones franchise

Teaming up with George Lucas, Spielberg directed the Indiana Jones franchise about an archaeologist & his adventures. Its a crackerjack fantasy adventure that boasts a delicious sense of humour, a charismatic lead & a lot of fast paced action. Raiders of the Lost Ark is still considered a landmark example of action adventure genre. It was Indiana Jones that led Harrison Ford’s casting in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.

3. Jurassic Park

Neither a scientist nor a biologist, it took a filmmaker to bring dinosaurs back to life. And he did with such aplomb that it developed into one of the highest grossing franchise of all time. The CGI was revolutionary. The introduction of T-rex, the glass of water scene still rubs my conscience. Even after 20 years the CGI still looks fresh with retaining sustained awe & sheer terror. That combined with one of John William’s best score makes for a movie that’s entertaining & excoting every time you see it. Jurassic Park is a movie that has aged beautifully over the years.

4. Saving Private Ryan

Spielberg delivered one of the gut-wrenching war films of all time. This emotional masterpiece became an unforgettable journey of search through the atrocities of bloodshed & destruction. Believe me, we all wanted to find Private Ryan safe. The film is notable for its graphic portrayal of war, the intensity of opening 27 minutes along with powerful performances from Tom Hanks, Vin Diesel & Matt Damon. Spielberg received an Oscar for best direction. Recently when Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk came out, audiences started wondering which was better. Well, its upto you to decide!
5. Minority Report

A sci-fi movie. Steven Spielberg & Tom Cruise. What else do you want? Based on a short story by Philip K Dick, Minority Report is not about knowing the future but about predicting it. It explored the concept of free will vs determinism. If the future is set & known will we be able to change it? With high octane action, blast of sci-fi, elements from neo-noir, whodunit, Minority Report is a cleverly crafted & propulsively executed sci-fi thriller.

6. Catch me if you can

Based on a real life story of a con artist Frank Abagnale, Spielberg supersedes himself with one of the most stylish, enjoyable & compelling films of his career. Leonardo DiCaprio is one of those young gifted actors. Catch me if you can is an excellent account of FBI’s most wanted manipulating millions. Or do we want to get manipulated?

7. The adventures of Tintin

Blistering barnacles! Thundering typhoons! Teaming up with Peter Jackson, Spielberg delivered an entertaining, thrilling, energetic motion-capture film about an intrepid reporter Tintin. With dazzling adventures & gravity defying action, Spielberg could be the action wizard of our wildest dreams. The movie will definitely remind you of Indiana Jones.

8. Bridge of Spies

Another period piece with Tom Hanks. A Cold War espionage thriller slightly devoid of spectacle bit an inspiring drama about a man like any of us who struggled to do the right thing. Instead of evoking a noir atmosphere Spielberg indulges in symphonic sentimentality.
Though there are other movies that I have excluded from the list (Close encounters of the third kind, E.T. the Extra-terrestrial, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Schindler’s List, Amistad, Lincoln, War Horse, Empire of the Sun, etc.) as I haven’t watched them but one day sure I will. What Leonardo DiCaprio said about him served as a fitting tribute to the legend.

“ You think of that one kid sneaking his way into the studio & manifesting his own destiny. Its a pretty fantastic Hollywood story!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s