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Is the Golden Age of movie from Steven Spielberg over?


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#1 of 37 OFFLINE   todd stone

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Posted January 12 2004 - 11:15 AM

Now he has had hits here and there in the beggining and up till recent, but check out the middle chunk between 1975 and 1989 on the projects he has been tied with:

Jaws (1975)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Poltergeist (1982) (uncredited)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)


Those are many blockbuster hits. You just don't see blockbuster hits like that anymore imo.


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#2 of 37 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted January 12 2004 - 12:32 PM

His last few movies are A.I., Catch Me If You Can, and Minority Report. That, in my humble opinion, qualifies as a hot streak (of course, I'm a big science fiction fan).
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#3 of 37 OFFLINE   Ricardo C

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Posted January 12 2004 - 12:44 PM

On the contrary, I think Spielberg is in his prime now. The period starting with Schindler's list has been stellar, as far as I'm concerned. I didn't really think he was all that special before. Not that I didn't like his movies (especially the Indy films), but I just didn't hold him in very high regard. NOW, I worship at the man's altar.

Also, don't forget his little-seen but critically-acclaimed series of Mexican films made under his psudonym, Señor Spielbergo Posted Image

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#4 of 37 OFFLINE   Nick Sievers

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Posted January 12 2004 - 01:13 PM

Well I don’t worship at the man’s altar but i’ll agree he is in his prime of filmmaking. I would also say he is at his most mature stage of filmmaking. His last three films are good examples of this, although Catch Me If You Can is more a ‘fun’ film.

Some of his earlier films are excellent, but most of them are pretty much just well made popcorn flicks (not that there is any wrong with that). Not my favorite filmmaker, but the man is a master of his craft and I always look forward to when he tackles a more serious subject. Schindler’s List and A.I being prime examples and while Amistad didn’t particulary win me over he always comes back.
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#5 of 37 OFFLINE   Nathan V

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Posted January 12 2004 - 01:56 PM

"Is the golden age of movie from steven spielberg over?"

Wow, not at all. The films you listed are almost all popcorn flicks (albiet exemplary ones). He's moved beyond that. I agree, the man is in his prime now. Schindler's List speaks for itself. Amistad showed a mature understanding of narrative filmmaking as art, and a minor masterpiece in my opinion. Saving private Ryan was bloody terrific, his second best film. A.I. and much of Minority Report were amazing, and Catch Me was good too, but marked a return too his more playful days. His next film stars Tom Hanks as a european immigrant stuck in an airport terminal. No, the age of Spielberg is not over. His output now is substantially better than it was 20 years ago. I'd say he's one of the best mainstream directors in cinema today (several major exceptions, of course).

Also, note that Spielberg didn't direct Poltergeist, he simply paid for it. Not sure if you knew that already or not. Also, I see that Empire of the Sun wasn't mentioned in your list- check it out, it's a terrific movie, very underrated.

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#6 of 37 OFFLINE   MarcusUdeh

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Posted January 12 2004 - 02:48 PM

Quote:
Also, note that Spielberg didn't direct Poltergeist, he simply paid for it. Not sure if you knew that already or not. Also, I see that Empire of the Sun wasn't mentioned in your list- check it out, it's a terrific movie, very underrated.



I for one believe he did direct Poltergeist, there’s plenty of evidence that says he did. BTW you forgot the classic "The Color Purple" 1985 arguably one of the most quotable movies of all time.
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#7 of 37 OFFLINE   Mark Palermo

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Posted January 12 2004 - 03:21 PM

Commercially, Spielberg may not be in his prime. Artistically, he's entered the most exciting stage of his career.

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#8 of 37 OFFLINE   ThomasC

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Posted January 12 2004 - 03:24 PM

No way. Saving Private Ryan and Minority Report were excellent, at the very least.

#9 of 37 OFFLINE   WillG

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Posted January 12 2004 - 03:48 PM

I guess it's all a matter of preference. The films listed in the first post were the films that brought him to where he is today. So I suppose you could consider that his classic era. Of course, not every film he made during that time was Gold. Spielberg has admitted that his younger, more optimistic and naive days have passed him. I know he addressed that in the CE3K Documentary and even hinted that he would not have ended the film in the way he did today. Maybe some of his more recent work has been more "Important" and mature, but I, for one would have no complaints if he were to go back and do some of the wonderous Sci-Fi pics he has been known for (CE3K, E.T.) Popcorn thrill rides (Indiana Jones) or fright films (Jaws, Jurassic Park, Poltergeist - Didn't technically direct but was certianly "closely supervising")

I liked S.P.R. Minority Report and Schindler's list. But they were a bit heavy. C.M.I.Y.C. was lighter but I don't necessairly see it as trademark Spielberg.

Of course, I did grow up on all of those earlier films, so I may be a bit biased by nostalgia
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#10 of 37 OFFLINE   MartinTeller

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Posted January 12 2004 - 03:58 PM

Spielberg's absolutely in his prime. To hell with "blockbuster hits", he's now making films with a strong sense of style, and even intelligence.

Although I don't feel too good about another IJ movie, or bastardizing Thurber with Jim Carrey.

#11 of 37 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted January 12 2004 - 04:04 PM

I also find the presmise of this thread unbelievable...

Never mind A.I., Catch Me If You Can, and Minority Report, a hot streak as Jason so correctly notes, whatever happened to Jurassic Park, Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan?!!!

EDIT: I just realised that I own more movies from Spielberg than any other director.

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#12 of 37 OFFLINE   Kevin Grey

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Posted January 12 2004 - 11:58 PM

I for one believe he did direct Poltergeist, there’s plenty of evidence that says he did.


First I've ever heard of this. I'd like to see this evidence.

As to the original post, like most others here, I completely disagree. I think this is his most exciting time. There is a confidence in his work and choice of material now that he never had in his first decade of work. Saving Private Ryan changed the way war movies are filmed and the only war movie released since that doesn't owe it a debt is the Thin Red Line.

#13 of 37 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted January 13 2004 - 01:07 AM

Count me as another that thinks this is an amazing time for Spielberg. He's testing different genres, working great scripts, and making good to great films. His fallow period was post-Empire of the Sun until Jurassic Park. Which wasn't that long Posted Image

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#14 of 37 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted January 13 2004 - 01:20 AM

I for one believe he did direct Poltergeist, there’s plenty of evidence that says he did.

Spielberg himself has denied it outright, repeatedly. This many years after the fact, there would seem to be little reason to keep denying it if it were true.
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#15 of 37 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted January 13 2004 - 03:00 AM

Along with others in this thread, I think that Spielberg is, like a good red wine, getting better with age. Although I find both ‘Private Ryan’ and “Schindler’ to be both just a bit heavy, they are certainty both films of a director in full command of his craft and both attempt to comment importantly on important issues.

To contrast the earlier films cited in the first post, with something a bit more light hearted, consider for a moment, Jaws and Catch Me If You Can. Jaws is a straight fright film, almost perfectly made and perfectly realized. It is taken from a novel by Peter Benchley and vastly improved (the gratuitous affair is eliminated, for example) over what was never intended to be anything other than something to read on the plane or the beach. But even with that improvement, there is not much in the film (unless you wish to count a man coming to terms with his fear) to consider other than just good fun (and as others have already written, there is nothing wrong with that).

Catch Me If You Can, is also taken from a book, this one based on a real person. But here the difference is striking. The film begins as a bit of a light-hearted romp as we are introduced to the characters and the charm of a born con man. By the end of the film, Spielberg has given us a difficult father/son relationship to consider, the moral implications of the results of the con man’s deeds and his internal struggles as he becomes a part of the system which he was previously subverting.

Now this is all in what is usually described as a minor Spielberg film, or nothing other than a pleasant diversion. And perhaps there are a few flaws in the film—but it is a far more ambitious one than his earlier ones (Jaws and the ‘Indiana Jones’ films, for example) and far more complex, even if smaller in scale, and therefore more prone to error.

When I contrast a perfect, early blockbuster, with a recent minor film, I see significant growth in Spielberg’s films and filmmaking.
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#16 of 37 OFFLINE   BrettB

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Posted January 13 2004 - 03:22 AM

Here is a good summary of the who directed Poltergeist situation.
Personally, I believe Spielberg did do some of the directing. Exactly how much? Who knows.

I don't believe Todd was commenting on quality, but rather on the number of blockbuster films in that early period.

#17 of 37 OFFLINE   Kevin Grey

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Posted January 13 2004 - 03:45 AM

Here is a good summary of the who directed Poltergeist situation.


Thanks for the link. I did some more searching on Google- now I'm surprised I'd never heard this before.

I guess we'll never know but while Spielberg's hand is very evident throughout the production, from a cinematagraphy standpoint it doesn't feel like Spielberg to me.

#18 of 37 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted January 13 2004 - 04:24 AM

Hmmm... I hate to be the dissenting voice, but I'm not sure about Spielberg.

Let's get the obvious out of the way first - Duel, Jaws and ET are great movies, period. However, I find his later work over-indulgent and although brilliant in set pieces, overall I find it somehow lacking.

I'm not saying Spielberg is bad, because he isn't. I can enjoy or at least tolerate his work (though AI was hard going). But I rarely come away from one of his movies feeling I've learnt anything new or that there has been a particularly insightful survey into a person's character. E.g. Schindler's List - do you *really* learn anything new about the Holocaust or the people caught up in it? It's an emotionally stirring movie, there's no doubt about that, but I can't see how you could make a movie on this topic without stirring emotions. However, the memories I have of it are little stylistic moments like the girl in the red dress or the cut to the concentration camp chimney. Is that *really* what I should find most memorable in a movie about the Nazi atrocities?

The same goes for his other movies. There are great individual moments that have become iconic - the glass of water vibrating in Jurassic Park, the eyeball sequence in Minority Report, and so forth. But the movies in totality lack intellectual substance. I don't think in the long run Spielberg will be remembered as one of the cinema greats, as much as a purveyor of well-made but ultimately uninvolving movies.

Sorry, this is a personal view only, and I'm not saying that it's better than anyone else's, but I do think a cogent dissenting case can be made.

#19 of 37 OFFLINE   Chad R

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Posted January 13 2004 - 05:11 AM

don't believe Todd was commenting on quality, but rather on the number of blockbuster films in that early period.


Then, Spielberg is far from his golden years being over. If we are to accept that his biggest hits were limited to the 80's , then we'd be forgetting all of his huge hits in the nineties, including his biggest grosser, "Jurassic Park" in 1993. Just about all of his output, with the minor exception of "Amistad" (which still performed well) was a $100 million grosser, and "Saving Private Ryan" was the largest grosser of 1998. So his box office performance has remained consistent.

#20 of 37 OFFLINE   Seth--L

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Posted January 13 2004 - 05:13 AM

Spielberg has been making the same movie for the last 25+ years: stories about estranged parent-child relationships. Yawn.

I see there being nothing particularly noteworthy about some of his most acclaimed films of the '90s. Not only is Schindler's List a reductionist view of the Holocaust, but leave it to Spielberg to tell the one Holocaust story where people live (and of course he needs to insert the big weepy speech by Schindler at the end about how he could have sold his ring to buy 5 more Jews when in real life he fled the country with suitcases full of money, and later mettled down the ring he was given for cash; but of course these facts would have interefered with his simply story of redeption). The film also feels like a copy-and-paste job of 50s Polish Holocaust films - lost of shots just lifted from other films.

Then there is Saving Private Ryan which is a pure clone of '40s WWII films: a diverse group of Americans coming together and overcoming their differences to defeat a common cause. And obviously Spielberg added some graphic violence.
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