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Introduction to the Steven Spielberg Retrospective


Article By: Dan Clark

Sometimes to better understand the present it is good to look back at what came before. The landscape of film is vastly different today than it was a mere ten years ago, let ago twenty, thirty, or even forty years ago. While huge blockbusters are the norm today, there was a point when they did not even exist. In order to put this evolution into perspective I will be starting a new series for GCRN called Director Retrospectives. With this series I will be analyzing notable directors from the last forty years who have had a huge impact on the world of cinema. I will be looking at their entire history of film—from where they started all the way up to where  they are today. To accomplish this goal I will be chronologically reviewing every theatrical release of the selected director. After the reviews have finished I will craft a few general post about their careers as a whole. I will look at things like iconic moments, characters, and even rank the films from worst to best.

When deciding what director to begin this series with my mind went to one man…Steven Spielberg. Why Spielberg? There are a number of reasons. Personally Spielberg was the first director I was cognitively aware of as a young child. I watched many movies growing up, but had no idea how they were really made. Interesting enough cartoons like Tiny Toons and the Animaniacs were my first exposure to the occupation of director. Spielberg’s presence was all over those cartoons and that lead me to seek out some of his most notable films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., and one of my personal favorites Jurassic Park. So with this series I hope to delve even deeper into his career to better understand who he is as a filmmaker.

Besides the personal connection there is no denying Spielberg is one of if not the most well-known names in Hollywood. So why not start with one of the biggest fishes. He’s coming off another banner year where his film Lincoln earned him another Best Director Nomination. (Note: Lincoln will not be included in this retrospective because it was already reviewed by me here) In addition 2013 also marks the 20 year anniversary of both Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List (How old does that make you feel?). So it seems as good as a time as any to reexamine the career of Spielberg.

Many people of my generation credit Spielberg for igniting their love of movies. With his vast filmography it is hard not to see why. Personally I don’t rewatch films very often. There is so much out there I haven’t seen it is hard to find time to revisit films I have already watched. This gives me a perfect excuse to take a second look at some classic films, as well as the opportunity to seek out a number of films I have yet to experience. I hope you will follow along in this quest so we can experience it together. The schedule is below for your convenience. Feel free to voice your thoughts on Spielberg in the comment section below, and tell us what your favorite Spielberg film is and why!

Part 1: Review of Duel

Part 2: Review of The Sugarland Express

Part 3: Review of Jaws

Part 4: Review of Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Part 5: Review of 1941

Part 6: Review of Raiders of the Lost Ark

Part 7: Review of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial

Part 8: Review of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Part 9: Review of The Color Purple

Part 10: Review of Empire of the Sun

Part 11: Review of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Part 12: Review of Always

Part 13: Review of Hook

Part 14: Review of Jurassic Park

Part 15: Review of Schindler’s List

Part 16: Review of The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Part 17: Review of Amistad

Part 18: Review of Saving Private Ryan

Part 19: Review of A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Part 20: Review of Minority Report

Part 21: Review of Catch Me If You Can

Part 22: Review of The Terminal

Part 23: Review of War of the Worlds

Part 24: Review of Munich

Part 25: Review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Part 26: Review of The Adventures of Tintin

Part 27: Review of War Horse

Part 28: Spielberg’s Top 10 Characters

Part 29: Spielberg’s Top 10 Most Iconic Moments

Part 30: Ranking Spielberg

Part 31: The Conclusion of the Steven Spielberg Retrospective

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