Spielberg is a director who uses his own likings and funky elements in his films. Throughout the semester we viewed plenty of Spielberg’s movies with the technological aspect, which ultimately was seen throughout the film. He liked to add the futuristic elements in his films and he did this through the use of technology. Technologies in Spielberg’s films are different than technology seen in other films. He uses technology as a back story, a creation story, and sometimes even a means toward escaping. In an article from Hindustan Times, Spielberg talks about the use of technology in his films saying, “I never make movies for the same of technology; I only use it to tell a better story. The technology is there to help this kind of film come into existence, but then it should disappear, so all you’re focused on is the story and the characters.” I think this quote is very well represented in his films. There are three films that we screened that are prime examples of this: A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, E.T., and Ready Player One. Ready Player One is a film which settings change concurrently throughout the film. We shift from virtual reality to actual reality, and then finally to the future. The majority of the film is taken place in the virtual reality world of the OASIS. When James Halliday dies, the creator of the game, he leaves behind this game with a hidden egg located somewhere inside. The goal of the game is to find the egg which will award you with a fortune. Again Spielberg wants the viewer to note that although technology is a driven force within the movie, the characters are still the main focus of the movie. The beginning of the film introduces the main character, Wade, who is struggling to find his place in the world when everything becomes a slum. He goes though trials and tribulation which ultimately lead him to the game in search of the Golden Egg.
The second film which illustrates the use of technology is A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. This film uses technology as an evil force with the creation of the Robots. This film is a pastiche of Pinocchio and quite the opposite of E.T. Like I mentioned, this use of technology in this film was not created for an evil purpose, but towards the climax, we see this occur. The Mecha that have been created due to the wipe of the population from global warming and flooding, have humanist characteristics such as emotions and thoughts. The population is wiped in the end and the Mecha are only left which results in them creating more. Once the Mecha realize that David and Teddy are the only ones who knew the humans, they revive them. David tries to recreate Monica but it’s not successful. Here, we see the technology taking over the world, but yet the humanistic qualities are what make the film Special.
Finally, E.T. In this film, technology and the use of futuristic beings are essential to the story. Although E.T. is not from this world, we see the human characteristics of empathy, love, and happiness are all shown. Spielberg strives to bring out the best in people and this film is a prime example of him doing so.
As a child, Spielberg had a fascination with planes with planes and building model planes. This fascination led to him building models and using them in his films as small little tokens of his enjoyment. Throughout most of his life, his dad played an essential role, especially as he was growing up. His Dad taught him things and showed him many things which Spielberg now uses in the majority of his. Along with the love of planes, Spielberg also used common war themes in the majority of his films. The reoccurring theme of WWII can be given credit to his dad as well. An interview with New York Times, talks about how his father was an influence to his likings for WWII scenes. He talks about how he was meant to be born in the 1940’s since it is so influential in his life, I’m closer to the 40’s personally than I am to the 80’s. I love that period. My father filled my head with war stories – he was a radioman on a B-25 fighting the Japanese in Burma. I have identified with that period of innocence and tremendous jeopardy all my life. I collect documentaries, and I think I have every one made on that period. It was the end of an era, the end of innocence, and I have been clinging to it for most of my adult life. This interview done by New York Times, was supposed to be reflective of Spielberg’s time up until his forties. He mentions why he decides to do numerous things in his films and how growing up he had many influences.
Raiders of The Lost Ark, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan and many of the films we screened this semester are prime examples of these two concepts (WWII and Flying or Planes) in his films. According to our notes, Spielberg admitted that he had never been interested in World War I prior to learning about the War Horse book and play. Throughout all of these films, we see this theme as a main reoccurrence. In Saving Private Ryan, according to our notes, the film is notable for the graphic and realistic portrayal of war, and for intensity of it opening. Also in our notes, when asked about WWII and it reoccurring theme Spielberg said for the American Cinematography, I think that World War II is the most significant event of the last 100 years; the fate of the Baby Boomers and even Generation X was linked to the outcome. Beyond that, I’ve just always been interested in World War II. My earliest films, which I made when I was about 14 years old, were combat pictures that were set both on the ground and in the air. For years now, I’ve been looking for the right World War II story to shoot, and when Robert Rodat wrote Saving Private Ryan, I found it. All of these films seem to have WWII references which make for a better story and movie overall.
The fairy tale structure consists of three crucial elements: a wish, a journey, and a task. In the film Amisted, the journey element of the fairytale structure is seen when the salve ship is making its way to the United State from Cuba. On their journey one of the African leaders takes over the ship and kills every Spanish, but saves the lives of two. They only saved the lives of the two because they needed navigation back to Africa. Little do they know that they are heading to the United States.
The ultimate wish for the Africans is to be taken back to their homeland of Africa after they are captured upon landing in the United States. To have their wish granted, they go through a series of tasks which help their case and ultimately get them home. Based on a treaty, the Africans belong to Spain when faced with the charge of murder. Once word get out about this situation, a man by the name of James Covey comes to the aid of the Africans along with the lawyers they have for their Supreme Court hearing. He is able to speak and understand their language, which makes him sort of a liaison for them. The battle was long and hard during the trial, but in the end the Africans were allowed to return home. Upon return, their home was then destroyed by the orders of Van Buren causing drama for his re-election. He is not re-elected which resulted in arguments and what not, ultimately leading to the Civil War.
One of the films that we screened this semester was Ready Player one. This film tell the story of a boy who is orphaned and lives with his aunt after the world goes through a crisis. The year is 2045 and people are playing a game invented by James Halliday. This game is a virtual reality game in which players have to search for a giant Easter egg that Halliday left. They are on a mission of finding the egg while trying to hide from the OASIS. The OASIS is the world that the game is in which has people from all over the world. While completing the task in order to capture the egg before other teams and individuals, Wade and his friends face many trials and tribulations on the way to their victory. Through the loss of a friend, being orphaned, and leading his team to victory, his team and Wade show us what it means to be a true warrior and leader.
The short story that I chose to compare this film to is “The Little Match Girl” written by Hans Andersen. The story is about a girl trying to sell matches on a cold New Year’s Eve. If she doesn’t sell enough matches, her abusive father will beat her and her house will not be warm enough to sleep in. Her grandmother has passed away and the little girl thinks of her occasionally on her late night journeys trying to sell the matches. While on her journey she comes up to a big Christmas tree full of lights, the same night that she saw a shooting star. Before her grandmother passed away, she would tell her granddaughter that whenever someone would see a shooting star, it meant that someone is dying and going to Heaven. Unfortunately, the girl did not survive the cold weather and joined her grandmother in Heaven.
There are many things that this film and short story have in common but aren’t as obvious as one would think. Both Wade and the little girl on a journey: the little girl is on a journey to try and sell the matches and Wade is on a journey to try and escape the world that he is living in after it all is surrounded by water due to global warming. Both the little girl and Wade have people in their lives on their journey and they both lost a loved one: The grandmother guides the Little girl and is with her all the time, even in the afterlife and Wade was an orphan who lived with his Aunt who lost everything when global warming ruined the world. In the end they both got what they ultimately wanted: Wade got the Easter egg and the little girl was reunited with her grandmother.
Schindler’s List tells a story about a business men, Oskar Schindler, who was a big influence at the time of the Holocaust. He saved many lives by risking his own and doing the right things in order to save the refugees. During World War II, Amon Goth arrives and oversees a closing of a concentration camp. During this Oskar witnesses many people shot and killed, ultimately causing him to have a change of heart. He maintains his friendship with Goth while he mistreats ones he loves. Goth is ordered to send the remaining Jews to Auschwitz but Oskar insists on being able to move them himself. By moving them himself, he saves over eight hundred lives. There were some interruptions along the way and some confusion, but with some bribing and diamonds, Oskar was Successful.
“Beauty and The Beast” tells a story about a girl names Belle. Belle is loved by many and is very close with her father. Gaston has taken interest in Belle and tells everyone that he is going to Marry her, but he can only do so with her father’s approval. Belle’s father travels on a dark and cold night, trapped by wolves, and finds himself in a huge castle. This castle is home to the Beast who is known to be vicious and very lacking of empathy. Belle goes to find her father and winds up at the castle. When she is there she has learned that her dad has been taken prisoner by the beast and the only way for him to leave is if she takes his place; which she does without a question. Now, trapped in the castle with the beast, she has to do everything he says, but of course, she does it reluctantly. In the end the beast and Belle fall in love but Gaston brings an army of people to fight the beast. In the end, Belle and the Beast end up together and the curse is lifted, reuniting everyone with their loved ones.
These two stories are very similar, just on a smaller scale. Belle and Oskar are similar on a level because they both have the best interest at heart, and they end up saving a lot of people. Belle falls in love with the beast which reverses the curse and Oskar request to transfer the Jews himself, which they eventually are let free. There is a war/battle taken place in both stories: World War II is taking place in Schindler’s List and Gaston starts a battle when attempting to rescue Belle from the beast. Both stories save the lives of numerous amounts of people: Due to the curse from the which, People are no longer teacups or furniture and are reunited with loved ones in Beauty and The Beast. Oskar saves over eight-hundred people by being able to transfer the Jews on his watch. Both stories are very similar, it just takes some more in depth thinking to acknowledge it.
According to Molly Haskell, religion was a big influence in Spielberg’s films. Growing up, being Jewish was difficult. Haskell had a never been a fan of Spielberg’s work, they were difficult to adapt to given her background of only liking European films. In school, he would be pushed and shoved or treated differently than others due to the simple fact that he was Jewish. In an interview with C. J. News, he said “being Jewish and wimpy made me part of a major minority.” Being part of that minority played a pivotal role in shaping Spielberg.
He was ashamed of being Jewish because of all that it reflected on him as a person. Back then, it was easy to associate ones religion with how that person acted. The morals of the Jewish people align differently with values associated with other religions, they are more strict and more formalized. The same article from C.J. News talked about how he grew up in predominately Christian neighborhoods. It also talks about the controversies he and his family had to face only because they were Jewish. As he grew up, he accepted that it was part of him, and decided to let his best light show.
During his early movies, there are barely any resemblances or associations with the Jewish religion. Then Munich and Schindler’s List, films based on Nazi Camps and the Holocaust were released. These films let out the best of his Jewish religion and are both well-known films in the industry today. Schindler’s List especially, was the turning point in Spielberg’s career where he really let his religion shine. He used it to show the role of the Jewish people and their history. This movie was the blockbuster no one really expected from Spielberg. He had never let his Judaism shine and now he exposed it far beyond what people would have expected him to do. Munich followed Schindler’s List and was also another blockbuster film or Spielberg. This film also faced some controversy due to the fact highlighted elements of the massacre that riled tension with the Israelis.
Many of his films have bits and pieces which reflect his life, specifically his childhood. In an interview with CBS News, he talks about being Jewish in America, his parent’s divorce when he was younger, and other factors that influence his movie in general. Haskell briefly touches on this topic but doesn’t get into much detail when it comes to how it influenced his movies, in what way did it influence his movies, or how it made him feel.