Steven Spielberg

Jurassic World (Trevorrow, 2015)

Nostalgia is a dangerous thing. It’s a trap that we humans allow ourselves to fall into over and over, content to reminisce over what we had yesterday rather than create something new today. It seems that now more than ever people are attempting wherever they can to monetise our collective craving for shared memories: entire internet empires are being built out of an endless stream of content that exists just to say ‘remember this?’ and it seems that Hollywood producers are bearing back ceaselessly into the past with abandon: if it’s not a superhero movie, it’s a remake, or a reboot, or a throwback. Sometimes, as with The Amazing Spider-man, it’s all three at once.

So it makes sense to reboot Jurassic Park now, at just the right time for the generation that saw it as kids to be coming into disposable income for the first time. Park inspires passionate nostalgia in millenials, and with good reason: looking at it now, it’s still something of a marvel – with special effects both physical and computer generated that somehow still hold up today, a cast chock-full of iconic characters, and Steven Spielberg behind the camera at his most technically assured. It’s one of the most taut, purely pleasurable action films of its time. Its sequels, too, featured some thrilling sequences, but each applied same format with diminishing returns; dinos can only get so big before they get weary, and though they do include some new ideas, they suffer from repeating many of the same beats as their gold-standard forebear.

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Super 8 (Abrams, 2011)

I once knew a guy who hated Steven Spielberg. In his opinion, the Godfather of the Blockbuster was everything that’s wrong with contemporary cinema, the man that built the machine that each summer churns out reel after reel of empty, soulless images at 48 frames per second that the stinking masses will fork out obscene amounts of cash to view whilst mindlessly chewing popcorn like cattle, laughing at every fart joke and cheering as the body count climbs and their IQ falls.

Or something.  He never really elaborated on why he didn’t like him. Maybe he just didn’t think his films were very good. But either way, Super 8 is exactly why he’s wrong.
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