In this video, the Jurassic Park crew is doing some location scouting, and Spielberg is getting ideas and spouting reasons for his decisions on the fly. It’s this kind of pure and unadulterated inspiration that makes this video so awesome and to have a home in this series of posts.
When he’s talking about the brachiosaur pulling the leaves off the tree, and the branches are bending, and the leaves are being shaken off and falling to the ground; that’s what I’m talking about. Here’s the scene from the movie...
What was the last Spielberg movie you saw that you thought had all of what Spielberg meant to the movie industry? E.T.? The classic Indiana Jones films? I suppose the question is somewhat subjective. I’m talking about feeling like you know what’s going on, and then being taken by surprise when your senses have been fooled and something else plays out. I suppose that’s really not even all of his movies, but that’s the type I’ve grown to appreciate Spielberg for.
For me, it’s Jurassic Park. Think about the opening scene. It’s dark. Some trees are shuffling to low growling sounds. You know the movie is about dinosaurs, so it would make sense to assume it’s a T-rex or something about to pop out from the jungle. The suspense fills. Which dinosaur would it be? Is it being chased by something? The trees are shaking more violently now! I think I can see some light! What is it??!
The same sort of thing happens with Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The movie sets the audience off with a pretty dark tone, full of mystery and suspense, and sometimes even venturing into a thriller. But in the end, the film is about some friendly aliens with beautiful ships and ultimately no harm is ever inflicted upon anyone.
I think Spielberg has lost some of his magic over the last 15 years or so. You’ll see it come back every now and then in great movies like Minority Report, but for the most part the movies have seemed like he’s just directing, and not imagining. Maybe there’s a lot of pressure on him to make the next big thing, and I think we can all relate to how much you want to do something when someone is pressuring you to do it...