A Tribute to Steven Spielberg
Before I became one of the cyber coolies, I had this dream to be a movie director. And one man made me dream that way, Steven Allan Spielberg, a director who was my icon, my role model. Over the years I grew up, discovered more and more new directors. And yes had also seen the critical shellacking Spielberg often got from critics and movie lovers, over what they called his emotionally manipulative movies. I know friends of mine who are hard core critics of him. To each his own, I would say, but for me he still remains one of my idols and inspirations. On the occasion of his birth date, a series of posts written by me on Spielberg movies here.
One of the biggest mysteries along with the Bermuda Triangle and the Lochness Monster, is the existence of Unidentified Flying Objects, or better known as UFO’s.Do they or do they not exist? Is there life in outer space? Are we alone in the universe? Well questions which to date have not found any definitive answer. In 1972, Dr. J.Allen Hynek, an astronomer and UFO specialist, came up with the concept of close encounter, where a person witnesses an UFO. Hynek classified these encounters into different categories.
After Schindlers List, this was Spielberg’s second movie i think with a Jewish background. But the task was more difficult here. In Schindlers List, the enemy was the Nazis, and it was fairly easy to make a good vs evil movie. While Oskar Schindler had shades of grey, as he was in fact initially more of an oppurtinistic wheeler dealer, Amon Goth was some one in which you could hardly find any reedemable qualities, unless you happened to be a Neo Nazi or an admirer of Hitler. But when you take the subject matter of Munich, here there was no black or white. Yes the fidayeen, were evil men, but their cause had a legitimacy in most of the intellectual circles in the West. While not many agreed with the fidayeen attacks, there were many who sympathized with the cause of a Palestinian homeland. It is one thing to show American soldiers going in and beating the crap out of Nazis, but trying to show an Israeli-Arab conflict in the same manner, would have made it a caricature. Yeah you had those Delta Force series of movies, where Chuck Norris goes and beats the shit out of the bad Arabs, but who takes Chuck Norris seriously in the first place?
Artificial Intelligence has often been described as the science of making intelligent machines, or trying to make computers understand human intelligence. Ok, the rather Wiki-esh definition aside, trying to define A.I. or formulate it’s principles has still been a work in progress. The basic concept of A.I. is that computers can replicate human intelligence, and perform the tasks in an intelligent manner, as opposed to robots which basically perform a series of actions, dictated to them. But then that does beg the question, what form of human intelligence is purposed to be recreated? And if a machine can be programmed to think like a human being, can it feel the basic human emotions? And if a robot is capable of showing emotion or feeling towards a human being, does the same reciprocal emotion come from a human? No easy answers, here, because when we talk of intelligence or emotions or feelings, we are just getting into a subjective gray territory, where the answers are contextual, where nothing can be the right answer.
Sept 1939– The Nazis invade Poland and take over the city of Krakow. The Jewish population in the city is herded into a large ghetto. The purpose is to deport “able workers” for concentration camps and those not fit for work, to be disposed off. Jews from the countryside were forced into the Krakow ghetto. After massive deportation from Krakow, the remaining Jews were systematically disposed off, to make the city of Krakow clean from Jewish vermin. But even in the middle of such inhumanity, 1100 Jews were saved by one man. He was a German industrialist, a profiteer, a womanizer and a wheeler dealer, a very unlikely hero. But history would record the fact that when people choose to look the other way, he put everything on the line to save people whose only fault was that they did not conform to the perfect vision of a megalomaniac dictator. The man was Oskar Schindler. Based on the book Schindlers Ark by Thomas Kennealy, Schindlers List directed by Steven Spielberg is one of the most powerful and disturbing movies made on the Holocaust.
The cop Brody is shoveling a mixture of fish parts and blood into the ocean, hoping to attract the great white shark. And suddenly the shark appears out of nowhere, snapping, before it disappears back into the water. As the shark circles around the boat, Brody along with his mates Quint and Hooper watches it in fascination. Brody mutters “You are gonna need a bigger boat”.All the 3 people on boat are stunned, and so was the audience, including myself, when I first saw Jaws on the big screen way back as a kid. Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster Jaws was a landmark in many ways. Majority of the “creature vs man” movies had been B movie stuff, with a host of unknown actors, half dressed females screaming at top of their lungs, cardboard characters, clunky dialogue, and no script at all, barring a few like Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds . Jaws was one of the few A list movies in this genre and it also catapulted Spielberg from a talented director to one of Hollywood’s hotshots, as he followed this up with other big hits like Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET .
In our quest to appear wise, intelligent and matured, we are unfortunately forgetting how to enjoy life. If we do something, its not because we love doing it, but because we want to be seen doing it. Maybe its time to awaken the child in us. We might not have choices in certain aspects but even when it comes to things like movies, music and books, do we have to put on an adult façade. We want to be seen liking serious and dramatic movies, else we are afraid, we might risk being called dumb. Now I don’t have anything against watching a serious movie, but is there a rule which says that just because you are an adult, you must not watch or appreciate a kid’s movie.
He wears a hat, has a stubble. He dresses in soiled jacket, rough jeans and equally soiled shirt. His only weapon for protection is a whip and a small pistol. He is afraid of snakes and most of the time he keeps running in and out of trouble. Yes I think you got whom I am talking about, Indiana Jones, the hero of 3 Hollywood blockbusters directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and by far the best of all, the 1981 classic Raiders of the Lost Ark.