Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Yoda vs. E.T.

If you want a break from politics, check out this fascinating article on the Lucas-Spielberg friendship/feud at Slate. Who knew? For my part, I respect Lucas's vision, but he's an awful filmmaker. Spielberg relies on simplistic plot devices to manipulate his audiences, but at least, at his best, he's a brilliant director: Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (the better sci-fi offering of 1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report. Hard to believe he was once Lucas's submissive sidekick.

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  • I think Spielberg is not only a great director, but a signficant one. Aside from his "blockbusters", Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan had truly a society impact. Star Wars is a nice sci-fi movie that has contributed a lot of stuff to the culture but otherwise has no impact. In my mind, there is no comparison between the two.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:35 AM  

  • Agreed. Lucas has influenced the world of special effects, but as a filmmaker he's nowhere near Spielberg. Schindler's List may be one of the great films of the past two decades, and at least the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan is a masterwork of direction. But I also think that Close Encounters is an incredible movie, perhaps, overall, his best.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 11:46 PM  

  • I agree about Saving Private Ryan. Overall I would rate it as one of the great war movies only because of the first 20 minutes. Utterly brilliant effects and direction and intensely powerful. The rest of the film was ok but kinda sappy. I thought SPR borrowed a lot from The Big Red One which is a nice war movie. Not as great as say Apocalypse Now or Paths of Glory but still a nice watch.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:20 PM  

  • I recognize the sappiness of some of SPR, but I still think it was a great movie overall. I thought the scenes in the French village and with the German prisoner were powerful in the sense that they brought home the utter horror and moral quandary that war imposes upon soldiers. I think that the opening and closing scenes at the cemetery were manipulative, although I get emotional every time I see them.

    But I agree that Apocalypse Now is a great movie and, perhaps more reflective of the surreality of war.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:56 PM  

  • Speaking of war movies, I think Patton might be my favourite. An exceptional film. But an overlooked movie that captures the essence of war might be Bat 21 (with Gene Hackman and Danny Glover).

    But, no, nothing compares to the opening sequences of SPR (except perhaps Black Hawk Down, which I did like a great deal).

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 2:08 AM  

  • Miniseries Band of Brothers...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:55 PM  

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