Steven Spielberg is a film director who has had a long career of about four decades. He has given the film industry some of the best films of many themes and genres. However, his filming style conveys his absolute regard towards action and adventure. His career gives us films that consist of action and adventure in different plots and a variety of stories. His concept of adventure films were archetypes of the blockbuster filmmaking in modern Hollywood. His essence of adventure has made him one of the most influential directors in the film industry. In the years of his career, he has won many awards and made his way towards fame and success. His most famous films that became record breaking are Jaws, E.T and Jurassic Park. Each of these was made under his original filmmaking style which portrayed action and adventure. They are known to be the best films in the history of cinema and were the highest grossing films of that time. The themes of these films revolved around science fiction but were directed using the best techniques to display pure action (Jackson 234).
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However, Steven Spielberg has achieved much of his success not only through his filming style and techniques, but his themes. Many recurring themes have been observed in his films. The theme in most of his films talks about ordinary people who discover extraordinary beings or circumstances. At many times during his interviews, Spielberg has admitted his imagination and interest that goes beyond the ordinary means of life. He says that his belief in the extra terrestrial surroundings is shown in the themes of the films he make. His films have been influenced by his father’s interests that he adopted while he was a child. His father was a science fiction fan and thus Spielberg was inspired by the concepts. He said he felt like an alien throughout his childhood and that is how the interest of talking and filming about aliens came to his career. This genuine interest was portrayed through his unique style of directing his films with action and adventure surrounding the plot.
As he focused on the lives of the ordinary people, majority of his films displayed the family theme. His family themes were enlightened with the sense of faith and wonder. This is shown in his works such as E.T and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. These themes have been displayed using the specific technique of using low height camera tracking shots that eventually became Spielberg’s trademark. He has used this technique in films that include children, for which it looks apparent, and also for films such as The Terminal, Saving Private Ryan and Munich. This kind of a shot is utilized very evidently in his films especially in Jaws where the low angle is used to show someone swimming (Gordon 93).
More towards the family theme, parent child relationships are most persistently shown in Spielberg’s films. His family theme focuses on ordinary family people, tension in relationships between parent and child, the entering of children in old age, and ignorance of parents etc. In his film Hook, the father is depicted as a workaholic parent with no time for his children, and throughout the film he strives to regain the respect and love of his children. The absence of the child’s father in E.T is another example of this theme. In fact, it is evident that this theme is most closest to Spielberg’s life since he belonged to a broken family where his parents were divorced. Throughout his childhood, he was deeply affected by the divorce and felt the absence of his father greatly. However, through the theme he has earned his place as the most influential director of all time (Edge 102).
Spielberg has used these themes to apply his techniques of using the camera. These ordinary people and sentimental topics have been iced with adventurous scenes and plots. Action has also been his style for long until he turned 40 and decided not to do action movies anymore. His major career breakthrough was because of his action movies and touchy themes. He has continues to inspire and impress his fans. Sharks, dinosaurs and aliens have been some of the best pictured films including science fiction, action, adventure and a family theme. His films depict his imagination and life as a child with his father and later the absence of his father.
Some of the technical details added to his films are the camera shots he chooses. Many of them have become his trademark and notable in his most famous films. He uses the camera to display his best shots. His over the shoulder shots, track in shots and sideways tracking shots are used more often. He has a specific style of shooting action and adventure. Graphics and sound effects are used side by side to complement his themes. His films also include violence as part of the action involved. He creates unthinkable climax scenes for the films using visual effects for example groundbreaking in A.I Artificial Intelligence (Morris 67).
In E.T, the story revolves around a child who befriends an alien. The child in the film does not have a father and he is a lonely child. His innocence turned into maturity is shown in the film. The alien he befriends has been left out from a UFO that landed on the ground. The camera shots and visual effects have been used to show the UFO landing on the ground. Furthermore, the adventurous story of the boy and the alien comes to the point where the boy has to save the alien from people trying to catch him for other purposes. The story shows how the child protects and sends back the alien to his planet. The film is about scientific fiction yet it became one of the highest grossing films.
When it is about Spielberg’s concept of action and adventure, Jaws is the best film one could think of. It was shot using many perspectives but Spielberg managed to successfully create a masterpiece. The film was inspired by the bestselling novel of the same name. The story revolves around a roaring shark and scenes underwater. The exceptions in the film are that related to the family theme. Brody in the film is a family committed man. The main focus of the film remains to be the shark and the adventurous journey of the beachgoers to whom the man-eating shark attacks.
Jurassic park is also a science fiction film which features dinosaurs. Spielberg has presented the theme with extraordinary filming techniques and shots. The storyline and the adventure of the journey, the surrounding and the imagination are outstanding. Spielberg has been able to successfully use graphics and visual effects to show the thriller on screen. It is the best example of Spielberg’s style of direction and action.
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Spielberg has given his best through his films. He has proved to be one of the best directors in the history of cinema. His imagination, interests and thoughts have been accumulated together in various films. They have won the hearts of many and received praise worldwide. He has also been the winner of many awards for his films. His movies showed new style of action and adventure where there are twists and turns, relationships, extra terrestrial life, and many other effects that appeal to the viewer. Spielberg has reached new heights in his career because of his talent and ability to depict the fictitious stories into touchy sentimental stories maintaining the level of action and adventure.
Gordon Andrew. Empire of Dreams: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of Steven Spielberg. USA: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008
Jackson Kathi. Steven Spielberg: A Biography. USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007 16
Edge Laura. Steven Spielberg: Director of Blockbuster Films. USA: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2008
Morris Nigel. The Cinema of Steven Spielberg: Empire of Light. India: Wallflower Press, 2007
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