Steven Spielberg is undeniably one of the most remarkable and brilliant modern directors that took Hollywood by storm. His films vary from the most outrageous to the most sensible. He had directed and produced countless numbers of films and more often than not, it never fails to catch the attention of not just the audience but also varying award-giving bodies. This paper aims to review two of his notable films namely E.T The Extraterrestrial and the more recent Catch Me If You Can.
In 1982, Reagan was the president and on the cover of Rolling Stones was E.T. The Extraterrestrial (Gillespie, 2007). During that time, Spielberg was known to be a master of out-of-this world movies and he did not disapprove his fans when the movie became a hit and one of the most remembered films of all time. The adventure began when Elliot (Henry Thomas) found E.T at their backyard. The film is a refreshing mix of sentiment and humor that is well executed by the director. Spielberg has proven once again that he is master at manipulating the minds and emotions of his audience (Morefield, 2002). The characters are well developed and the actors succeeded in portraying their roles (especially for Drew Barrymore who became an instant hit after the movie). This movie also signaled for another breakthrough for Spielberg when he was risky enough to shoot almost all the adult scenes from the waist down, almost not showing any faces; and in movie language, this means that someone is up to no good (Ward, 2002). This film obviously focused on fantasy and some may say an adaptation of Spielberg’s childhood dream (Morefield, 2002). During the time when teen romantic comedies were on the rage (think Pretty in Pink), E.T. set itself from the rest by lightyears by incorporating tones, lighting and a musical score that will give any one a run for their money. It is also very well executed because firstly, there were a number of considerable new angles and techniques that were introduced in the film.
Whereas in the case of Catch Me If You Can, Leonardo DiCarpio plays the legendary con artist of the 1960’s Frank Abagnale Jr. (Taylor, 2002), the story is a million miles different from E.T. Mainly because it was based on a true story and obviously, it did not involve any form of fantasy-like world or “extraordinary strangers”. The theme of this film is set in the 1960’s wherein computers were of rare occurrence and so much easier to charm people. This is exactly the main plot of the story—how Abagnale was able to charm an awful lot beautiful bank tellers to get what he desperately wants. It was a sleek and lively interpretation of how an ordinary can guise himself to survive. It is worth noting that in this film, Spielberg was rather optimistic about his tone. The film generated an earthy feeling that in reality, suggests a sense of surrealism. The actor’s portrayal of their roles is also very realistic. Moreover, Spielberg used very fast camera movements to catch up with the emotions and pace of the movie.
The abovementioned movies are very different from each other. E.T. is a story that is relatively on the sci-fi side whereas the other one was more of the realistic side. Spielberg is known for his marvelous camera tricks and a contemporary attack to his movies—and the audiences were not disappointed with these two films. One film is a fantasy that was rather interpreted in a very touching and loving way while the other one is a prompt try on reality. But, as the master that he is, Spielberg was once again able to manipulate human emotion in different degree and techniques. He used very unusual camera angles and was also able dig up a lot of different human emotion that we did not know that we are capable of. He also manipulated with a lot of colors to set the tone and aura of the two films. In the end, he was able to create two very different films that is not only unforgettable but also shows that there are other emotions in the human domain.
Gillespie, E. R. (2007). E.T. the Extraterrestrial [Electronic Version]. Retrieved December 11, 2007, from http://www.austin360.com/movies/content/shared/movies/reviews/E/ettheextraterrestrial.html
Morefield, D. (2002). E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: From Concept To Classic [Electronic Version]. Retrieved December 11, 2007, from http://www.zone-sf.com/et-filmbook.html
Taylor, C. (2002). “Catch Me If You Can”
Leonardo DiCaprio looks great in those ’60s threads, but Steven Spielberg’s story of a legendary hustler is sadly short on period zip, zowie and va-va-voom. [Electronic Version]. Retrieved December 11, 1007, from http://dir.salon.com/story/ent/movies/review/2002/12/25/catch_me/
Ward, M. (2002). E.T The Extraterrestrial [Electronic Version]. Retrieved December 11, 2007, from http://www.popmatters.com/pm/film/reviews/35405/et/