All I'm saying is that Spielberg has the power, has the command of the form, can direct an actor to such depths, to such extents. He can, in my honest opinion, he truly can go there, even if he chooses not to.
He might have "the power" (and I quote that because I honestly have no idea what it means - industry influence? technical mastery?), but does he truly have command of the form? He does what he does well, but is he all that flexible in terms of style, mood, atmosphere, or narrative? Spielberg makes a certain type of film and he makes it well, but his work doesn't show that much flexibility. He has a certain degree of command of the form in that he can shape films to reflect his own sensibility, but he (just like many other artists) is also constrained by the form because he can't seem to do anything and everything other artists do.
Also, I'm not so sure he can direct an actor to such depths/extents. He can direct an actor to convey the simply morality he chooses for his characters, but he doesn't seem to have his actors attempt to illustrate overly complex characters.
I'm also wondering how you can just assume he is capable of doing so, and why you assume he chooses not to rather than assuming he isn't capable of doing so. I know everyone preaches that Spielberg can do everything, but that's often just industry praise and marketing of a powerful industry personality. Where's the evidence, or can he just hide behind the "I don't feel the need to make that type of film" argument? Since he is so successful, no one challenges Spielberg to make anything out of his comfort zone.
Since the crux of this debate seems to be that Spielberg can do it all, and can be everything that any other director can be by snapping his fingers (hyperbole), and since he's so easily subbing in for Scorsese, I have to ask if Spielberg can make a Bresson film, or a Godard film, or a Wong Kar-Wai film? Could he have made Elephant
? Could he have made What Time is it There
? Could he have made Vengeance is Mine
, or Late Spring
, or Ugetsu
, or Persona
? I believe on all accounts the answer is "no". He could go through the motions of making these films, and I'm sure he could shoot the material well, but I guarantee the results would be compromised. They might be interesting in some fashion, but I guarantee you they would not be as praised as they are at present.
It's not like I think Spielberg is some hack, incapable of handling different material outside his specific tastes. I actually thought A.I.
was really interesting. However, it remains a flawed film and the interesting thing is seeing the influence of Spielberg and Kubrick on the final product.
Can Scorsese really do spectacle? Is he a David Lean? If he had to be, could he? Can he make exhilarating films like the Jones films? I think of The Aviator and Gangs, and I see him struggling with the material. Can he hold all that shit back, and make a crowd pleaser? This is my point, however minute or irrelevant.
But why is it so important to make a crowd-pleaser? Just because an artist fails (and that is a personal evaluation) when making an epic, doesn't mean he is any less of an artist. There are many supporters of Gangs
who do praise the artistry in both films. Also, I highly doubt Gangs
was meant to be a crowd-pleaser. It functions as an epic, but, however flawed it is, it seems obvious it's not attempting to be a cookie-cutter picture. It's obvious these films are not supposed to function in the same manner as Indiana Jones movies.
I enjoyed War of the Worlds, and I think the ending is perhaps more interesting than it seems - it's simply too sickly-sweet for it to be intended merely as the obligatory happy ending. If anything, it strikes me as a commentary on such endings. Or perhaps only independent auteurs are allowed to make comments about their medium when making films?
Hey, I never restricted comments on the medium to independent auteurs. Spielberg has just as much right to these tactics as any other artist, but I simply didn't see it when I saw the film. I'm open to being convinced otherwise, but I'd need someone to tell me how it functions as such a comment. To me, it just acted as any other Spielberg ending, where he sort of ignores the destruction that's occurred and returns to the comfort of family. But, seriously, up until the family re-unites, I thought it was a great film in Spielberg terms.
Spielberg is a capable director and a good editor, but his films reflect a bland, risk-adverse morality and ask no tough questions, even when they should be asked... Although he's not obligated to do anything risky with his vast resources, it's unfortunate that he doesn't.
Don't know about the TV commercials part, but I agree with this statement. Actually, that first part is how I viewed the ending to War of the Worlds
Spielberg is a director, but not an auteur.
Care to explain at all? It seems obvious that he is the main contributor/author of the films he directs. I don't know if you're making an evaluation of his work with that statement, but just because we don't enjoy his work, doesn't really prove he's not an auteur.
I'm actually on the fence since I like both of those extremes, make of that what you will.
I'm probably standing beside you, though I'm not such a fan of the extremes.