The Holidays of Spielberg

Posted on | December 24, 2011 | Add Comments

Over the years he’s proved his worth and now he’s come back to prove it to us more. Steven Spielberg has currently directed over twenty feature films. He already has two more planned for the next two years (Lincoln, an Abraham Lincoln biopic staring Daniel Day Lewis as the big man himself being released 2012, and Robocalypse, a sci-fi epic based on the novel entitled the same being released 2013). If one word could describe the man it would be unpredictable; he’s directed films ranging from war epics to action manifestos. This month he gives us both.

Let’s start with the action film. Based on on Herge’s French comic book series, The Adventures of Tintin could have been titled Indiana Jones in 3-D, digitally animated and based on a book from another country. Tintin, an intrepid reporter is on the case of a mystery. Red Rackham, a long dead pirate’s ship’s model is found by Tintin in a market. But Tintin is not the only one is interested in the model. The game is afoot. Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig, and Andy Serkis will be playing motion capture characters. In case you haven’t heard of motion capture here is a quick definition: it’s a way of making CG animation look more real. The actors wear suits with little balls that look like golf balls. The animators animate the characters before hand so that they are ready. Special computers read the suits and the characters on the computers move the same way the actors do. When on screen the characters move more realistically. I’ve read a few of the books including the three the film is based on which are The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackhams Treasure. Although Spielberg has never directed a fully CG film it’s no surprise that the animation looks great because Peter Jackson who directed The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong is producing and Andy Serkis, the master of Mocap acting is playing Captain Haddock.  Serkis has collaborated with Jackson many times before including on The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong. And then there’s the 3-D. I will definitely be seeing the film in this format. Before you continue reading watch the official Tintin trailer.

Originally I was going to break down the two trailers but that would take the fun out of having your own opinion. My breakdown of the trailer could become persuasive and after all this a news article not persuasive text. The action in the trailer is so intense that you literally forget where you are and are instantly sucked into Tinin’s world. John William’s score sounds like Raiders of the Lost Ark’s and I mean this as a good thing. The score is very orchestral and rhythmic. The last fifteen seconds of the trailer are the most jaw dropping because of the quick editing. There is not much shown here but action however I am expecting quirky characters because the book is full of them.

The war epic, War Horse is certainly epic. According to the news Spielberg has chosen to replace gritty war violence with subtle yet disturbing takes on war. I guess you could say it’s not exactly original: based on the book, which became a Broadway play, but that doesn’t mean Spielberg can’t strike gold. In fact I predict it will be nominated for the Oscar nomination of all Oscar nominations: Best Picture.  The book is sad, horrifying and brilliant all at the same time. The play also fits those descriptions. However the best part about the play is the way Joey, the war horse is presented: when he is young , he is made out of fabric and other material and when he is older he is made out of the same materials and is large, actors stood inside it at all times. The plot is simple, yet complex. Albert, a farm boy, lives with his to the point mother (in the play) and drunken father.  Not long after they get Joey “the horse”, he is sent off to the war, becoming a war horse.  Joey goes from owner to owner. By the end he has seen everything. Before you continue reading watch the official War Horse trailer.The opening shots of the trailer hint at very sad,somber themes. John William’s score is melancholy, yet by listening to samples of other songs from the film on iTunes there are definitely lighter tunes probably played during scenes with Albert riding Joey. The war scenes showed are very realistic yet as I said before there is no gore. Another notable key feature is the cinematography which is aided by the lighting. Take the last shot for example: Joey looks out onto the sunset. The sky is bright orange and the camera is still. The camera doesn’t do much here but the lighting is extraordinary. If you want mouth watering cinematography look at Joey jumping onto a tank and then jumping onto the muddy ground. If the cinematography wasn’t filmed in this way the shot could easily have become a waste of film.

Now that you’ve read the news go see the movies. Tintin was released on the 21st and War Horse is coming out tomorrow. You can also look forward to my reviews of at least one of these films. Happy Holidays!


Leave a Reply