Hey kids, do you remember a photochemical wunderkind called Steven Spielberg? In his youth, informed by the Republic movie serials of his childhood, he reinvented the action adventure movie with a film called Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Raiders, stocked with vivid b-movie characters and a set of lovingly crafted scrapes, worked by putting its hero through a series of cliffhangers; it had humour, a nice line in period thrills, and it was the closest thing to Tintin on the big screen. Amongst those to notice the similarities was Hergé, the Belgian comic book artist, who by that time had created over twenty adventures featuring the bright but dull journalist and his canine confederate.
“This young director”, thought Hergé, already had one foot in Tintin’s world, so who better to adapt his comic books? He died in 1983, in Spielberg’s prime; he’d never see Hook or Jurassic Park, he’d never experience the feeling gnawing at the minds of the blockbuster generation, that as the great beard grew older, he grew less focused; that the effort employed in creating effortless entertainment was beginning to show on screen.
He’d never experience Spielberg’s own dissatisfaction with juvenilia, with wonder, and his transition to so-called serious filmmaking in search of peer recognition; a pick and mix of worthy projects – the holocaust with daubs of cloying sentimentality in Schindler’s List, solid but stolid fare like slave emancipating drama, Amistad. He wouldn’t experience the director’s dark period in the early noughties – the hangover from all that youthful exuberance; the likes of A.I: Artificial Intelligence, a Kubrick homage ruined by a Spielberg ending, or Minority Report, a futuristic noir that showed the director of Raiders could still craft thrills, though his eye for coherent storytelling was myopic.Pages: 1 2 3 4