/Answers: The Best Steven Spielberg Scenes

Chris Evangelista: The Robot Spider Scene in Minority Report

In making Minority Report, Steven Spielberg assembled a team of experts for a “think-tank” to come up with a realistic interpretation of the future and its technologies, rather than just an overtly sci-fi one. “I wanted all the toys to come true someday,” Spielberg told Roger Ebert. “The Internet is watching us now. If they want to, they can see what sites you visit. In the future, television will be watching us, and customizing itself to what it knows about us. The thrilling thing is, that will make us feel we’re part of the medium. The scary thing us, we’ll lose our right to privacy.”

Invasion of privacy plays a big part in Minority Report, a film about the government spying on and policing people’s very thoughts and fantasies. One brilliant sequence that shows the loss of privacy of this future society occurs halfway through the film: John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is hiding out from the police, having undergone an eye transplantation to better hide his identity. The cops show up the search the squalid apartment building Anderton is hiding out in, and rather than explore each floor personally, the police deploy spider-like robots that move from room to room, scanning the eyes of the inhabitants. It’s a nightmarish scenario that Spielberg, as is his wont, makes wildly entertaining thanks to the techniques he employs to convey the scene. As the spiders move from apartment to apartment, sliding under door cracks, Spielberg and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski glide overhead, showing cut-out sections of ceiling and skylights to peer into the lives of the residents.

And all that scientific research was apparently prescient. As The Guardian reported, “The US military is developing ‘insect robot’, with the help of British Aerospace. They actually have eight legs (so, really, arachnid robots) and will be able to reconnoitre dangerous areas where you don’t want to send a human, such as potentially occupied houses.”

Jack Giroux: “Give Us a Kiss” From Jaws

Steven Spielberg can direct such moving scenes by saying so little. Countless examples come to mind of the director eliciting powerful emotions without any big fireworks, expressions of wonderment, or inspiring music. Jamie saluting the Japanese pilots in Empire of the Sun is a great example of that, but I think this very simple scene with Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) is maybe the best example.

It’s the kind of father-son scene Spielberg has continued to knock out of the park throughout his career. Even with modest or large-scale spectacle, there’s almost always an intimacy to the director’s work similar to what we see in this scene between Brody and his family. With such tangible emotions, Spielberg makes you feel like you’re a guest at the table, and partly because he allows it to breathe and unfold naturally in longer shots.

When I watch it now, I can’t help but think today another filmmaker might cut this part out, but it’s so pivotal. Without a scene like this, we maybe wouldn’t care as much as when Brody goes shark hunting. It makes the sheriff so real and empathetic through a simple, intimate, and yes, absolutely adorable moment at home. It’s one of my favorite Spielberg scenes because it highlights how much he cares about his characters and how he’ll take the time to make sure the audiences care, too.

Love has always been a strong component of Spielberg’s work. Love can lead to a lot of heartache and pain in his movies, but it can also provide beautiful moments such as this one. When it comes to the love between parents and their children, Spielberg has always worn his heart on his sleeve. Even in a movie about a killer shark, Spielberg doesn’t ever shy away from true emotions in a piece of spectacle.

Christopher Stipp: The Rope Bridge in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Since I didn’t want to be a downer about a favorite Spielberg scene (Schindler’s List is the man at his best) I thought I would share one that I’ve never grown tiring of watching whenever I happen to catch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on television. I literally stop what I’m doing just to bask in the fun that is the rope bridge scene. I think the movie’s tone vacillates wildly, but the mix between comedic moments and intense action is a welcome one. Nowhere is this best illustrated than when we get to the end and our heroes find themselves on that rickety bridge. I have never found out how they managed to film this moment (the A.V. Club actually has some insight into that from a couple of years ago if you’re interested) nor do I want to. For me, this scene on the bridge is just wildly intense and I’d like to keep it that way.

When I watch this scene, there’s always a sense of wondering just how the hell Indy will survive this. There is no logical way to get out of this jam and like a brilliant writer who has put himself in a corner and needs to write themselves out of it, the moment presents itself. I love it, absolutely love it, when Indy sighs and says “Oh, shit…” It’s the perfect response for a hero who has nothing left. The last words out of Indy’s mouth, and the intensity with which he delivers them, just make this, and everything that comes after, a pure delight.

Pages: Previous page 1 2 3

Cool Posts From Around the Web: