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Although the blockbuster is the most popular and commercially successful type of filmmaking, it has yet to be studied seriously from a formalist standpoint. This is in opposition to classical Hollywood cinema and International Art cinema, whose form has been analyzed and deconstructed in great detail. Directed By Steven Spielberg fills this gap by examining the distinctive form of the blockbuster. The book focuses on Spielberg's blockbusters, because he is the most consistent and successful director of this type ...
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Although the blockbuster is the most popular and commercially successful type of filmmaking, it has yet to be studied seriously from a formalist standpoint. This is in opposition to classical Hollywood cinema and International Art cinema, whose form has been analyzed and deconstructed in great detail. Directed By Steven Spielberg fills this gap by examining the distinctive form of the blockbuster. The book focuses on Spielberg's blockbusters, because he is the most consistent and successful director of this type of film - he defines the standard by which other Hollywood blockbusters are judged and compared. But how did Spielberg attain this position? Film critics and scholars generally agree that Spielberg's blockbusters have a unique look and use visual storytelling techniques to their utmost effectiveness. In this book, Warren Buckland examines Spielberg's distinct manipulation of film form, and his singular use of stylistic and narrative techniques.
The book demonstrates the aesthetic options available to Spielberg, and particularly the choices he makes in structuring his blockbusters. Buckland emphasizes the director's activity in making a film (particularly such a powerful director as Spielberg), including: visualizing the scene on paper via storyboards; staging and blocking the scene; selecting camera placement and movement; determining the progression or flow of the film from shot to shot; and deciding how to narrate the story to the spectator.
Directed By Steven Spielberg combines film studies scholarship with the approach taken by many filmmaking manuals. The unique value of the book lies in its grounding of formal film analysis in filmmaking.
|1||Origins of the contemporary Hollywood blockbuster||7|
|2||Poetics of film directing||29|
|3||Pre-blockbuster work : from Amblin' (1968) to Duel (1971)||53|
|4||"Duel with a shark" : Jaws (1975)||86|
|5||The UFO experience : Close encounters of the third kind (1977 theatrical release)||111|
|6||Serials, chase scenes, and off-screen presences : Raiders of the lost Ark (1981)||130|
|7||Dramas of suburbia and authorship : Poltergeist (1982) and E.T. (1982) or, who really directed Poltergeist?||154|
|8||"Close encounters of the prehistoric kind" : narrative, narration, and spectacle in Jurassic Park (1993)||174|
|9||Precogs dream of future murders (not electric sheep) : Minority report (2002)||193|
|10||News from Mars : War of the worlds (2005)||212|
|Conclusion : the film director as magician||223|
Posted December 27, 2006
When I ordered the book, I expected lots of full-color movie frames and captions explaining the shots. No. Do not expect that. Here's what I did get, though: 1) Critical break-downs of every style for most of Spielberg's films, including: Duel, Jaws, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Poltergeist, Close Encounters of a Third Kind, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Minority Report, and War of the Worlds. With brief summaries for some of his other movies. 2) Small, black and white stills of the more important aspects of these films (slightly disappointed by this). 3) Other notes including a brief histroy of blockbusters, Spielberg's infulence and creation of the genre, and much more. I would probably still have bought the book if I knew what it really was, but it wasn't what I expected, as I said before. Buy this if you want to understand, in depth, Spielberg's reasoning for his filming choices. Do not buy this if you don't want to read...a lot.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.