Sunday, June 12, 2011

Does Produced by Steven Spielberg Mean Anything Anymore?

After seeing Super 8 last night, I remembered the  the thing the studios highlighted most (you may argue) but that this film in produced by Steven Spielberg, and not that it was directed by J.J. Abrams.  Sure they mentioned Abrams as the director, but the named highlighted most is Spielberg name.  I get the it!  Spielberg is a big name; he has made some of the best films as a director: Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, The Color Purple, Jaws, Catch Me if you Can, and has had had numerous blockbusters: Jurassic Park, E.T.: Extra Terrestrial, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Between these two lists there are films that were both successful and critically acclaimed, and I admire what Spielberg has done to transcend the concept of blockbusters and well made films.

Now onto my point, before I saw Super 8, I actually said to my friend Keith-does attaching your name as a producer to everything make your brand less valuable.  The Spielberg name is a brand these days; he has helped put together some of the best most successful films of all time.  His name as producer has also been linked to most all of the films he has directed and lately now films like Super 8, the Transformers films, the Men in Black films, and numerous television series and mini-series.  After looking at his list of films he has produced the only series I wish he took back, was the Transformers series, but there are true fans out there that enjoy these films.  I still think anything with Michael Bay attached is terrible, but that is another topic.

After looking at Spielberg's track record in both film and television he has helped bring to life someone of the best, there have also been some misfires.  To me, this man is one of the hardest working men in Hollywood; he has created so much quality material.  The one problem I think I have with this is that he has become more of a brand like McDonald's that helps finance things and pushes them forward.  I admire his work ethic and the fact that he has taken film to a whole new level.

Movies have become too production focused and too concerned with number rather than focusing on a well written screenplay.  In my opinion Spielberg's films have never had the strongest writing.  His films rely more on grandeur of his directing style.  The same can be said for Spielberg as a producer.  When he is not in the directors chair his films fit within that same realm.

transformers 2 shia labeouf and megan fox 400x266 Movie Review: Transformers 2I hope Spielberg keeps bring wonderful cinematic gems to both television and film.  I also want him to
explore filmmaking outside of his comfort zone so that he can make films that not only have a great production value but a script that is worth moving mountains.  I think having a brand helps make films successful financially, but I also think that it can make things more commercial than creatively driven.  In the future when we have a director/producer who doesn't have as strong a balance and uses the brand wrong we filmmaking may move into more uncreative territories with constant sequels and unoriginal ideas...oh wait, maybe we are there already.

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