I haven’t been excited about a Spielberg film in close to a decade. The year was 2008. The film was Indiana Jones 4. The results were middling. It’s been 12 years since he made War of the Worlds, in my opinion, the last interesting film he made. Since then he’s made ultra-safe award bait- Lincoln (2012), War Horse (2011), and Bridge of Spies (2015)-and unspectacular blockbusters: BFG (2016), Adventures of Tintin (2011) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Chrystal Skull (2008). It isn’t that he’s forgotten how to direct. It isn’t even that these films are bad. I like many of them, but he could make these films in his sleep. The artistry is gone.
Now I see the trailer for his next film, The Post, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, and I’m bored already. An inspiring true story. A-list actors. It’s destined to get a number of Oscar nominations, and then slink into Oscar bait obscurity. Next year, he’s adapting Ready Player One. A possible return to his days of producing great spectacles? I hope so. I was underwhelmed by the trailer.
I love Spielberg’s popular entertainments: Jaws (1975), the Indiana Jones trilogy, Minority Report (2002), plus the war epic Saving Private Ryan (1998). I also privately love The Terminal. I’m hoping Spielberg puts himself out on a limb once more while he’s still working, but it doesn’t seem like he’s out to prove anything.