Famous Creative Thinkers: Essays Examples
Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino
Famous Creative Thinkers: Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino
There is no better test of genius than the test of time. 2013 and 2014 were the years when two cult masterpieces “Schindler’s List” and “Pulp Fiction” of two great directors Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino respectively celebrated their twentieth anniversary. The geniuses of stage direction, they have formed their own authentic styles and distinctive manner of shooting, due to which millions of fans distinguish Spielberg’s and Tarantino’s works among an endless stream of Hollywood movies. At the same time, artistic heritage as well as the directorial style of these two filmmakers cannot be put in a par since the differences between them are large enough. And if Steven Spielberg can be rightly called “the professional” in terms of the artisan who is well aware of what exactly his audience expects to see, then Quentin Tarantino is rather “the creator” who experiments with a variety of genres and every time shocks the viewers.
Steven Spielberg’s and Quentin Tarantino’s unique contributions to society in general and to cinematography in particular are enormous. When movies are born from the ideas of Spielberg and Tarantino cinema turns from common entertainment into a quality picture (in the case of Spielberg) and an extraordinary art (in the case of Tarantino). While Steven Spielberg is considered to be a pioneer of the new Hollywood, the main driving force of action and adventure films, and one of the greatest storytellers in the whole history of world cinematography (“Hollywood’s Mater Storyteller”, 2004), Quentin Tarantino is well known for his groundbreaking views that “changed the movie landscape” and “got a generation of wannabe filmmakers” (Guida, 2014). Therefore, Spielberg‘s significant contribution lies in making such films that become classic and serve as the examples for next generations of directors to follow, and Tarantino’s outstanding contribution is rather the ability to look on these classic pictures differently by introduction of more realistic elements and combining realism with fantasy (Morris, 2010).
As any creative thinker seeks to improve the outward things and make the world around more magnificent, both Spielberg and Tarantino set their own goals before presenting their works. The issues that are raised in their films also have principally different meanings. As it was mentioned before, Steven Spielberg is the storyteller; he thus appeals to human feelings and tries to catch public’s attention with the help of mainstream genres (adventure, science-fiction, drama, melodrama) where the moralistic and humanistic problems appear. “Spielberg’s films solve the dilemma of how to make popular genre movies and at the same time make “personal” films, movies that focus on the filmmaker’s emotions and interests, by mixing personal material into adventure stories” (Kowalski, 2008, p. 12); “Spielberg grapples with professional conflict and personal demons” (Spielberg, 2000, p. 13). Researchers also posit that complicated theme of parent-child relationships is one of the main in director’s movies. As for Quentin Tarantino, the filmmaker does not aspire to appeal to viewer’s feelings by raising global issues in a serious way; he creates masterpieces for the benefit of cinematography and wants to improve it as an art. Tarantino pays much attention to the old genres (like western), he broadens the frames of cinema by mixing different styles, and by complementing traditional Hollywood genres with those that are (or were) popular in Europe (Italian horror) or Asia (Japanese films of martial arts) (Kehr, 2004). At the same time, in order to fill his movies with sense and educate the audience Tarantino raises serious questions as well, and being criticized for excessive presentation of violence, he nevertheless puts “glimpses of compassion and morality among tough, cruel, and immoral people that populate them” (Greene, Mohammad, 2013, ch. 1).
Spielberg’s movies often face the idea of missing or neglectful fathers, lonely children and divorced parents (Kowalski, 2008, p. 8). Thus, the theme is presented in “E. T.”, “Jurassic Park”, “Catch Me If You Can”, “Extra-Terrestrial”, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. “The Terminal” with Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones starring causes sentimental feelings and leaves behind a pleasant shade of kindness in the hearts of viewers. The most serious and hard films are “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan” that are the references to the World War II; both of them raise the eternal issues of morality, honor, and humanness. The implementation of idea of cult personages presented in “Indiana Jones” films, while the talent of storyteller Spielberg demonstrates in his animated cartoons “Shrek”, “The Adventures of Tintin” as well.
The implementation of Tarantino’s ideas of unlikeness as well as his desire to create the alternative movies and confront modern cinematography’s stamps and clichés are embodied in every of his films. Gangster thriller “Pulp Fiction”, bloody epos “Kill Bill”, real massacre in “Death Proof”, heist movie “Reservoir Dogs”, peculiar presentation of Nazis in “Inglourious Basterds”, “a southern” “Django Unchained” - all these pictures are intended to make audience laugh at issues that are not funny. And this feature of Quentin Tarantino’s vision is paradoxical and unique – while turning to such serious themes as honor (“Pulp Fiction”), revenge (“Kill Bill”), World War II (“Inglourious Basterds”), slavery (“Django Unchained”), the director presents it in light and not serious manner. As for the excessive violence and bloody scenes, Tarantino comments: “Violence in cinema is a matter of taste, just as people like or dislike dance movies, westerns” and that he has not social, but only “artistic responsibility, to be true to his characters” (Tarantino, 2013, p. 11).
What always fascinating and exciting about geniuses’ works is the creative process itself. In both cases – Spielberg’s and Tarantino’s – this process is inextricably linked with the personal environments of each director that have influenced them and determined the particularities of their production of the masterpieces. The creative process of Spielberg involves use of his own life experience – both physical and psychological – during making the films. His childhood in many ways predetermined the main themes of his works; his early experience in shooting of amateur movies has helped Spielberg to get his hand in directing and made it easier for him to film during the future career. Like the majority of geniuses, Steven Spielberg uses his imagination and talent of storyteller as well in order to create another masterpiece. Speaking about Tarantino’s creative process, his unusual unpredictability should be considered as the main mechanism of his creativity. The director itself says that he is a man of a moment – he can think about the idea for several years, but he will not know how it is going to work until the moment of creation comes (Bauer, 2013). The only stable thing that always helps Tarantino during his writing process is his personal experience that he has gained as a video clerk at Video Archives in Manhattan Beach, CA (Erlewine, 2010). This is where he learned and researched about people’s preferences in films and what does the public expect from the movie. Therefore, the creative process of Steven Spielberg mostly depends on his life experiences and personal feelings, while Quentin Tarantino’s creative work depends on the “right moment”, which is hard to predict. What common about these two directors is that they both had such personal environment in their lives that predetermined the development of their talents.
In order to estimate the creative ideas of Spielberg and Tarantino critically the roles of their movies in the world cinematography need to be taken into account. Nowadays Steven Spielberg is already a brand name, so if the audience expects quality and professional film – the film in its traditional understanding – then it should watch Steven Spielberg’s pictures. His movies are traditional to such extend when there is no place for extraordinary. On the other hand, Quentin Tarantino’s films are extraordinary enough, the Hollywood clichés thus are aside here. As for a lot of blood and violence that is observed in his pictures and for what the director is mainly criticized, it should be understood properly – this is the professional mark of Tarantino, this is what he is known in the world of cinematography for. And by forbidding him to use these marks, the critiques will deprive him of his style and his authentic director’s vision. Speaking about whether their ideas fit in the modern frameworks of art, it should be noted that both directors sometimes are under the negative critique of public, however, their significant and indisputable contribution into the development of the world cinematography is accepted by critiques as well. Spielberg and Tarantino are two legends, geniuses of our era, and such legends will never be forgotten. As for the frameworks of future cinema, the artistic heritage of both directors is considered to be the impetus for the next generations of filmmakers to follow the creative marks of Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino and create the brand new masterpieces (Artise, 2013; Guida, 2014).
Artise, J. (2013). The Genius of Steven Spielberg. Retrieved from http://johnartise.hubpages.com/hub/The-Genius-of-Steven-Spielberg
Guida, J. (2014). On Its 20th Anniversary, Does ‘Pulp Fiction’ Hold Up? The New York Times. Retrieved from
Erlewine, S. T. (2010). Quentin Tarantino: Full Biography. The New York Times. Retrieved from
Bauer, E. (2013). Method Writing: Interview with Quentin Tarantino. Creative Screenwriting. Retrieved from
Tarantino, Q. (2013). Quentin Tarantino: Interviews, Revised and Updated. Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi.
Kowalski, D. (2008). Steven Spielberg and Philosophy: We're Gonna Need a Bigger Book. Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky.
“Hollywood’s Mater Storyteller”. (2004). CNN. Retrieved from
Morris, A. (2010). 20 things we've learned about Quentin Tarantino. GQ Magazine. Retrieved from
Spielberg, S. (2000). Steven Spielberg: Interviews. Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi.
Kehr, D. (2004). Film; Charting the Tarantino Universe. The New York Times. Retrieved from
Greene R., Mohammad K. S. (2013). Quentin Tarantino and Philosophy: How to Philosophize with a Pair of Pliers and a Blowtorch. Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company.
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