Steven Spielberg’s films have grossed approximately $1,500 million. He is 34, and well on his way to becoming the most effective popular artist of all time… What’s he got? How do you do it? Can I have some?
‘Super-intensity’ is Spielberg’s word for what he comes up with on the screen. His films beam down on an emotion and then subject it to two hours of muscular titillation. In Jaws the emotion was terror; in Close Encounters it was wonder; in Raiders of the Lost Ark it was exhilaration; in Poltergeist it was anxiety; and now in ET – which looks set to outdo them all – it is love.
Towards the end of ET, barely able to support my own grief and bewilderment, I turned and looked down the aisle at my fellow sufferers: executive, black dude, Japanese businessman, punk, hippie, mother, teenager, child. Each face was a mask of tears. Staggering out, through a tundra of sodden hankies, I felt drained, pooped, squeezed dry; I felt as though I had lived out a year-long love affair – complete with desire and despair, passion and prostration – in the space of 120 minutes.