Spielberg collaborated again with Tom Hanks along withCatherine Zeta-Jones and Stanley Tucci in 2004’s ‘The Terminal’, a warm-hearted comedy about a man of Eastern European descent who is stranded in an airport. It received mixed reviews but performed relatively well at the box office. In 2005, Empire magazine ranked Spielberg number one on a list of the greatest film directors of all time.
Also in 2005, Spielberg directed a modern adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic, ‘War of the Worlds’ (a co-production of Paramount and DreamWorks), Spielberg had been a huge fan of the book and the original 1953 film. It starred Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning, and, as with past Spielberg films, Industrial, Light & Magic (ILM) provided the visual effects. The film was another huge box office smash, grossing over $591 million worldwide.
Spielberg’s film ‘Munich’, about the events following the 1972 Munich Massacre of Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games, was his second film essaying Jewish relations in the world (the first being Schindler’s List). The film is based on ‘Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team’, a book by Canadian journalist George Jonas. It was previously adapted into the 1986 made-for-TV film ‘Sword of Gideon’. The film received strong critical praise, but underperformed at the U.S. and world box-office; it remains one of Spielberg’s most controversial films to date. Munich received five Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture, Film Editing, Original Music Score (by John Williams), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director for Spielberg. It was Spielberg’s sixth Best Director nomination and fifth Best Picture nomination.
Spielberg directed the awful ‘Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’, which wrapped filming in October 2007 and was released on May 22, 2008. This was his first film not to be released by DreamWorks since 1997. Oddly, the film received generally positive reviews from critics, and has performed very well in theaters. As of May 10, 2010, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has grossed $317 million domestically, and over $786 million worldwide. There’s no accounting for taste.
Spielberg has also produced the Don Bluth animated features, ‘An American Tail’ and ‘The Land Before Time’, which were released by Universal Studios. He also served as one of the executive producers of the groundbreaking ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ and its three related shorts (Tummy Trouble, Roller Coaster Rabbit, Trail Mix-Up), which were all released by Disney, under both the Walt Disney Pictures and the Touchstone Pictures banners. Steven Spielberg had cameo roles in ‘The Blues Brothers’, ‘Gremlins’, ‘Vanilla Sky’ and ‘Austin Powers in Glodmember’, as well as small uncredited cameos in a handful of other films, such as a life-station worker in Jaws; he also voiced himself in the film ‘Paul‘.
In early 2009, Spielberg shot the first film in a planned trilogy of motion capture films based on The Aventures of Tintin written by Belgian artist Herge, with Peter Jackson producing.The first film, ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ will be released intoday in Australia. The world premiere took place on October 22, 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. The film was set to be released in North American theaters on December 21, 2011. Switching roles, Jackson has been announced to direct the second film, which Spielberg will produce.
Spielberg’s next film, ‘War Horse’, was shot in England in the summer of 2010, and will also be released in Australia today. The film, based on the novel of the same name, is about the long friendship between a British boy and his horse Joey before and during World War I — a novel that was adapted into a hit play in London which is running on Broadway as of April 2011. It will be released and distributed byDisney, with whom DreamWorks has made a 30-picture deal. The novel was written by Michael Morpurgo and published in 1982.
He will follow this with ‘Lincoln’, starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. Based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s bestseller Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, the film will follow Lincoln’s leadership during the years of the American Civil War. Written by Tony Kushner, the film will be released in the fourth quarter of 2012. It was announced in October 2011 that filming in Richmond, Virginia throughout the Fall of 2011.
After that, he will shoot Daniel H. Wilson’s novel Robopocalypse, adapted for the screen by Drew Goddard. It will be released by Disney in the United States and Fox overseas on July 3, 2013.
The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series ‘Mercury Theatre on Air’. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on October 30, 1938, and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H.G. Wells’s novel of the same name.
The first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a series of simulated “news bulletins”, which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a “sustaining show” (it ran without commercial breaks), adding to the program’s realism. Although there were sensationalist accounts in the press about a supposed panic in response to the broadcast, the precise extent of listener response has been debated.
In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage and panic by certain listeners who believed the events described in the program were real. The program’s news-bulletin format was decried as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast. The episode secured Welles’s fame.
An mp3 version of the broadcast can be downloaded free from the Mercury Theatre on the Air website. Check it out here They also have excellent mp3 versions of Dracula, Rebecca and the 39 Steps for download.