Drucker wrote:I need to rewatch the Spielberg films I’ve seen, and watch many for the first time, but I’d be interested in seeing how often this pattern re-emerges.
The pattern of elevating technology to a point of worshipful awe is throughout spielbergs films and reaches it's apotheosis and repudiation in "empire of the sun," when a metaphorical and false vision of the atomic bomb is seen as beautiful by the mentally shattered Jaime and compared to touching god.
Before this point in his career, Spielberg was optimistic about humans and technology, humans triumph in jaws, the glorious bold and shocking naivete in the finale choices of dreyfuss of close encounters, the "love conquers all" fairy tale in et. Pre-lapsarian Spielberg, in a way.
And then we have Jaimes "divine" vision in empire of the sun and it turns out the "glorious" technology can have a poisonous dimension, ruinous in and of itself, but also incredibly destructive in the hands of humans. The divine future becomes the damned. And this post nuclear, cynical view of humanity after empire of the sun carries through spielbergs films after this, jurassic park is not a clear triumph of humans, the lost world shows they don't learn from their mistakes and willfully allow their delusions of tech mastery to massively exacerbate all the failings they've already committed. And naturally these outlooks of skeptical and dangerous tech coupled with failed and fallen humanity are the fundamental thrust and themesof AI and Minority Report.
If you supplant "justice" for tech, Munich explores these same themes rather intensely, humans deluding themselves into rationalizing ever more extreme actions in their attempt to achieve or control a "justice" they cannot achieve, often pushing it further away the more vigorously they grapple for it.
Which makes it, and Lincoln another turning point in spielbergs career, as Lincoln--while able to acknowledge the middle aged cynicism and bitterness towards humanity of the Era I've outlined--manages to blend it with some of the youthful optimism of close encounters and et, perhaps indicating a new direction, thematically, of his career as it engages with suspect technology and fallible humanity.