Finnegan On Films: Three Spielberg Gems To Savour On Netflix

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This week, our movie guy, James Finnegan selects three films on Netflix from arguably the greatest director of all-time, Steven Spielberg…

This week’s selections from Netflix come from the extraordinary talent that is Steven Spielberg.

As a producer, director and screenwriter, he has helped shape modern storytelling in ways that could not be imagined at the start of his work with Duel on television, and Jaws in the cinema, back in the 70s.

As usual, I like to recommend a film that has been overlooked or forgotten.  When I was at school, The Adventures of Tintin were a very popular series of comic books from Belgian cartoonist Herge.

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They concerned the daring adventures of Tintin, a fourteen year old boy, with his dog Snowy and a cast of characters that took place all over the world.

In The Adventures of Tintin, Spielberg literally brings three of the stories to life. By use of motion capture and an excellent vocal cast, “Crab with the Golden Claws”, “Secret of the Unicorn” and “Red Rackham’s Treasure” are brought to a new generation.

Tintin (Jamie Bell) and Snowy buy a model ship, ‘The Unicorn’ at a market.  What they don’t know is that inside the model is a parchment showing the location of the wreck of the real Unicorn.

Helped by Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), they set off to find the wreck, chased by Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig) a glorious Bond-style baddie.

This is a call back in so many ways to Raiders of the Lost Ark, also set in the 1930’s and is great for a family viewing.

Next up are two 1993 films that show Spielberg’s wonderful talent and range.  Jurassic Park is the first, and in my view the best of this series of films based on Michael Crichton’s book.

John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), an eccentric entrepreneur has opened an exotic Safari Park on an island off the coast of Costa Rica, inhabited by creatures long thought extinct.  By use of genetic engineering, and Dinosaur DNA obtained from a piece of amber, multiple species now once again walk the earth.

Palaeontologists Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr Ellie Setter (Laura Dern), Chaos Theorist Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and Hammond’s Grandchildren are visiting the island.

All is well and wonderful until sabotage leads to the shutdown of power and containment measures, and the cast becomes potential lunch on the go.  There follows lots of running, hiding and excitement.

That same year also brought us Schindler’s List based on the real life story of German businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neason) who ran an enamelware factory in Krakow during World War Two.

With the assistance of his Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), many Jewish workers are employed in the essential war work, saving as many as possible, but not all, from the horrors of the Holocaust.

Filmed on the sites of the actual events, this is powerful beyond words.

Another ingredient in the success of all this week’s films is the outstanding work of John Williams, whose soundtrack compositions add so much to the tenor and tone of the productions. Enjoy and stay safe!

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