mav_ian’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'll forever chase the screening I attended back in 1993. The Australian premiere trailed behind the US release by a few months, but the anticipation had only grown, rather than dissapated. I had seen E.T. on television, and was aware of Spielberg's other big hits, but it solidified in my head as I eavesdropped a family waiting in line with us to enter the cinema. A father or uncle was apparently a cinephile (at least in relative terms) and was answering questions about who was responsible for all this, and what else they had done. I already knew about directors, and vaguely had a notion of their role; the awe that this particular director visibly inspired in the awaiting audience cemented the idea in my psyche.
It didn't matter that it's not as flawless as the blockbuster hits that were intengral cinematic awakenings to those 5-20 years older than me (all seemingly from Spielberg and/or Lucas). It didn't matter that the production was rushed through, that the dialogue was a little muddied and not always clear, that there were (sometimes major) lapses in continuity:
As a seven year old I was transported to a tropical island where dinosaurs were brought back to life.
Even if, in retrospect, Spielberg wasn't firing on all cylinders, he was firing on the correct ones; including the one of grand adventure he seemingly tried to end with Schindler's List that he was in a rush to make, before going on hiatus.
For my money, this was probably the last time he ustilised his aptitude for adventure in it's pure form. After List and his hiatus, he returned with the sequel, but even then it felt like his heart was in what he felt was more 'mature' fare. The adventure muscle was given some excercise in the likes of Minority Report, Catch Me if you can, War of the Worlds, arguably as well with Saving Private Ryan and AI, before really trying again with Indy IV and more successfully with Tintin.
But even the lighter films of his later years still have a distance from the genre: even when Tintin has adventure on it's mind, and JP ponders genetic science, the latter had a freshness. At leat from my point of view. I'm biased because this was "my" film, and less invested eyes probably don't see as great a film, but this will probably remain #1 in the heart of my inner child.