Tony Zhou examines the specifics of one of the most underappreciated directors of our time: Steven Spielberg

By Troy-Jeffrey Allen

There is a oner in 2005’s War of the Worlds that still makes me smile when I see it. It’s the moment when Ray Ferrier (played by Tom Cruise) and his two children (Justin Chatwin and Dakota Fanning) are racing down the highway in an attempt to flee New York City after an alien invasion. Subtlely, the camera starts from the outside of the vehicle, moves inside to focus on each character, races along the van from the outside, moves back in to zero in on the Ferrier family again, and then concludes with a bird’s eye view of Ray’s mini-van racing down the highway. Naturally, this moment is assisted with some VFX work but to the naked eye it comes off like a one shot.

Honestly, you might not even notice it unless you were really looking. It’s that subtle.

In the following video Tony Zhou talks about the measured movements of a Steven Spielberg one shot. As far as I’m concerned, this is just one of many reasons why Steven Spielberg remains our greatest living film director.