After the jump, I’ve got a video essay from Fandor (inspired by Matt Patches’ essay on the same topic at UGO) that gives a comprehensive explanation and analysis of the “Spielberg Face,” that slow-zoom reveal shot where a character is all like “WHOA,” that Spielberg uses in all his movies. Theirs is a much more thorough, eloquent explanation than mine, but, if I had to sum up succinctly, I’d say that “Spielberg Face” is what happens when the characters are all like “WHAAAA??” Whereas Dreamworks Face is what happens when they’re all like “Heeeyyy.”
If there is one recurring image that defines the cinema of Steven Spielberg, it is The Spielberg Face. Eyes open, staring in wordless wonder in a moment where time stands still. But above all, a child-like surrender in the act of watching, both theirs and ours. It’s as if their total submission to what they are seeing mirrors our own.
The face tells us that a monumental event is happening; in doing so, it also tells us how we should feel. If Spielberg deserves to be called a master of audience manipulation, then this is his signature stroke. [Fandor]
Huh, I always assumed the “Spielberg Face” was the pursed lips look on everyone in Hollywood’s face when they’re bending over backwards to kiss his ass every three seconds.
PRIVATE LABEOUF! WHY DID YOU JOIN MY BELOVED BLOCKBUSTER?
Sir! To stare, sir!
So you’re a starer!
SIR, YES SIR!
Let me see your Spielberg Face.
You got a Spielberg Face? (*…HURRRRRRRRRR*) THAT’S A SPIELBERG FACE! Now let me see your Spielberg Face!
(*furrows brow, drools a little*)
BULLSHIT! YOU DIDN’T ENCHANT ME!