Steven Spielberg is one of the most prolific filmmakers of all time as he has been making blockbuster movies since the 70s and basically invented the summer blockbuster with Jaws in 1975. The director has nearly 40 films to his credit, and each decade represents a distinct phase of his film career, and one of the most interesting phases is the 2000s.
While Spielberg has always been known for his sci-fi films, the 2000s saw his first sci-fi films set in the future. The decade also saw him continue to make gripping and suspenseful historical biopics, and he even ventured into genres he had never worked in before. Although he’s never directed a comedy-drama before, the filmmaker still ended up making two of the best films of the genre.
7 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) – 6.2
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is hated among fans of the franchise, as it forgoes all the complex set-pieces and hands-on effects for video game-like digital effects. The narrative made little to no sense too, and the new characters felt forced and far too animated.
However, there are ways in which Crystal Skull Kingdom is underrated, like Indy’s detective work and the way it showcases everything that made Indy originally iconic. And considering the poor reception it received from fans, even 6.2 is pretty high for the 2008 film. But with the fifth film currently in production and slated for release in 2023, it could very well redeem the series and be the swansong of Indy, especially since director James Mangold, who directed Loganis at the helm.
6 War of the Worlds (2005) – 6.5
In the 2000s, Spielberg and Tom Cruise forged their own relationship between Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, as Cruise was cast as the lead character in two of the biggest sci-fi movies of the 2000s, both directed by Spielberg. The lower rated of the two is the remake of War of the Worlds, which is one of the most unique and original alien invasion films. The 2005 film isn’t the director’s finest work, and there are some surprisingly sloppy mistakes from a filmmaker who typically pays such keen attention to detail.
However, it is a unique film in Spielberg’s filmography for several reasons. While Jaws is technically a horror movie, War of the Worlds features Spielberg’s most terrifying and suspenseful sequences. Between racing through the city as the Tripods invade and the Probe exploring underground, this really is the closest Spielberg has come to making an outright horror movie.
5 AI Artificial Intelligence (2001) – 7.2
Spielberg is best known for his classic sci-fi films, and his meticulous camerawork and huge sets make these films such spectacles. The 2000s saw him double down in the genre, and AI Artificial Intelligence was the first of many Spielberg-directed science fiction films of the decade. However, the project was not originally led by Spielberg, as Artificial intelligence is an undirected film by Stanley Kubrick.
It’s hard not to think how the movie could have turned out under the genius of Kubrick, who was the creative visionary behind 2001: A Space Odyssey and the brilliant. But Spielberg still did a great job of bringing Kubrick’s vision to life. As for the narrative, it feels much more like a Kubrick film than a Spielberg film, as it’s far more ambiguous and open to interpretation than the comforting, linear structure that Spielberg is known for. But that’s not exactly what the filmmaker’s fans want to see, which has kept it from being the masterpiece it could have been.
4 The Terminal (2004) – 7.4
Along with Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks is another bankable star who worked with Spielberg more than once in the 2000s. The better known of the two is Catch Me If You Canbut in 2004, the modest and charming The terminal warmed the hearts of the public.
Oddly enough, the films share more than one similarity, as they both take place primarily in airports. The terminal is about an Eastern European (Hanks) who basically lives in an airport when he is denied entry to the United States but cannot return home. It’s reminiscent of 1980s Hanks-led comedy-dramas like Fat and Splash only without the fantasy elements, as it makes viewers cry and laugh, and while it’s a bit too schmaltzy for some, Hanks’ charm is hard to resist.
3 Munich (2005) – 7.5
One of the reasons Spielberg is considered the greatest American filmmaker working today is his prolivity. He often worked on two films at once, the most obvious example being jurassic park and Schindler’s listboth released in 1993. But in 2005, not only War of the Worlds out but so much the better Munich was also shown in cinemas.
Sci-fi movies may be Spielberg’s bread and butter, but he’s also one of the best filmmakers when it comes to historical dramas. Munich is one of the best examples of this, as the film is about a team of Israeli government agents who attempt to assassinate 11 members of a Palestinian terrorist group. The 2005 release is one of the best spy movies based on real events, and it compares to other historical Spielberg biopics like lincoln and bridge of spies.
2 Minority report (2002) – 7.7
Being the second collaboration between Cruise and Spielberg, Minority report is easily the better of the two. The film is beautifully directed and one of the greatest screen adaptations of a Philip K. Dick novel. The author’s stories have spawned several movie classics, including blade runner and full recall, and Minority report deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as those iconic films of the 80s and 90s.
The film poses fascinating philosophical and moral questions, as it follows police officers who arrest criminals before they actually commit the crimes. Between the impressive visual effects, moral dilemmas and incredible action sequences, Minority report is a great tech-noir film.
1 Catch Me If You Can (2002) – 8.1
When it comes to true classics where everything from production design to performance runs at 11, Catch Me If You Can is the only Spielberg-directed film of the 2000s that ranks among the filmmaker’s top films.
The film is an entertaining, globe-trotting wild ride, as it follows a teenage fraudster toy with the FBI as he becomes a pilot, lawyer, and doctor in different states as he cashes bogus checks. It’s one of the best cat-and-mouse chase movies ever made, the ’60s setting is irresistible, and Frank and Carl have the most entertaining relationship ever.
NEXT: Steven Spielberg’s 10 Best Action Movies (According To IMDb)
The 10 Best Live-Action Batman One-liners Of All Time