Take Close Encounters of the Third Kind as an example. There really wasn't much to it. Back in 1977, they didn't have much special effects, and you really had to wait until the last 10 minutes of the movie to see the big deal you were waiting for. So you used your imagination more and anticipation built.
But really, looking at that movie, it is just nothing. Richard Dreyfuss sees some spaceship at the beginning of the movie, and has this dumbfounded look on his face. In the 1970s, that was a big deal, because you couldn't see the spaceship for the whole movie then. But the whole movie just amounts to people with dumbfounded looks on their faces implying "Wow, this is so amazing."
The point is that perhaps you only cared because you knew at the end you would see the kind of graphics never shown before, because the technology was coming in.
Or take Jaws. I saw it recently and was highly disappointed. There really wasn't much of a movie except waiting for the shark at the end. There really wasn't anything to it. Again, I remember being a kid and how exciting it was waiting for the end of the movie or show when something big would happen, like Bill Bixby turning into the Incredible Hulk. I'm not saying those times were dull. Perhaps using your imagination is more exciting than the films today where you can see all the graphics of a comet hitting the Earth and tidal waves, etc. but it's all too big to really process.
But the point is that I didn't see any magic about Jaws. You were just waiting until the end. That's fine and can be fun, but that doesn't make the director a genius.
Even E.T., which I remember thrilling as a kid, wasn't that great when I saw it again, but it did have better characters and lines than the other two.
So what does everyone think? Is Steven Spielberg an American genius or just someone lucky to have better technology available to him then everyone else. Do these movies stand the test of time or are they outdated?