JW: When there’s an action sequence in Indy and your other movies, you always have clarity. You never wonder, “Who’s that guy punching that guy?” But in recent action movies, there’s more confusion on purpose, on the part of the director, to create a feeling of chaos on-screen. You don’t seem to go for that.
SS: No, I don’t go for that. I go for geography. I want the audience to know not only which side the good guy’s on and the bad guy’s on, but which side of the screen they’re in, and I want the audience to be able to edit as quickly as they want in a shot that I am loath to cut away from. And that’s been my style with all four of these Indiana Jones pictures. Quick-cutting is very effective in some movies, like the Bourne pictures, but you sacrifice geography when you go for quick-cutting. Which is fine, because audiences get a huge adrenaline rush from a cut every second and a half on The Bourne Ultimatum, and there’s just enough geography for the audience never to be lost, especially in the last Bourne film, which I thought was the best of the three. But, by the same token, Indy is a little more old-fashioned than the modern-day action adventure. I tried very hard, and I hope I succeeded, in not re-inventing the genre, because that would not make it an Indy movie. I just didn’t want to re-invent Indy in a way that would deny that these movies are more based on 1930s Hollywood pictures than anything else.
Remember your geography.
Speilberg Interview: Jim Windolf
Vanity Fair, January 8, 2008