This is a brilliantly orchestrated Spielberg sequence that sees him incorporate some of his key visual motifs, but twist them slightly.
The sequence begins with a great white light emerging from behind Gigolo Joe. The music builds and we’re expecting something amazing to happen, as is so often the case with Spielberg films.
Spielberg then cuts to an anonymous Mecha, who picks up a discarded Mecha’s eye and puts it into his own empty socket. Referencing eyes, mirrors and the act of seeing is a recurring Spielberg ploy that he uses to draw the audience into the action. Watch closely, he says…
Spielberg then shows us three characters, each looking off camera in awe. This is another trademark Spielberg device (the ‘Spielberg Face’) and primes the audience for a very special cinematic spectacle.
Finally, we see the object of ‘wonder’. It turns out it’s a gigantic floating moon, the symbol of Spielberg’s Amblin’ company and, of course, an iconic part of E.T. In that film, the moon symbolised hope and escape. Here, however, it’s a symbol of opression.The moon is part of a giant airship that is used to hunt down rogue Mechas and haul them to a Flesh Fair, where they are put to death for human entertainment.
It’s a superbly shot sequence, and one that dictates the tone for so many of Spielberg’s 00’s films. From here on in, he’d twist and subvert his trademark themes and motifs, making for a series of movies which I believe stand among his very best works.