Okay...back for a minute as I await yet another flight.....
I should preface this by saying none of the last aformentioned directors I think make 'less than' films, for whatever that's worth. It's really about singular connection from screen to viewer. I actually LOVE Avatar more then most because Cameron captures a purity and beauty of a natural world that I connected to spiritually, if that makes sense. It was amazing.
Spielbergs ET and Close Encounters also tapped into grit that I could identify with, a single mother, a father leaving his family for reasons beyond his knowledge, etc... Basically he created a world of dysfunction that's laudibly authentic while conjuring a spell of space and wonder around it, entrancing the lives of his somewhat downtrodden characters in the midst.These are amazing things and abilities I'm not so sure Spielberg posseses anymore (War of the Worlds anyone).
In terms of Cameron, I agree that he directs from the heart, or he attempts to create a heart center in his films. The difference for
me in regards to Scotts Science Fiction work is that everything I see in A L I E N and BladeRunner, all of the technology, the
acting, the sets, the beautiful minutiae only serves to round out the characters, drawing me, and giving me an opportunity to say "yes, I've been there, I know that feeling, I've seen those skies too." I just haven't experienced this in any other sci-fi films, but that doesn't mean the others, very capable and amazing directors, don't affect me in different awesome ways. Scotts film just resonate deeper. I can't explain it.