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War of the Worlds

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 25-05-2011

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Description
An ordinary man has to protect his children against alien invaders in this science fiction thriller, freely adapted from the classic story by H.G. Wells. Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) is a dockworker living in New Jersey, divorced from his first wife Mary Ann (Miranda Otto) and estranged from his two children Rachel and Robbie (Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin), of whom he has custody on weekends. On one such visitation, looking after the kids becomes a little more difficult wh… More >>

War of the Worlds

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Comments (5)

The War of the Worlds is a great novel and Spielberg is a director of exceptional talent and accomplishment, so I had been hoping for a lot from this film. In the event, I have got part of what I was hoping for. Very occasionally, a novel can be ‘walked’ straight on to the screen (The Big Sleep, with a script by Faulkner, is a striking case), and I found myself wondering whether this novel might not have benefited from the same treatment. Some of Spielberg’s changes are perfectly reasonable, others less so in my own opinion. It makes perfectly good sense to bring the action forward by a century into the present day, for instance. I suppose there’s no harm either in changing the main actors from Wells’s scientist with a wife and a brother to a dysfunctional American family, as this may provide enhanced ‘human interest’ or some such benefit for all I would know. Again, I have no real problem with the way the film combines the roles of the curate and the artilleryman in the book into the single persona of the former ambulance-driver, and I can well understand that Spielberg would have thought it prudent to tone down the socialistic elements in this aspect of the story in order to avoid setting off the wrong types of reaction in American audiences. What I do have a major problem with is the appearance of the Martians themselves. I’m sorry to report that these have far too much in common with a certain wretched TV series. The author’s own description is one that stays in the memory, to say the very least, and Wells’s Martians look the way they do for very clear reasons that he provides. What was gained by going downmarket in the way Spielberg chooses to do? Nothing that I can think of except perhaps better audience figures from harking back to that ghastly broadcast series.

In fact the best things in the film come directly from Wells. Even one of the best lines, where the statement that the invaders come from somewhere else is met with the question ‘Where – Europe?’ is a very clever adaptation of a good joke in the book comparing the attitudes of Mrs Elphinstone to the Martians on the one hand and the French on the other. The Martian tripods are simply terrific, their appearance lifted more or less exactly from the book. However The War of the Worlds is a work of political and social philosophy and speculation, not just some science-fiction yarn. I really would have liked Spielberg to be a bit more ambitious and reflect this more than he seems to have felt like doing. For one thing, the Martians are invading the earth because their own smaller planet is cooling and dying around them. Wells explicitly says that there is no reason to suppose them ‘pitiless’. They have come for pressing practical reasons connected with their own very survival. We know now, as Wells did not, that all they were going to find on Venus is a searing hell under the rolling white clouds, so it would be more than likely, as Wells says again, that they would learn from the failure of their first expedition and come back to the earth better prepared the next time rather than stake everything on one throw, which is what the film seems to be suggesting. The last gesture of the Martians in the film is an expression indicative of hatred, which doesn’t even make sense considering they saw us as their food source. What consumer of beef makes hostile faces at beef-herds? The Martians’ purpose can’t have been ‘extermination’ as someone is made to say in the film, only subjugation, another matter perfectly clear from the novel.

More survives of the view Wells takes of the behaviour of humanity itself, and Spielberg handles the mob-scenes rather well. However what he tones down more than I would have wished is the reflections, in the novel expressed via the persona of the artilleryman, on the likely behaviour of human beings towards one another once the Martian dominion was hypothetically established. The artilleryman’s predictions are class-based like the vision of the Eloi and Morlocks in the Time-Machine, but they are far from endorsing Marxism and there is no reason to see them as any firm viewpoint held by the author himself.

Perhaps the very best things in the entire film are to be found in the voiceovers right at the start and right at the end. The words are lifted almost verbatim from the novel itself at these points, and they are simply awesome, the first page in particular of The War of the Worlds being surely one of the greatest in all English fiction with the last page not far behind it in that respect. The exquisite irony of the fact that the Martians, who might have viewed us as we view micro-organisms in a laboratory were in their turn thwarted and destroyed by just such organisms when nothing humanity could do availed in the least is obviously not lost on the director. I just wish he had raised his game more consistently to something like the level of the theme he was taking on.
Rating: 3 / 5

H. G. Wells wrote the novel over a century ago and Steven Spielberg has done a fantastic job of incorporating some of the literary tale’s elements into his version: the tripods and their ear-shattering “ULLA!”, the heat ray, the retaining baskets, the growth of the “red weed,” the demented “Ogilvey” (Tim Robbins), the devastating onslaught from the invaders, man’s futile efforts to defend himself, and the final “solution,” among other parts familiar to fans of the book.

The director also paid tribute to producer George Pal’s 1953 Technicolor classic by using a similar “probe” into the basement occupied by Cruise and daughter Fanning, the destruction of a church, an American setting, and a brief appearance by the earlier film’s stars: Gene Barry and Ann Robinson.

There are many tense scenes, making this film not quite suitable for younger audiences. The sound is loud and abrasive, befitting the on-screen destruction. Surprisingly, John Williams’s score is quite subtle and, on occasions, is barely audible.

Actingwise, Cruise, contrary to his behavior off-screen, asserts himself well as the estranged father of two kids who must now do all that he can to save his children, as well as himself. Fanning’s strong performance shows why she is one of most popular child performers today. And Robbins is appropriately creepy as the man with the plan to bring down the invaders.

While megahit “Independence Day” toured similar ground, “War of the Worlds” is more the work of a master storyteller and his name is Steven Spielberg.

That alone makes it a film not to be missed!

Rating: 4 / 5

War of the Worlds is not a bad movie, but it isn’t exactly a good one either. The special effects are impressive, the movie is more or less true to the story, although Spielberg got a little creative here and there but hey, it’s Spielberg so let’s just run with it, right? I mean, if Spielberg did it, it’ll be awesome, right? Wrong.

If you are going to change the story around and create completely new characters, wouldn’t you at least expect the characters to be interesting? Well, forget it. In my opinion, Spielberg is one of the best directors in terms of character development. War of the Worlds has viturally NO character development from start to finish. Tom Cruise’s acting is flat and his character is so far from interesting it’s pathetic. In fact, even his self-absorbtion is difficult to follow. I kept waiting for that big movie moment when Cruise’s character would have a revelation and therefore make him less disgusting. Nope, it never happened. He did make it to Boston though.

As for the kids, forget it. Robbie, the annoying son that for some inexplicable reason is determined to put everyone in jeapordy for his quest to kill the aliens, grates on your nerves from start to finish. He disappears about 2/3 of the way through the movie into a huge explosive battle between the military and the aliens and then just magically arrives safe and sound in Boston without a scratch and before his father and sister get there. I also wondered how the city of Boston could be in flames and virtually destroyed but the charming townhouse where Ray’s pregnant ex-wife and her parents are is as good as new. They should sell that place…it’s the only block in town that is alien free.

Rachel, the equally annoying daughter, has more high-pitched whiney screams than lines. We watch her order health food. We see her prized ribbon. We see her funky clothing. We hear her wise-beyond-her-years comments. We don’t care. We want her to stop screeching at the top of her lungs. We want the aliens to get her just so she’ll shut up!

The only character of any interest is Ogilvey, whom we are supposed to despise because he is putting everyone in danger with his crazy misguided plans. Of course, Robbie just did that same thing but we’re supposed to forget that. First off, why did Ogilvey go out of his way to flag Ray and Rachel down so they could come into some house he took over when countless others were left running through a field, exposed and getting picked off one by one? NO one else thought to hide in that house? No, I’d stay exposed in a field while giant tripods skewered everyone. Too bad, Ogilvey is the only character that doesn’t make you start rooting for the aliens. This character should have been developed more as well. But hey, why bother when we have a great tentacle scene coming up? Ooh, and don’t forget the aliens will be along shortly to spin a bicycle wheel and look at some old photos. Of course, Ray the 5’6″ superdad will be able to kick his butt even though Ogilvey is crazy, sports a shovel, an axe and a gun and has already smacked superdad upside the head and out-wrestled him before. But then again, superdad has to kill him…otherwise his quiet crazy mutterings will arouse the aliens supicions…unlike the repeated shrill squeals from his daughter.

Normally, I accept science fiction films for what they have become…special effect eye candy, but with Spielberg at the helm, I really expected much more and I doubt I was the only one. What we are left with is special effects and nothing more. I’m really glad I didn’t shell out the dough to see this movie in the theater. What happened to Spielberg? Why take creative license and then do nothing with it? It’s worth the rental especially if you just want to see giant blood-spewing tripods (which was cool, I have to admit) but don’t expect anything of substance.
Rating: 2 / 5

This film had all the worst elements of a romance novel added to the worst elements of sci fi.

Here goes:

The alien tripods invade on the one weekend Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) gets custody of his car-stealing teenage son and his whiny brat daughter. He’s your typical weekend Dad, self-absorbed and barely capable of taking care of his two kids: no clean sheets, no food, etc.

Then, aliens attack. This part of the film is pretty well-conceived. Spielberg’s usual amazing special effects do bring H.G. Wells’ tripods to life.

So, Cruise gathers up his kids and runs to Mama. THey’re headed to Boston in the only functional civilian vehicle to get the kids to their Mom. Two thirds of this film is taken up with the little girl (Fanning) screaming and her older brother wanting to go off to join the Army and fight…

Matter of fact, we have a perfectly lovely fight scene spoiled by Ferrier and Son’s fight over whether he should join the Army.

All this relational angst-a typical hallmark of romance. Cruise finally lets his son go his own way with the promise he’ll rejoin the family in Boston. He and his daughter go on—only to meet the one interesting character in the whole film—Tim Robbins plays an ambulance driver who’s just about to go ’round the bend over the attacks—the 15-20 minutes Cruise and Fanning spend in his company is the only spine tingling part of the film. The ‘invasion’ of Robbins’ basement was amazing. Best effects in the film by far as well!

Cruise and family do reunite in Boston. Then we have to suffer the worst non-ending of any science fiction film yet.

Rating: 3 / 5

Being a dad is hard. The wife (and her new dorky husband) brings them over to your house when it’s your weekend. You have to deal with so much nonsense. And on top of everything in this post 9-11 world things in America seem less certain than they used to. Spielberg cracks me up. Leave it to him to make a story about an alien invasion of the planet and the freakin’ end of the world into a portrait of a man learning what it means to be a father to his kids. But of coarse, it’s brilliant. As non-presidents and non-elites most of us would face disaster with the perspective of Tom Cruise’s character and his family.

If you don’t like the changes one of our greatest film directors made to the old story look — WHATEVER TO THAT. Yea that reminds me of King hating THE SHINNING (at least he was the author of the book). Does it matter? NO. Who cares? NOBODY. Because it’s a cinematic masterpiece and this Spielberg sci-fi flick is a real fine film.

I’d argue it’s (at least) a minor sci-fi classic. Sci-fi combined with another genre sometimes produces the most incredible results: In this case we’re treated to sci-fi/horror. And I’ve never seen an alien invasion portrayed this realistically. Your on the ground with regular people, running and getting trapped, barely missing getting zapped, or feed into a machine. It’s great.

—–ALL THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS FOR THIS MOVIE SUCK—–.

*The special effects are great.

*The acting is great.

*The cinematography is excellent.

*The directing -top notch-.

*The movie is dark and very suspenseful.

*The movie is ultra-realistic!
Rating: 5 / 5

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