War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds, a spur of the moment film when watched, please take the time to read my views.
If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you! :O Run for the hills!

Well it was a Tuesday, which meant a very long school day. And I thought, ‘Hell, lets go to the cinema’ Which doesn’t happen much. We only really went for the fact that Tuesday’s are Student Days at the Odeon, meaning that tickets are half price at only £3.50 each.

The choice was out of Batman Begins and War of the Worlds. It was a tough choice, but I chose that we (me and kitty) would watch War of the Worlds.
Although we watched Batman Begins the following week anyway.

War of the Worlds, another blockbuster churned out by the mogul that is Steven Spielberg. Starring only Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwin and Tim Robbins.

Directed by Steven Spielberg; whom has had much experience with alien movies, but never before have I seen such a good disaster movie (probably because I tend not to watch them).
The film follows Ray Ferrier; a dock worker, divorced with two children, who he has been given the responsibility to look after at the time the aliens strike. Of course nobody gets along well. The film spans across many states and environments for the ultimate goal of reaching Boston; where the children’s mother and stepfather are staying. Throughout this journey we are witness to a haunting train, the remains of a plane crash, a boat disaster and lots of running, hiding and shouting.

A typical action movie. Except for one difference.
I enjoyed it.

My main anxiety for the film was its enormous usage of CGI for the creation of the aliens. I am not always the fan of CGI especially when it is issued for no reason. But in War of the Worlds the CGI effects were utilised extraordinarily, helping to convey the frightening devastation that the tripods unleashed unto the protagonist’s world.

A note on Tom Cruise in the film. I am not his biggest fan, I must admit whenever I see him in a movie I always need to comment on how short he is compared to regular actors. But hell, he was really one of the only actors in the film alongside with Robbins. No one else really struck me with an amazing performance.
Another bit I picked up on was how Tom Cruise looked really old. I came to the conclusion while watching that perhaps it was just to convey his desperation in the events, how tired he really was. Well you couldn’t really have some shiny clean actor bursting through the film, looking as though nothing had happened...
But I felt he gave a good performance. Perhaps it’s not up there with some of his better characters, but he was convincing - a man on the edge, at the end of his wits. With a screaming child at his side...

Dakota Fanning... the screaming little girl. Surprisingly I did not find her too annoying, I usually would. I hate children in films. But then without them, it would just be a bunch of adults. Justin Chatwin didn’t really strike me with a great performance; I do not really remember much of him while I write this. The only fact I do remember his character was the blatant advertising of the Apple iPod... eww I’m biased against their cause.

Tim Robbins was the only other real ‘good’ actor besides Cruise. He gave a first-rate performance as a crazed guy. I thought his character was really sinister though, half expecting him to try and kill them all.
The only other memorable character was the female friend of Ray, her death was rather shocking, and not expected by myself. Especially for a film where everyone lives happily ever after. (She was the one that couldn’t make it onto the ferry).

Off acting I will now focus on the screenplay. Of which I do not remember predicting any lines; which for a large budget film is usually unheard of. Especially with a screenwriter like David Koepp, who has written many a large budget screenplay before.
Sure not everything was the best, but I do remember some rather funny lines, and occurrences:

Two for you, two for Robbie, two for me... One for the house
(That was funny, but not supposed to be :P)

What is this?
Yeah, from the Health food place, I kept a menu last time we were here.
(Stares at her)
… Well you said order.
Yeah… food.

What is it? Is it terrorists?
These came from some place else.
What do you mean… like… Europe?
No, Robbie, not like Europe!

I’m allergic to peanut butter.
Since when?

Most of them are only funny in context, but I remember laughing a little now and then when I saw the film.

A note on the score by John Williams... that was John Williams? I do not even remember hearing any music whatsoever. I could not distinguish John Williams in the film at all. His work is usually so easy to recognise.
As for diegetic sound, the tripods made the experience of going to the cinema solid. The terrifying screeches let off by the tripods sailed all around the 10 people seated at the particular screen. The sound effects were magical, the best part of the film.

The film itself having been rated PG was going pretty easy on it. If I were a small child I would have been terrified to see such a film. With innocent civilians being disintegrated left and right, alongside others being spewn all over the place.
Although the violence was all in context, it’s not as though a cinema goer could copy the events and kill someone in the same fashion.

So what was good about the film?
The eerie quality that highways gave were perfect for the film. Hundreds of deserted cars along a stretch of road really gave a feel of isolation, another event that helped with this was most definitely the airplane crash; the strangest part of the film, alongside with the flaming train.
The introduction of the tripods was spectacular, destruction left and right so heartlessly that I loved it.
I liked the story of the loser father, some of the dialogue along with the acting was top notch. An all round enjoyable film.

Although every film has its bad points. Mine were mainly with parts of the story.
Why did Spielberg decide they would be under the ground? I suppose if they hadn’t of been it would have been another Independence Day. But still I thought it was unnecessary.
It would seem some of the film was centred for compassion for your fellow man. If that were the case then why did no one care about the first man to be sucked inside the tripod from the cage? Why did the army officer give Tom Cruise the thingy of grenades and not the other poor guy? No one else seemed to care a thought for him.
My only other gripe: Boston.
If there were as many tripods after Ray as there was everywhere else, then why did Boston look immaculate? How did all these people survive? Ray had been around different parts of the country; many of with were deserted because of the terrible devastation. Of course in talking of Boston, this all leads to the ending... of which words cannot express.

With such a great film I feel the ending dampened the whole thing. I would have rather it had a sad ending, than one so happy.
But seeing as this particularly bad end was to a pretty great film, it does not come off too bad.

Overall a pretty decent film. The first to rekindle my interest in contemporary cinema, and began me on the road of watching a new film every Tuesday.
It had some good acting, some fun dialogue, and some great special effects. The kind of film I would go to the cinema to see, simply for the experience given by the sound.

Cptalbertwesker Rating 7/10 A great premise but a bad end, definitely a good start to the summer films.


At 1:05 am, Anonymous Catherine said...

Um I thought I should say you need to really read through this, lots of mistakes, as in it makes no sense in some places and you spelt diegetic wrong, it musta got corrected or something as its dietetic or something I dunno, read it through moomie. Oh yeah I liked your review, and I found those parts funny too ^^ I even laughed when I read it :).

At 9:32 am, Blogger Cptalbertwesker said...

Duly noted, read through, and corrected. I hope. I didn't see that many mistakes :|


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