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Discussion in 'Movies' started by Fred Bang, Jun 27, 2005.
Hey, watch it! 5 hours to go.
Well, I don't think it deserves raves or jeers. I thought it was a good film, not a great one. It's quite well made, and doesn't pander...much. The effects were exceptional and creepy. Dirty Weinberg seems to have a good handle on it, Chuck
This is a review of sorts, but several spoilers that it's hard to place it in the Review Thread. Good movie, not great, but quite good. It's really great to see some nice matches to the original concepts of the tripods and the aliens themselves. I wouldn't have been disappointed to see them reimagined, but when you see one start walking and the shield itself, I got pretty jazzed. The 'Death Ray' was also very well realized and made for a very well done and disturbing scene when Cruise realizes what he's covered in. The personal story of the family was also nicely done, with Cruise realizing he barely knows his kids through the events of the torturous attack. When I had seen the first preview, I had assumed that Cruise would play a scientist, but it was pretty refreshing to deviate from the 50's movie in that way and not retread ground that is well understood by current popular culture. Some parts of the movie were not so good. There is a hide and seek scene which is so practically identical to Spielberg's Jurassic Park that he might have used the same storyboards. The conversion of the aliens from being opportunistic travelling invaders to very long-viewed and calculating invaders makes the deus ex machina ending of the previous War of the Worlds versions seem completely unreasonable and as flawed as the concept behind Signs. There is also a slightly pointless counterattack sequence that seemed very rushed at the end right as the inevitable conclusion was already playing out. Perhaps it was an attempt to rouse the audience in hope, but it seemed to me that the point of the previous films was that there was no hope from human action. The two tripods taken down from Cruise and the military's activity seemed to just be retreads of Independance Day's idea that they're 'weak without their shields'. If you're going to make them vulnerable, the path used in ID4 seems a better choice. If the resolution is immunity based, then don't let humans beat any tripods. That'd just be my preference.
Minor nitpicks in the movie that don't amount to anything (a video camera still working in Cruise's city, having machines buried undetected in major cities, and even the placement of the machines so that they would rise where major cities would eventually be built seemed hard to swallow)
and a few heavy handed 'terrorist' and 'occupation' comments (not that I disagree, just they were very blunt) didn't distract from some fantastic sequences of mayhem and some good dramatic moments. I'll also say that Dakota Fanning continues to impress me. She's just marvelous in reaction without treading over to 'creepily adult child' territory. I'd give it three out of four.
Spoilers, but I won't black them out...they aren't that serious. I've heard a few beefs with the buried weapons of the aliens. It's quite possibly that they were buried VERY deep...far deeper than we dig. Hence the multiple lightning strikes. I DO agree with Alex's first spoiler box, though. Pick one or the other...not both, not at the end. At first, I had issues with the downfall of the aliens, but now it makes thematic sense, as I ponder it. Take care, Chuck
Minor spoilers I've been running the lighting, earth cracking, and tripod emerging sequence in my head and realize I have no idea what Steven was going for with it. The tearing of the buildings and rotating of a very small section of street makes me think the tripod was really close to the surface. Almost like it was intermeshed with the plumbing and sewer under the surface. But then the ground collapses and it emerges. When I saw the second trailer of the ground collapsing, I was thinking that somehow the lightning had set off a bomb under the ground and the tripod was teleporting into the vacant space. But they spent so much time with dialogue saying they were buried under the ground that it can't be what they were going for, that and the time between the lightning and the sinking were very far apart. What was going on there exactly?
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,161000,00.html Just saw this on Drudge. The movie has been out half a day and they are complaining about there not being sell outs yet. What the hell is wrong with studios expecting crazy numbers immediately! FWIW I saw War at 9 am in a medium sized theater that was about 90% full. I was surprised. Oh and that idiotic article associates the current Batman film with the 60s TV show. lame lame lame.
I don't believe the production budget was $182 million either. I'd heard closer to $120 million.
From my comments in the review thread: Steven Spielberg in top form. War Of The Worlds is a rarity in the "disaster" genre. It's 100% serious without the fluff of other similar films. It's a simple tale of a father protecting his children set against a backdrop of the end of the world. This truly is a spectacular film. Full of action, terror, suspense and horrifying images. Definitely NOT for young children. Tom Cruise is perfect here. Playing an everyman unlike any character I have seen him play, he gives just the right performance. Dakota Fanning I am convinced will win an Oscar some day soon. She is amazing conveying such a wide variety of emotions with ease. The visual effects are amazing as you have heard, but they are not overly spectacular for the sake of looking cool. They are spectacular because they look so tremendously real. Don't go into this film expecting anything like ID4 or The Day After. This is hardcore serious sci-fi! One of Spielberg's best. Some additional comments. I found the ending to be faithful to the novel and even the Pal version. I found it neither abrupt or corny. As for the Tripods, I agree with Chuck that they were buried DEEP, maybe miles down. As for the rotating out of the street, I believe that's a nod to earlier versions where the top of the alien machines unscrewed like a top. That first destruction scene was awesome, terrifyingly similar to what we saw on 9-11. I was stunned. Spielberg is a master like no other and he can craft action and suspense scenes better than any other director I know. More later. :b
As for attendance at my theater, I went to an 11:45 Am show playing in the largest auditorium that can hold over 500 people and there were about 30 people in attendance.
I realise this isn't an Ebert's Review of WOTW thread but, as others mentioned, his main criticism is just plain odd: .....are you kidding me? It's Sci-Fi, man, time travel is likely impossible as is "Light Speed" - "transporters" etc. etc. etc. yet you can suspend disbelief long enough for films that contain loads of these impossibilities but you dislike this film primarily because of tripods? He hasn't been the same since his stroke, I'm sorry but that's how I feel. Flame away.
I also went to an early showing (11:30am) because I was anxious and it was around 20% full give or take. Not altogether unexpected (I think some kids are paradoxically still in school), but not overwhelming. I would expect the 7pm showing to be certainly sold out. It was somewhat surprising that they didn't have a midnight showing. I've almost come to expect it for the big ticket releases, which is both good and sad. I'm still not sure about them being deep deep underground because they seemed to 'step out' of the hole by sending a tripod foot up and lifting up which would put the hole around as tall as they are. They're definitely buried, probably for a long time (as the film tells us). I wonder how many of their tripods were lost in the Los Angeles area waiting for pilots to show up. Now that I remember it, the ferry has a tripod beneath it that creates a vortex of water before it comes out. Perhaps the tripods suck down material above them before they come out, sort of like the reverse of pulling a cork.
I went to see it this afternoon. I thought the movie overall was good. The first 45 minutes just rocked. The rest of the movie played out as it should. It was a very good retelling of WotW. I thought that Tom's character should have slapped the shit out of his son when he wanted to go off to help in the battle. Being a Dad myself, I would have picked him up and dragged him away. Also, IMO the aliens looked very much like the ones in ID4.
"I thought the movie overall was good. The first 45 minutes just rocked. The rest of the movie played out as it should. It was a very good retelling of WotW." My feelings exactly. out of 4 from me
DOH! Actually I hadn't seen his BB review...luckily for me I suppose. Really I check Rotten Tomatoes, look for several reviewers I trust, read some of the comments, maybe even some of the full reviews, and that helps me decide. In this case I think he was dead wrong. The film had flaws, but up to the point where Cruise blows up a tripod in TERRIBLE action-film cliche style, it had me knotted up with real fear. The first several major sequences were just outright horrifying IMO. If he had kept that level up, where human blood is sprayed on characters, where people riot and kill for a mini-van, where a man must wash human ash off his face, where rivers overflow with dead bodies, and where a runaway train blasts past, then he would have had one of his best films ever. The stuff with Robbins was iffy. On one hand it was good, and the resolution of killing him was extremely intense, especially for Spielberg. But it came off the screen like some very forced themes rather than a true set of scenes. After that point the film turns into ID4 or any other hokey action destruction film ending. Not the demise of the aliens, that was fine and true to the story, but the scenes of "fighting back" and so on. And how safe and perfect the in-laws home in Boston is - just stupid and silly. He also forced a lot of exposition about the aliens, how they got here, how the ships were secretly planted. First its just a stupid idea. Second, how would anyone really know this stuff. Yet many people seem to have the same theories magically. The characters had the knowledge of the writer when they clearly shouldn't. And third, who gives a shit. Look, they are here. Somehow the storms and "lightening" was part of a tranporting of the alien craft, a technology that they hadn't had before, and now they are here. Nuff said. Don't tell us this crap because not only does it come off false, but its also totally unnecessary. BTW, another silly error was having the camcorder working during the first attack in spite of the fact that the film just showed us that all electronics were broken due to the EMP of the "lightening".
That's where my problem with the film started. I guess Spielberg just really want to have that shot of the Alien attack thru the lens of that camcorder (it was probably from Europe - oh well, even the BMWs just stopped running and won't start too ). Costly fatal silly mistake [- am had anticipated for a silly deadly virus kind of resolution to kill all these aliens after that scene]. The audience around me visibly noticed that.
Kevin, while my reaction is the complete opposite, I entirely understand where Ebert is coming from. The tripods are something of an anachronism, they look like they belong some 50s alien invasion flick (geez which one...). They have this retro look and sound about them, not the dizzyingly high tech feel you would expect to get from an "contemporary" alien vehicle. It was a bit jarring at first, as soon as I saw them I thought this movie should have been a period piece. He just wasn't able to get past that IMO. I find it a perfectly valid criticism, though one that I do not share - I LOVED them. They were absolutely terrifying. -- H
Yea, the first 45 minutes had more tension and suspense than most films I have seen in a long time. Everything about the beginning was brilliant film making on every level. After they went in the basement with Robbins, things started to slow down and thats where I think the films really weakened. There was still several great moments there the probe sequence for one was well done, although it felt like a cross between the raptors in the kitchen and the tentacle in the Abyss
I also found the truth behind the alien "vegetation" to be rather chilling, although it was similar to the Matrix
From a technical stand point, its Spielberg so SFX are going to be top notch, which they were. ILM work here, along with ROTS will get an Oscar nomination. I think there only competition will be King Kong. Cinematography was superb, and the grain that had been present in several of Spielberg past sci fa films (A.I., Minority Report) was minimal if not existent. John William's music was superb, as always. It felt alot like his last few sci fa scores, with the emotion of A.I. and the action of Minority Report. I also found the film to be rather loud, but the sound design for the film was amazing. The machines moving and firing surely tested the theaters sound system, which is top of the line. Acting was good, but I had a hard time buying Cruise as an everyday guy. He was still great in the film, but a guy as recognizable as him and with his star power just doesn't seem to fit as a regular blue collar guy. I guess I'm to used to seeing him as the leader or guy in charge all the time. I liked how the story stayed grounded just to the family and didn't show the whole scope of the damage and impact, although we get a pretty good idea just what that was. It reminded me alot of "Signs" in this regard. Also, did anyone feel the ending to be just a little to slight. I mean, the family comes out of the house to meet Cruise and Fanning and the neighborhood is virtually undamaged, and they didn't seem hurt or affected either.
Besides that, it's a Spielberg film all the way, with his usual visual and film making images and tricks. Did anyone else feel the film was too short, even for Spielberg? His films tend to run usually 2 hrs or more, which leads me to believe there were a number of scenes cut.
No need for spoilers in this thread. What kitchen do you speak of ? Yeah I know, the Jurassic Park sequence came to mind also, except this (WOTW) was not nearly as effective. Have these things never seen mirrors before? I guess not... Would someone tell me just what the heck the Aliens were doing with our guts? -- H
LOVED IT! I think my husband still has marks in his arm from where I was clutching him tighter and tighter, and there were times when I couldn't help myself and cheered and gasped and cried "OH NO!" out loud. I had a great time and I can't wait to see it again. It was better than I thought it was going to be, and I was expecting a pretty good movie. Cruise was excellent as always (surprised? hey, no matter what I think of him as a person, I think he's a very good actor) and I was impressed yet again with Dakota Fanning. I thought the effects were pretty good and the intensity was...well, intense. VERY! I don't plan to read any threads about the movie, here or anywhere else. Nitpickers will have a field day (as Ebert's already proven) but I don't care. I had a blast and that's all I care about. If ever there is a perfect summer popcorn movie, this is it. Speilberg is a master at it. If I were to write a review, what would it say? See this post for my exact feelings. We saw 2 movies today, each wonderful in their own genres. It was bizarre seeing a tiny little film like Me and You and Everyone We Know after WOTW, but it worked perfectly to bring us back down to human scale. Btw, we did pay for Batman Returns, then ducked into WOTW. Great movie, but I still won't pay when we see it again.
This thread made me read Ebert's WotW review. I'm with him ( ratings) and pretty much agree with most of his criticisms on the film (especially on the human characters being one-dimesional and am also looking for "sense of wonder Spielberg celebrated in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the dazzling imagination of Minority Report" [and may I add his masterful direction of his thought-provokingly moving and original, A.I Artificial Intelligence]).