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Discussion in 'Movies' started by Fred Bang, Jun 27, 2005.
Pretty good film...i didnt expect it to be a psuedo-horror film!
As Shawn_McD discovered above, this movie wasn't meant to create such warm and fuzzy feelings, even the color palette is pretty drab. Them tripods were nothing short of terrifying. This movies has got to get the Best Sound award. Some issues: - Lost some steam in Tim Robbin's basement, and became more and more conventional - A dearth of Spielberg stylistic trademarks. - The characters (and their relationships) left me cold. The boy was completely forgettable, I could not recognize him if I saw him in a another movie right now. -- H
Well, if A.I. and Minority Report are considered good Spielberg movies and War of the Worlds is labeled a bad Spielberg film, I'll take bad Spielberg every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
I'm surprised that knowone has commented on the actors playing Tom Cruise in-laws. I knew they had a cameo in the picture, but was surprised to see it where it was. The in-laws where: Gene Barry & Ann Robinson from the original version
maybe i'm a moron (good chance of that!!), but i didn't understand the whole "red weed" thing. what was it? why did it exist? PLEASE someone fill me IN...(p.s. i had to take a piss during the basement scene w/tim robbins and may have missed something...)
I don't really agree with Eberts comments, which is pretty odd since I tend to agree with him on many of his other points in his reviews. As far as his comments on the tripods is concerned, I just think movie goers are too accustomed to giant flying ships, ala ID4, Signs, and other films. I find it difficult to believe though that aliens would have planned for millions of years to exterminate us and use our planet, but use only one type of vehicle as there means of attack. It is a poor move tactically, and I do agree that they could be easily defeated. Its pretty common knowldge that if you cant beat it from the outside, you need to do it on the inside, ala a trojan horse (ID4 used this to some lesser extent with a nod to the whole virus thing and blowing it up from the inside. Of course, the lightning had to come from somewhere and the aliens had to have gotten here somehow, so maybe this is just the first wave to soften us up and gain some momentum before the big invasion. Maybe there plan was flawed and that they are truly defeated and the other turned around, or did not exist, and the ground attackers were the only ones. Spielberg makes no effort to answer these questions and doesnt have to. The film can stand on its own with or without these questions, and allows for an interesting debate. Though I would not have allowed such questions to so clearly exist, because if they are pushing for a sappy ending in the first place, why leave such questions regarding the aliens unanswered at all? Or maybe I'm just looking at it too deep and with so many possibilities. Ebert gave Signs 4/4 stars, but I'm sure he liked the psychological aspects and that it borrowed alot from other horror and sci fi films like Night of the Living Dead and didnt use outlandish effects. WOTW is entirely different, and though I dont agree that much of the story concentrated on the family aspect and not the survival story, it did keep it oriented on human characters and did not allow itself to be saved or backed by too many effects. I find it difficult to believe that Ebert would have liked ROTS more and given it higher marks than this film. This is Spielberg in top form, and though several flaws clearly show and the film loses steam in a few places, his use of visuals and stylistic choices are a welcomed sight to the genre that he helped define along with Lucas. He's made his aliens too friendly in the past, and what he did here with aliens as villains is superb. The previous film was a much more action oriented film and I think many will be let down by thinkign they are going into another ID4. This film is about fear and paranoia and I was suprised at how it makes many references to post 9|11, both direct and indirect. I wish they just had not played it so safe in the last 20 minutes, and given the film more urgency like the original had. I think the film could have benefited with a longer run time (though some would disagree) by allowing a more darker finale leading up to a reunion that wasnt so bright and happy. I know they allowed for hte whole journey to be dark and let the characters some relief in the end, but why not go the whole way and make the reunion not as sudden or expected. I guess this is just one of Spielberg's few flaws not only in this film but with him as a film maker, but it still does not affect just how great he made the rest of the film to be. Sometimes you can allow most of the film to be a let down or standard fare, but save yourself by wowing them in the end. This has helped more films than can be counted. Then again, you can grab ahold on them right off the bat and not let then go, and then lose them just as you had them sucked in. Spielberg occasionally does this, and M. Night knows this all to well. Personally I would give this a strong 4/5, mostly for Spielberg's flawlessly executed first half, the solid visuals and acting, and returing to the sci fi genre.
As for the weed thing, it's my belief (I may get some of this wrong) that they were using "us" as a kind of fertilizer to create alien vegetation to help them make the planet inhabitable for them. Of course, bacteria, germs, and viruses in the air and us did not make that possible and they effectually became infected which affected there machines (allowing us a way to help take them down) and also led to there "weeds" not beign able to grow. This is why at the end, when Cruise grabs a piece off of the statue, it is crumbing and dying. They are in a sense harvesting us not only to destroy resistance but also use us as a means of starting there new world. I think its pretty similar to the original "The Thing From a Another World" in which the alien used blood as food to help grow its offspring. Same thing may apply here. In regards to the EMP and the camcorder, some cameras still worked when the people were taking pics before the tripods attacked, plus military vehicles and the ferry still worked. Possibly battery operated things (flashlights) are not affected. Plus, anything turned off would not be affected. EMP only affects integrated circuits, so the ferry may have been too old to be affected, or didn ot have the circuitry. Plus, almost all military vehicles are hardened against EMP (it makes sense, who is going to fight the ground war post nulcear apolcalypse )
My rating: 1/2 / War of the Worlds is a gripping roller coaster of a movie that also manages to be a pretty faithful adaptation of a classic novel. That this movie succeeded for me despite a lousy theater experience speaks to the brilliance of the film. It lost the half a star by including the successful use of grenades and artillery at the end before the invaders succumb to the microbes. I thought it rang a little bit false that Robbie survived. However, Ray suffered tremendously during the movie, and his future still looks awful (look at the glares from his in-laws!), so I can forgive the inclusion of a happier moment. One bit of trivia I found interesting: The words "Mars" and "Martian" are not uttered once in this movie. Also, hats off to the team at ILM for the effects. The opening shot, the tripods, the tentacle, and everything else were astonishing.
When they kept showing him all alone on the street from his inlaws POV, I thought the shot was gonna pull in and frame him into the door frame, a la Ethan from The Searchers . -- H
Wow what a rush! Went to the last showing tonight, theatre about half full. First off, King Kong trailer got a huge response. Not the typical fanboy "woohoo, yay!!" shouts but tons of gasps and 'oh my god I have to see that' chatter. Back to WotW. The sound design was top notch and probably one of the scariest aspects of the entire movie. HT nuts are going to have a field day when this comes out on DVD. The sounds were also very similar to another media with tripods, the game Half Life 2. Some of those battlecries were right out of the game. Sorry Ebert, but those tripods ruled. Those things were part of the scarier moments in the game, and WotW seemed to capture that perfectly in the first half. The way the people 'poofed' leaving just their clothes was more effective than most of the other takes on that which we have seen, such as burning down to bone, etc. Just a poof and clothes fluttering away. Very creepy. I'm a big fan of ID4 (and those aliens were nearly identical copies) and will be a big fan of WotW 2005 as well. It amazes me how much they did in so little time. The train was the most unexpected moment. For summer movie fun: /
I can't believe I doubted Spielberg could pull off something this huge and polished in the little time he was given for production. Didn't he just start shooting in November or something? Jesus, this movie was just straight jaw-dropping all the way to the end. Can't wait to see it again. I also just have to say watching people get blown to ashes in such graphic detail is probably one of the most unsettling things I've had to witness in a summer blockbuster movie that wasn't rated R. Whenever that tripod turned on that laser and dusted groups of people, I couldn't help but flinch.
I think critics are a little too eager to bash this film (those who dislike the film that is) either because they have a secret agenda against Cruise and are hiding it by finding faults with the film where they can, and also targeting Spielberg in he process for whatever reason. Had Signs come out after "The Passion" I think that may have gotten a slightly different reception also. Fans of Spielberg and Cruise are what is going to drive this film, and once they see it for what it is, alot will probably forget about his behavior as of late. Regardless of how you feel about him, you should go and see this. If not, you are missing one of the years best films thus far. In fact, not once did I think of him at all in terms of the things that have been in the news lately about him. Right as the film started, I was able to watch the film and he takes the screen right away with his performance. Sometimes you forget its Tom Cruise and rather just the character he is playing. He keeps you absorbed and allows his supporting cast to play off of him so well. Clearly Spielberg has a talent for child casting, and the choice of Dakota Fanning was very inspired. Leave it to Spielberg to help rescue Cruise from himself. Does anyone have predictions for box office this weekend? To beat last year's record with Spidey 2, it needs $115 million over the weekend and about $180 million since Wednesday. You could hold movie theaters hostage, and still not break that record. Unlikely to pull Hollywood out if its much over hyped and needlessly advertised slump, but I think it will do really well. I'm predicting $65 million for the weekend, and about $90 million for the 5 day period.
I will say I think you'll be hard pressed to find a more intense movie than the first 45 minutes or so of WoTW. It definitely knocks you out of your seat ala Saving Private Ryan. What an amazing sound mix btw. I definitely do not see another movie coming out this year with more "wow" factor in terms of action sequences. Expect more Jurassic Park than E.T. or Close Encounters here. There's a basic narrative and goal, but generally it's a series of great set pieces in Spielbergian style. There are some incredible shots and camera movement, again especailly in the first/middle act. The ending is more of standard type of thing ... alien invasion movies like this are always more fun when the aliens actually arrive and destroy than the inevitable final act where the humans overcome.
Seth: What makes you think he killed the Robbins character(based on a very similar character from the H.G. Wells novel btw)? Since it wasn't shown, he easily could have knocked him unconscious. That would be more in line with Cruise's character than killing him imo. And btw Seth, answer your frikkin' phone once in a while!
I assumed he killed him as well, for the look on Cruise's face afterwards. The shattered look like he had just... killed somebody. If he was only going in their to knock him out, I don't think anyone would be THAT upset to do it. Hell, Gandalf didn't flinch when he knocked out Denethor to shut him up.
Wow Vickie, I'm honored that you linked to my post. And don't bow out of this discussion. As someone mentioned previously, we miss you around here. And since we think exactly the same of this terrific film, I got your back and you got mine.
Right, assumed. I guess that's why Spielberg filmed it off screen so that we can debate it. I'll stick with he knocked him out, presumably. Also regarding the camcorder. Replacing the solinoid in the car allowed it to function, so perhaps changing the battery allowed the camcorder to work. Regardless, I disagree with the notion posed that it was a fatal flaw.
Its pretty certain Ray killed Tim Robbins. Why would he have wrapped his daughter eyes?
I liked it, but I doubt it will be the crowd-pleaser than many are expecting. I really liked that the story was told from the POV of one family which doesn't know what is going on, unlike a film like Independence Day, in which the scope of the invasion is laid out for the viewer. WOTW was creepier and more scary that way. Also glad WOTW avoided the cliche of destroying landmarks. Some sequences stretched credibility and some went on too long, but that's a minor comlpaint or two. The effects were more or less subtle, not as in-your-face as many summer flicks. Cruise was okay, and I'm glad there wasn't a thread about how he was the one to defeat the aliens. This is the first homage to 50s scary sci-fi that I can recall in many years.
Who knows? Perhaps so she wouldn't see him going through the door. Making her sing a song so she wouldn't hear made more sense since even if she wasn't blinfolded, she doesn't have x-ray vision. Anyway, since we don't actually see Cruise killing Robbins, it certainly isn't "certain".