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War of the Worlds Review

War of the Worlds
Last night we saw War of the Worlds, here’s my review in a nutshell (I’ll try not to spoil it too much if you haven’t seen it):

The plot of War of the Worlds is “run away from the aliens in large machines.” That is the entire plot, there is no love story, no hero, no real purpose for the invasion of Earth, no philosophy and no bad guy (at least none with any human emotions). Though most people on Earth die in the movie, almost no one with more than 45 seconds of screen time dies. The space from the climax to the end of the movie is about 2 minutes. In those brief moments, no real explaining of anything that happened during the rest of the movie takes place. Morgan Freeman (who doesn’t appear anywhere else in the movie) does at least make an attempt to give some justification for the sudden ending, but falls short of anything with substance.

The graphics are great, the sound is awesome and there are definitely some tense moments, but the acting is unconvincing and there is absolutely no food for thought.

Wait for it to come out on DVD is my verdict.

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7 Comments

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  1. Neil
    July 9, 2005 at 5:04 pm #

    I went to see War of the Worlds yesterday.
    Disappointment wasn’t what I felt, as I sort of half expected the movie to suck. There were a few good parts, but on the whole the movie wasn’t worth the entire price of the ticket.

    In Defense of War of the Worlds
    I must first say that I will not be nominating War of the Worlds for any awards, but I don’t think it deserved as scathing a review as has been posted. (see this review.)

    After all, we are the same society that hangs up paintings called Red Square and Black Circle in a Museum of Modern Art and call it a masterpiece. (see this link at ibiblio.org).

    Kasimir Malevich claimed to have reached the summit of abstract art by denying objective representation. He had a series appropriately named “White on White”.

    To come back from the fringe of Suprematist artists, I think that my point is that our times have changed. No longer will anyone hand a plot, love interest, or other important story element to the audience on a silver platter (or cellulose platter). The mark of true art these days is to have the audience meet the creator halfway, creating an interactive piece.

    This has met societal acceptance worldwide as more and more independent film festival winners hit the mainstream theatres; more and more people use the Internet as a medium for publishing images, movies, and written works; and so forth.

    I’m not going to go so far as to say that this was Spielberg’s Opus, but I did see a few elements that brought some little bit of dimension to the story (which probably should have been re-released as a radio broadcast, not a feature film). Here’s what I saw, and it’ll be sufficiently vague so as not to give it all away :)

    - a father’s pride as his son goes bravely and selflessly to help people over a vertical steel grating (the ferry)
    - a son’s rebellion and willingness to join in the “big fight”, and a father’s struggle against him
    - a father and his daughter getting reaquainted
    - an immature father being more curious at first, then gradually more cautious during the whole movie

    But I think i’ll have to draw the line there. Tom Cruise knows way too much about weather, horticulture, and survival for an overweight gearhead crane-driver. I think I’m giving away too much, so I’ll stop there. I think my point is made:
    The audience has to work for their storyline, subplot, etc. In fact, if looked at closely, the aliens take a back seat to the human factor of this movie.

    For instance, the most shocking part of the movie for me was the ferry landing. And I think that is the plot line that Spielberg was really following. We all know that the aliens were make-believe, and simply a story on the radio, right?
    The real important parts are the humans.
    My 2 bits.

  2. Ben
    July 11, 2005 at 7:03 pm #

    Hmmmmm. An artists approach to a movie. The last thing I would want to do is go to a museum, stand in front of a painting of a black circle, and ask, “What did the painter want to express to the world?” I def. don’t want to do that when I go to a movie.

  3. Marcus
    July 13, 2005 at 8:49 pm #

    I completely agree with this review. This was a dissapointing movie. Not terrible, just not that great. When I finally am able to get to a theatre I want to see something awesome, something that makes me walk out of the theatre high fiving my wife and mimicing parts of it. I’ll probably be called shallow by some people, but I’m fine with that.

  4. Marcus
    July 14, 2005 at 4:17 am #

    Weird… someone hijacked my name and email to comment on my own blog.

    Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K.

  5. jenny vorwaller
    July 24, 2005 at 10:49 pm #

    ha! i thought that sounded like an odd comment (the hijacked-your-email-guy!) i knew it was the pseudo marcus right away. i mean, high fiving my wife? c’mon now.

  6. jenny vorwaller
    July 25, 2005 at 9:25 am #

    p.s. i didn’t care for the movie that much either~it was a definite “hype” film, with nothing to hold it up. tom cruise can stop promoting it now, free katie and stop pretending to be the master of the universe, psychology and anything having to do with post-partum depression.

  7. Cameron
    July 29, 2005 at 11:02 am #

    I agree with Marcus (and pseudo Marcus……and Jenny). I am not quite sure what Neil is getting at when he says,

    “No longer will anyone hand a plot, love interest, or other important story element to the audience on a silver platter”

    I think that is exactly what a good story teller should do. They should carefully craft and prepare for all elements of the story. Unless you are commenting on the over expositioned movies that most of hollywood puts out. Lots of explaining with not enough telling of the story. That is an obnoxious element in most Hollywood movies. A well crafted story needs very little of that and can be compensated, when needed, with the visual, and the often overlooked audio, elements that a good script, actors and director bring to the story. Watch some of Hitchcock at his best and you will see a puppet master using all the elements of a story without having to dumb it down for the audience to catch up. (M. Night Shyamalan takes a ton of ques from Hitchcock)

    Spielberg has always ran hot and cold with his movies. Some of his movies changed my life, like “Schindler’s List”. And he is a master of story telling when he has a project he really puts his back into, like “Close Encounters: Of the Third Kind”. War of the Worlds was one of his ‘cold’ ones (like Lost Worlds). And as in the past we will just have to wait a lil while and he will bring out a great film again.

    *shrug* Well that’s my two cents at least. :-)

    btw A great movie that is extremely well told story is “Twilight Samurai”. One of the best I have seen in a long time.