Thursday, June 30, 2005

War of the Worlds: Don't Bother

I had a rotten day at work yesterday. So when I got home, my Other Half suggested that we go see War of the Worlds. Now, despite my feelings about Tom Cruise, I wanted to go. The original book (by H. G. Wells) is a great favorite of mine and what I saw in the trailers had me convinced that the graphics were superb and this was true to the book.

I had intended to take my kids with me (it's rated PG-13) but I am so glad that I decided to check it out first. Unlike Minority Report (a movie based on a novel by another favorite author of mine), this movie was a terrible disappointment. It does not have the cold, precise elegance of the novel, nor does it catch the wisp of hope that Wells somehow wove into the story.

Instead, it is a bleak movie showing the utter hopelessness and horrors of war - whether it's alien or human. Perhaps Spielberg intended to send that message; he's been known for his anti-war sentiments. And I don't say I disagree with him; but he needed to warn us up front about his intentions.

I found it strange (and other reviewers apparently experienced this too) that the audience laughed at some very odd times (in my opinion, there never was occasion to laugh). I don't know if the laughter was born out of a nervous reaction to the darkness of the movie, but it was unsettling to hear laughter at times when it wasn't warranted. Perhaps this dark movie also brings a bit of darkness out in us, as well.

It's a movie that tries to show a father's developing relationship with his children (Cruise isn't believable in this role) while showing the family desperately trying to escape the invaders. The ending brings resolution to all Cruise's toils, but is too pat and completely unbelievable considering everything that has gone before it.

Tim Robbins makes an appearance that goes on too long. Known for his goofy, off-the-wall roles, he doesn't surprise us this time. We know there is more to this character than meets the eye, but sadly (perhaps due to Spielberg's direction) he somehow never metamorphoses into what he could be. His scene is too long and takes up too much time in a movie that needs to show the overall scope of the destruction that is being visited upon the earth, and any successful struggles that could counterpoint it's bleak message.

The majority of the movie shows humanity at it's worst, with no redeeming virtues that I can see. It sends the message that we are not masters of our own fate, but are doomed to toil and die in misery unless fate happens to step in.

If you must go, take an anti-depressant pill first and bring a pillow.


Saur♥Kraut said...


I had no idea I was going to get dragged off to this! By the time we got home, I realized it was too late to call you. Let's chat today and get our schedules out! *hugs*

bananarama said...

YIKES. I am DEFINATELY not going. Blech!

back-to-basics said...

Sounds good.

I was not interested in this movie anyway, but the guys in the family are. Thanks for the heads up, the boys can go if they want to

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Thanks for mentioning the HG Wells book. It was quite an original idea when it came out.

I feel doomed enough lately living in America. This type of movie would not be my cup of tea.

Thank you for the interesting review!

snicksnack said...

But tell us, other than was the show, Mrs. Lincoln? :-) Just kidding. I saw it last nite too, and hated it.

Saur♥Kraut said...


Yeah, take some you time instead, or we'll have dinner together or something!


Thank you! I'll be checking out your blog again this afternoon. You've had some interesting topics lately!


Yeah, right? It wasn't even fun eating popcorn when it was so miserable to watch!

back-to-basics said...

I want to see Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Anyone have a review?

Jamie Dawn said...

Thanks for the heads up. I will probably see the movie because my family wants to see it. I wasn't pleased with Cruise's performance in The Samuri, so I won't be surprised if he doesn't carry off this role well.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Thanks, Jamie! Just take my advice and take that pill. Or, you might just want to take a downer and sleep through the whole thing. ;o)


I haven't seen it yet, but hear it got mixed reviews.

Gunner said...

In a box somewheres i have the original broadcast on some cassettes. The radio broadcast was good, the book it was based on was also good.