War of the Worlds

I just realized that I haven’t posted my “War of the Worlds” review. It’s got spoilers, so don’t read it if you haven’t seen it:

Let me just say that I had quite a few problems with War of the Worlds. First of all — not scary. Not that I need any nightmares or anything, but to be taken aback at least once would have been nice.

Then, I had a lot of questions.  For example: there’s an earthquake type activity in Bayonne, and people are just standing around, balancing themselves around the cracks in the ground, waiting to see what will happen next.  Then, the tripod comes out of the hole, and they’re all just standing around like, “Hmm, that’s interesting.” It’s not until the thing starts vaporizing people that they start running? Found that hard to believe. To be fair, it was actually quite entertaining until after the scene where all the planes were on the ground in the mother’s neighborhood, and then it went downhill from there.

And what about the vaporizing? I mean — I didn’t get the purpose of the blood-sucking machines. Why blood-sucking machines? Why? If the blood-sucking served some purpose, then why would the aliens waste so many human bodies by vaporizing them?

Other questions: Tom Cruise goes into the basement room to kill Tim Robbins with no weapon. Robbins has a shovel, Cruise has nothing, and only Cruise emerges from the room? How’s that? In the end, the aliens are done in by bacteria….okay, but why were the shields compromised on the tripods? Why all of a sudden could the weapons of man penetrate?

But the thing that bothered me the most was the end. Cruise and his daughter somehow WALK from the Hudson River to Boston, in what? Like two days? (Suspend disbelief, okay…) Then, they get to the street where the mother was staying with her parents — the whole street is devastated, but SOMEHOW there’s a light on at the parents’ house. Then, the mother and the grandparents come out, seemingly unscathed, (I think the grandfather might even be wearing a sweater with elbow patches) like “Hey, we were just having brunch. Would you guys like some cantaloupe?” I mean, it was just too clean an ending — even the son lived? How’d he escape that big napalm-esque fireball on the hill?

As for the acting, I thought Cruise was completely unbuyable as the deadbeat dad. First of all, name the character whatever you want, he’s still Tom Cruise. Plus, the deadbeat dad thing was so underdeveloped, and yet at the same time they kind of beat us over the head with it for the first ten minutes. I just think it could have been said better — and besides, who cares? Why did it even have to be part of the equation? Couldn’t he have just been a divorced father with his kids for the weekend? Did the other element really add to the drama?

And what about Dakota Fanning’s character? She’s getting all these raves for screaming, but really, her character was kind of interesting and quirky at the beginning, with the hummus and the fact that she was a little girl on the verge of maturity, but then she’s nothing but a screaming little girl the rest of the movie.

I’ll give you th special effects. I’m sure lots of people like it, but too many questions for me. Basically, it’s one of those movies that the more I think about, the less I like.

MOVIE LINES OF THE DAY:
(From “The Blues Brothers”)

ELWOOD: I bet these cops got SCMODS.
JAKE: SCMODS?
ELWOOD: State County Municipal Offender Data System.

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