Friday, July 08, 2005

War of the Worlds

FILM REVIEW - War of the Worlds
by Steven Speilberg

If you're an H.G. Wells fan or an S-F afficionado, you will find yourself compelled to shell out the high price to see War of the Worlds on the big screen. The special effects are well worth the cost of the film.

But if you're looking for a script that makes any sense, or characters that you can bear to follow for the whole two hours of the film, or a plot that doesn't tax your intelligence - I have two words for you - STAY AWAY!

I suppose that I could have overlooked those flaws, being an avid science fiction fan and reader since age 4 - except for all the shreiking in the theater....uh, coming from the screen.

Speilberg certainly got lazy with his directing - and his screenplay.

1) Was it really necessary to have Dakota Fanning (as the little daughter) shrieking and whining all the time? That stupid character never shut up. Me, me, me, me, me... She was a spoiled, insensitive, annoying and distracting idiot. What a waste of a perfectly good, young actress.
Besides, let's look at reality, during real danger, even children have the sense to shut up and listen and let their parents guide them. Really bad writing.

Didn't Spielberg trust his film enough to believe we could handle our own screaming?

2) Tim Robbins, as Harlan Ogilvy, was apparently supposed to be playing the Curate character from the book. In the book, the Curate goes mad and never stops babbling or making noise, and endangers their position.

If Tim Robbins was playing insanity... that didn't come through. He just seemed annoying and afraid. Those scenes really could have been directed much better.

Besides, there really wasn't much character development - or perhaps they cut out those scenes?

And Spielberg's writers, Josh Friedman and David Koepp, never explain why, with all the people running down that hill, with the fire licking at their heels, why Tim Robbins ONLY invites Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning into his little hidey-hole.

3) The ending, the epilogue. This is H.G. Wells' version:

And strangest of all is it to hold my wife's hand again, and to think that I have counted her, and that she has counted me, among the dead.

It's satisfying.

Spielberg's on the other hand...well, I'm not going to tell you his ending. But suffice to say, it makes no sense, considering the overall context.

But, there is one really poignant moment at the end, that is well acted and believable.

And Mariann Mayberry, playing the ex-wife is excellent.

Overall, noisy, noisy, noisy, great effects, poor writing. If I had to rate it, I'd says about 2.5 stars.

Speilberg has done some wonderful, magical, amazing films. This isn't one of them.

Is anyone still writing movies with actual plots?

I don't remember the book being this insipid. Do you?

Not sure? You can read the whole book online!

War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells

(And my octogenarian mother wanted to see this? I can see her now!)

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If you'd rather stay home and enjoy your favorite film -
You can download them for a lot less than theatre prices.

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