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July 1st, 2005

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05:03 pm - I just saw War of the Worlds
I liked it very much -- very much indeed.

Not just because Tom Cruise is eyecandy, mind -- although I do happen to think he is as near to perfectly gorgeous as a man can be and still be human. (I had a major case of the hots when he took off his shirt near the beginning of the movie -- ye gods and little fishes but he's built!! YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!)

The film itself was very well done, in my opinion. From the casting to the storyline to the visuals and even to the foley work and sound -- excellent, excellent, excellent!!! Two thumbs up, all around!

Some of the reviews I'd read before seeing it harped on Spielberg's referencing of September 11th. Yes, it was indeed there -- a LOT! To my mind, however, it was apropos -- especially at the beginning when the tripods first appear. There are even some characters who ask if terrorists are the ones responsible for the attack -- a logical question at the very beginning of the sequence of events, when things occurred that were reminiscent of that day -- terrifying and conflicting news reports, phones and cellphones that didn't work, etc. While some might think it overdone, I did not think it detracted from the film one iota.

I did have a few issues with some of the characters, though -- namely the two kids. Two more wildly spoiled whiny brats I have never seen. Once the crap started happening, I would have smacked them for giving me lip and not obeying in a clearly life-threatening situation. Cruise's character was obviously far too PC for that. Not ONCE did he tell them to sit down, shut up and do as they were told. Frankly I cannot IMAGINE any real-life parent, in a similar situation, trying to do a psychobabble "now we are in a safe space" piece of bull-manure when it is quite obvious to EVERYONE that the situation is nowhere near safe and that continued bad behavior will put the lives and safety of EVERYONE at risk.

But that's me.

Cruise's character did an admirable job of being a good parent, even given the Hollywood-PC-parenting constraints. A good parent who does what is necessary, even if the kid doesn't like it. He even tells one of his brats it's OK to hate him -- how refreshing!!!! A parent who doesn't need his children's love and approval!! Rah for the writers!!! A REALISTIC parent as a character!! And one with more than just one or two dimensions too!! AMAZING!!!!!!

There was a really great bit part for Tim Robbins in here too -- he chewed the scenery a bit at times, but it worked in the context of his character. And speaking of scenery, it sure looked like Cruise's character lived in Long Island City, from the bits of the neighborood I saw. (I used to work there, so I know the area.) Nice to see New York City streets being used instead of Canadian ones, like Toronto's and Vancouver's -- probably a side-effect of the popularity of certain studios here on the East Coast . . .

This is a movie best seen in a movie theater -- or at least on a home theater system that has a good sub-woofer. I say this because of some of the simply splendid sound effects used in this film. There was quite a bit of very low hertz sound used -- the kind one feels rather than hears -- and that worked wonderfully well in context. It gave a visceral edge to certain things that really enhanced the mood of the moment quite splendidly. On a regular TV/DVD system with just ordinary speakers a lot of that effect will either not be present at all or be greatly diminished, depending on the elaborateness of one's entertainment equipment, and that really would be a shame, since it works so well in the context in which it is used.

One thing about the storyline I liked very much was the keeping to the boundaries of Us versus Them. No trying to understand where they are coming from, psychologically speaking -- no fuzzy-ing of the borders. Everything is pretty cut-and-dried -- They are the Enemy. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Absolute clarity on that point. Again, how refreshing to see something like that in a Hollywood movie nowadays!!!

That having been said, in some ways this film can be very emotionally grueling, because of the way horror and suspense are used unremittingly throughout the entire course of the film. After a while, it can be a bit draining, as one horror after another unfolds in front of ones eyes. The way Spielberg has chosen to approach this is less as an archetypal action-adventure science fiction story and more of a what-if? style horror tale, with overtones of the Holocaust as well as September 11th and tripods standing in for Amon Goth et alia.

All told, I liked this film quite a bit and would highly recommend it -- no matter how much critics may scoff . . .
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
Current Music: "Es Brennt" by Megaherz

(Eat a pomegranate)

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