Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Spielberg's War of the Worlds

I won’t be one of the many that run out to buy War of the Worlds on DVD today. It’s not that I didn’t like the movie. I liked it. The effects were great, the actors delivered their performances, but it just didn’t deliver the story that I wanted to see. I just couldn’t help but feel that we had seen it all before. Sure, I know what you are saying. The story is old. It has been made a hundred times. What new can be brought to the table? I think what I was looking for was a link between the characters. Not just the family, I liked Cruise as the manual labor everyman struggling to connect with the kids he only sees on weekends, but that is where the connections really end. The rest is just surface level stuff we have seen before in every disaster movie ever made.

There are many times in the movie where you think that people will connect beyond the "you watch that way and I'll watch this" level, but they are all poor attempts. Some people find the daughter and want to get her safety, A man hides in the basement with them and proves that he is crazy, Cruise helps a guy fix a car. These little glimpses try to tie the film down to a human level, but fail in a big way.

Maybe disaster movies are only made for thrills and can’t go any deeper. Well, Spielberg claims that the movie goes further in exclusive DVD footage clip on CNN. It’s all nice and tidy with Cruise and the actor playing his young son practicing what kind of handshake they are going to do. If this is the only example they could find of real human interaction, and I believe it is, then I rest my case.

So, go out and rent War of the Worlds this week. Watch after your turkey and noodles, but don’t look for it to tie you to the rest of the human race or make you thankful that machines well beyond the capabilities of modern human science are not located under the ground at our feet because as much as Spielberg wants to drop his ideas, this movie is up with effects and down with people.


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