Movie Review: War of the Worlds

In a moment of indecision and excitement, Jenn and I decided to see War of the Worlds. We were down at the in-laws and Grandma would be putting Raelyn down for a nap. Seizing upon an opportunity for uninterrupted cinema, we went to the movies.

As is my style, I’m not going into some long, drawn-out dissection of plot points or a full-blown review. Rather, here are three lists that illuminate my feelings on the flick.

Take ’em or leave ’em.

1) The tone. Any director who can make a tired, old alien sci-fi story into a tense, scary thriller with a subtext of harrowing family togetherness is good. Steven Spielberg is that man.
2) The marauding alien vehicles. Tripods are where it’s at. Also, accurate to the source material.
3) Tim Robbins. Again, any director who would give a famous, vocal lefty the line “Occupations always fail!” in a summer blockbuster deserves kudos. So, Kudos!
4) Tom Cruise. I truly buy this man as an unstable, divorced, dead-beat dad. Maybe that’s because in his private life he’s an unstable, divorced, dead-beat dad. Genius casting.

1) The actual aliens. No reason to sho them in full. Keep them hidden like the shark in Jaws. Maybe one small glimpse when they die, but never in full view. Never. Big mistake.
2) The abrupt ending. No hint of what was about to happen other than the fact that I glanced at my watch. Very jarring considering all the tension built up in the previous two hours.
3) Dakota Fanning. If you have one of the most talented child actores ever in your movie, don’t have her play an ineffectual scaredy-cat who has to be carried everywhere in between bouts of screaming, crying or screaming and crying. A waste of talent.

No opinion:
1) The Morgan Freeman voiceover. Was it good? Was it him?
2) The soundtrack. Could have been more dynamic to go along with other Spielberg films’ famous themes. On the other hand, it didn’t detract from the tension by making itself the main event.

Overall, I’d give it maybe 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. Worth a repeat viewing on DVD, but only if the lights were off and you had a blanket to share with your sweetie.

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