Monday, January 09, 2006

Guiltless Review: War of the Worlds (2005)

Run away!


Shiny new adaptation of War of the Worlds. Aliens invade and overpower our puny intellects with their superior firepower. Explosions and disentegrations ensue, lots of people running away . . .

Laughs: 0

Nothing funny going on here. That's kind of the point I suppose, but with an action fantasy such as this, having no laughs really hurts how much I care about the characters. Which leads us to . . .

Investment: 2

I don't get Tom Cruise. I mean I get why everyone thinks he's a loon nowadays, I just don't get why people found him so appealing in the first place. The thing is he's actually a good actor. His performance here isn't bad at all. It's just that the movie asks us to follow his adventure throughout the entire running time and the guy he's playing is kind of a jerk. Cruise as always does a good job of playing a jerk, but as a lead character he's a hard guy to get invested in. Speaking of which, I think Cruise would be much more interesting playing a flat-out bastard rather than these arrogant-but-heroic leads he usually gets. I'll even go as far to say that my favorite 2 Tom Cruise characters are when he played flat-out bastards in 'Interview with the Vampire' and 'Magnolia.'

Tears & Lumps: 0

One scene that was supposed to be dramatic featuring the parting of the ways between 2 main characters feels limp precisely because there was no investment from me.

Bizareness: 4

The weird red growth the aliens leave on the ground is icky cool.

Dread: 6

This score should really be higher and would've been had I found the characters more appealing and thus the danger more dread-inspiring. The alien tripods are pretty scary. Love the otherworldly foghorn sounds they make when they're about to let loose.

Twists: 6

Not much plot other than aliens appear and our main characters run away from them for 90 minutes. The end twist (which anyone who's read the book, heard the radio drama, or seen the 1953 film version will know)however, is a classic, and gets 6 points practically all by itself.

Awe/Spectacle: 8

The effects are top-notch. The tri-pods unlike many other effects depicting mechanical contraptions, look like they exist in the real world. I love how they are almost always seen in the distance with no artificial backlighting used to illuminate their every detail. For the most part we see them as the characters see them, they're huge and menacing, and it would be foolish to get close to them.

Thrills: 4

While the appearance of the tri-pods was indeed very effective, the action in the movie falls a bit short. Some of this has to do with the lack of investment in the characters. The encounters in this movie produced some awe, but were not particularly thrilling for me.

Final Word:

Watchable but not truly memorable except for the scenes featuring the Tri-pods.


Lauren said...

Somehow I like it better after reading your review. I think I would have enjoyed it more on the big screen rather than dvd.

Stacey said...

This was definitely a big screen movie, it was actually terrifying in the theater with the sound and the explosions being so huge.

Roe said...

It was a fun movie. I agree with Stacey, made for the big screen. The sound and the 'bigness' of the movie was great.

As a psychotically neurotic parent, I must admit I was on the edge of my seat a lot. But the parting of the ways scene was best summed up by Mike: "If that were Will, I'd punch him in the side of the head, then pick up his unconscious body and run."

The dread factor was huge. But again, that's because I'm the kind of neurotic parent that believes no one is to be trusted with my children unless I am there monitoring their every action (present company excluded, natch!)...

Chris said...

Wish I had seen it on a big screen now, having Lauren sitting next to me making smart remarks probably didn't help either.