War of the Worlds

7:41 am PHT

The recent Spielberg-Cruise collaboration is one very nice understated CGI masterpiece. I’ve been wanting to watch it ever since I heard about it and I liked it although the ending was quite abrupt. (Though, people who have read the book or know about the story would be pleased at the faithfulness of the film’s ending.)

That said, there are quite a number of subtraction points in the film. First, as many people have observed, the EMP that hit New York stopping everything remotely electronic (including Tom Cruise’s character’s analog watch) did nothing to still a camcorder and a digicam from capturing footages of an alien machine rising out from beneath the streets.

Also, I’ve never seen Dakota Fanning as annoying as she was in this film. Granted, 11-year-old girls deserve to scream after seeing traumatic scenes, but the whining? And Robbie, the rebellious teenage son, was a real brat here.

(Spoiler warning.) What I hated most about the film was the very “happy” ending. C’mon! Do you expect me to believe that their whole extended broken family is alive and safe in the in-laws home in Boston? How come Robbie is alive (and disheveled-looking in contrast to the pristine condition of his grandparents)?

(Spoiler warning again.) And the aliens were stupid. Signs stupid. Actually, if I think about it, Signs and War of the Worlds are in the same boat (alien invasion as seen from the perspective of a single family), but Signs is a much, much better film. But I digress. The aliens are stupid (and this is a flaw of the novel, not of the film) because they should’ve realized they’re not immune to earth’s microorganisms. Didn’t they send advance scouts and wondered why they started dying? Wouldn’t they have realized that they are invading a completely alien ecosystem where energy-beams-that-vaporize-organic-lifeforms-but-not-organic-clothes are of no use. Humans have better sense than them.

The best scenes, however, would be the ones with Tim Robbins in them. It’s great seeing suspenseful action like the ones you expect in horror movies right smack dab in the middle of a sci-fi disaster movie. And Tim Robbins shines excellently in those scenes, which I think is very much like his character in Arlington Road.

A good film, all in all. Though I don’t think it’ll enter my top movies for this year.

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