War Of The Worlds
Signs from the Invasion of The Third Kind Farscape Aliens... on Independence Day...
While I enjoyed this version of "War Of The Worlds," there were elements that made me feel that this was recycled. There was something familiar and "Deja Vu`-ish" about this movie, and I’m not just talking about he creatures and the machines. There was an element to this that just felt too freaking familiar beyond just the story. I just kept feeling as if I had seen this before, but I was seeing it again for the first time with different actors.
Aliens: The look of the Aliens that were invading Earth looked too familiar from the neck up, while from the neck down they were truly ingenious on the part of FX masters… the body shape was something I don’t think I had ever seen before and they way they moved looked genuinely alien. The heads of these aliens looked like they were the same aliens from other movies such as "Invaders from Mars (1986)" The Alien from "Alien" directed by Ridley Scott and "Aliens" directed by James Cameron, "Independence Day" and maybe a touch of "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind…"
Themes: Another aspect of familiarity, the Ferrier household in New Jersey looked a bit like the home of the Hess’s in "Signs" Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. More so, I thought that Steven Spielberg’s "War Of The Worlds" was more of a rehash of "Signs" and some of his other favorite “Alien Invasion" movies and perhaps the TV series “Taken" that he was the Executive Producer of a few years ago.
Also, like “Signs," there were a few plot holes that someone could have parked stolen mini-vans into. While "Signs" never explained why Aliens who were allergic to simple water (in over-abundance on Earth and in comets through out the solar system...) Steven Spielberg’s “War Of The Worlds" never goes into how it is that after the aliens have been planning this invasion for hundreds if not thousands of years, how come there were never any checks to see if the microbes in the air or something else on earth could be a danger to them? (I’m well aware of the fact that this was an attempt at being a modern adaptation to the work of H.G. Well… but come on! NO explanation?)
Also… naked Aliens? Why are aliens always naked in these movies? You would think that if the environment here could be so dangerous that these Aliens would have some sort of protective suit. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out of the Eagle capsule after landing on the moon… were they wearing environmental suits or beach wear? Another example… when-ever I travel and where ever I go, I’m wearing long sleeve shirt and long pants, comfortable shoes and socks, and obviously my fedora: but I also bring along my jacket, a sweater and shorts with my carry-on and many changes of clothes that’s adequate for the length of my journey. Hey… I’m a mid-20th Century guy traveling in a 21st Century world… and I’m prepared. You would think that a society that’s advanced enough to travel the vast distances of space would be prepared.
Also, The Aliens leave their war-machines buried in the ground for centuries? So with all of our excavating, mining, drilling for oil… we never found one or caught a glimpse of one until they popped out of the ground and killed the first few hundred thousand people? I don’t know, but besides having someone to relate to or cheer for, that bothered me the most about the movie.
There’s also a whole list of things that seemed to have been borrowed from other SF movies or TV shows like “Farscape" and “Stargate…" and lots of missed opportunities... just too much to get into.
Wrap-up… this time with out any cool Morgan Freeman voice over…
Do I recommend this DVD to The Fedora Chronicles readers? Well… conditionally. It is after all, a “Steven Spielberg" movie who’s been responsible for some great “Block Busters" in the past… his first major motion picture “Jaws" was the inspiration for that phrased being coined.
“War Of The Worlds" a great, incredible Special Effects movie, fueled with some great ideas, tense or creepy moments… all held together with a plot about a dad who’s kids were Collateral Damage from his divorce and don’t like each other very much yet have to stick together during mankind’s darkest moments.
It’s a dysfunctional family road movie, a prolonged string of chaise scenes, some commentary about humanities ugly side about how we pray and take advantage of the weak, sprinkled with some class envy or class war-fare, and serious opportunities to see things broken, blown up or vaporized to the music of John Williams. Only thing that was missing were better costumes and a well blocked dark fedora for Tom Cruise to go with that leather jacket…
Seriously… this takes me back to my days of working with Aaron Gantt on “The Indy Experience…" this movie would have worked better if this actually took place in the 1930’s – as if The Mercury Theater’s radio show really happened (which is the inspiration of our annual contest for Halloween – create artwork of what an alien invasion happened in 1939 and became “World War II" in an alternate time-line… more about that later.) The movie might have worked better as “Indiana Jones Versus The Saucer Men" and worked along the same angle as a tribute to “H.G. Wells’ War Of The Worlds" in the same way that “The Temple Of Doom" was a tribute and partial re-make of “Gunga Din."
It’s not a bad movie, and if you’re able to suspend disbelief for two hours, it’s good entertainment. Don’t take it for anything more then what it is, and you’ll have a great time if you haven’t seen it already.