Wednesday, June 29, 2005

War of the Worlds

A prestigious award winning director (Steven Spielberg), a top of the line actor (Tom Cruise) and a novel written by a science fiction legend (H.G.Wells), much marketing hype in the media, a story involving an alien invasion on earth, all points to a good combination of elements that is poised to make this movie a must watch, wait one minute!

The movie fell flat on its face, end of review.

Okay details I know. I expected a lot for the movie, a kind of end of the world themed flick in the footsteps of Independence Day and Deep Impact and I was gravely disappointed with the final product. It does not help that our boss is away and the whole lab decided to play hooky for the day and close the lab early to catch the screening at 6.45 p.m. at GSC Kota Kinabalu which incidentally jacked up the price of the deluxe seat to RM9 for opening night.

Yes as I was saying, H.G. Wells wrote about an alien invasion trying to exterminate the human race through their way superior technology and yes the movie was about that but it didn’t have to be just about THAT, if you get what I mean. That single line of explanation should not be the only element a two hour movie is based on.

Firstly for such a doom day event, the actors especially Tom Cruise playing as Ray Ferrier with his two children, Robbie (Justin Chatwin) and Rachel (Dakota Fanning) as well as the entire cast does not show much emotion at all for such a traumatic experience (besides relapses between hysteria to calmness). Okay so Tom had a severe major panic attack that left him looking like a babbling idiot and the two kids seem more like brats than anything else (which makes you feel like slapping them and say just get a hold of yourselves) as well as half the people turning into crazy maniacs.

The raw emotion of hopelessness, of the human spirit broken down, of despair and of death was not played out well, unlike in his previous film, Schindler’s List where the audience really could empathize with the people in the film, here one will feel more detached than anything even as tripods (the alien three legged, three toed squid like killing machines) set about killing anything in their path. You’ll want to shout out ho hum so what’s new.

There was no sense of joy and of having survived what was thought to be an extinction level event as we can see in movies like Independence Day. There is no sense of suspense and the scene with the eye probe in the basement was more laughable than suspenseful. There is no fear, not one moment where I truly felt there was no hope for the people and the aliens were nicer to view than evoked any sense of shiver down your spine. The whole thing was bland and soulless throughout.

Maybe I’m being too harsh, it does portray how an ordinary person would react when faced with a problem literally out of this world, first with disbelief, then with a calm demeanor as your brain tries to sort out the unthinkable, to panic which leads to desperation and a natural instinct to just keep on surviving. If that was it’s objective than it succeeded with the exception that too much focus was given to the trio of father and children and not a human response en mass (besides the rioting, the rampage and the mad rush to get the hell out of there to anywhere).

The movie dragged like a pair of well worn sneakers, slow and uncomfortable, with several scenes that just takes too long and makes you want to just go to sleep. The visuals were great mind you but not out of this world and does justice in bringing to life H.G. Well’s portrayal of the aliens. Basically the movie suffers from too many bad choices and bad acting as well as an overemphasis on the main cast to make it any good to watch. Plus the ending was a bit of a letdown. Go spend your money elsewhere. My rating 2/5.


mousqy said...

i was like...
was that a Spielberg movie????-at the end of the movie....

narrowband said...

OK! I'm gonna shun the cinemas and spend my money elsewhere. It was in my must-watch list, yknow.

niki said...

Dude, 2/5 is being very generous. :)

Kervin said...

mousqy: Don't know about you but even when his war movies are able to make big impacts, his recent scifi directorships such as AI and minority report weren't up to his standards.

narrowband: I was planning to watch hitchiker's guide to the universe but Sabah decided to capitalize on batman begins, Intial D and War of the worlds instead, ho hum. Heard ticket sales for initial D here is fully booked, maybe people prefer liang chai and car instead XD

niki: Oh I'm a generous kind of guy, was contemplating of 1/5 but for the special effects was quite well executed a 2/5 is justified :D