A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

War of the Worlds (2005)

February 27, 2011

War of the Worlds (2005)

I can’t remember why I bought this movie. I mean, it’s not a good movie. I never thought it was going to be a good movie. But I’m a sucker for a big budget sci-fi movie directed by Stephen Spielberg. What amazed me, when I put this in my DVD player to watch it one afternoon, is how much I actually ended up enjoying the movie. It’s got plot holes big enough for an alien tripod to walk through and it is so blatantly and stupidly manipulative that I know I should feel insulted just watching it, but in spite of that it is unbelievably fun to watch. At least I found it to be so.

Tom Cruise plays a jerk. This is something that would have shocked me in the days before Magnolia, but now I realise that it’s something he’s actually good at. His character’s name is Ray Ferrier and Spielberg goes to great pains to show us that he’s a regular working slob. As the movie starts his disapproving wife is dropping off his children with him for a weekend. His son clearly hates him for his negligence and his daughter knows he’s doing his best but she also knows he’s a complete fuck up. He’s a guy whose life has gone completely to shit and he knows it. If it were just a movie about him and his shitty life it would quickly become unbearable to watch – but luckily some aliens soon show up and start blowing stuff up.

I don’t think I’m supposed to, but I root for the aliens in this movie. It’s easy to do – they’re unstoppable killing machines that destroy everything in their path. Truth be told there is pretty much nothing redeemable about the people in this movie. Sure the two kids Robbie and Rachel are innocents just caught up in an apocalypse, and I suppose Ray is an okay guy at heart who just wants his kids to respect him, but in general the people in this movie, once the panic sets in, are unappealing desperate monsters. And oh, the screaming. So much screaming.

As we follow this trio of survivors through their series of narrow escapes and watch the chaos unleashed by the alien invasion I begin to feel that the world would be a better place if all of humanity were wiped out. The aliens are a natural disaster before which nothing can stand. Well, nothing except for the aliens’ collective stupidity and lack of research regarding Terran viruses.

Let’s pause for a bit here and talk plot holes. There are vast portions of this movie that make no sense. Such as the notion that the tripods have been buried under the earth since before we built our cities there, waiting for the right time to beam the pilots down and start exterminating us. In the scene where the first tripod bursts up and starts killing people a couple of police men argue about what could be under the ground there causing all this disturbance. Could it be a subway? A broken water main? Which brings up the question – how did these buried alien vehicles (which appear to be just a few meters under the ground) never get discovered by workers digging subway tunnels or laying out water pipes? Then, later in the movie when a crazed mob tries to take Ray’s car from him and he pulls out a gun Amanda was flabbergasted that apparently almost nobody else in this huge mob had a gun. Blame the Democrats I suppose.

I wish I could explain why I enjoy this movie. It’s a guilty pleasure. If you read Amanda’s review you’ll see that very clearly that in this case our opinions diverge. I can’t deny that this is a stupid movie about horrific things happening to irritating people. Maybe it’s just Spielberg’s adept manipulation at work, but I get into this movie. There’s a kind of thrill I get when I hear that airhorn/didgerydoo that signals impending destruction. I love those deadly, unstoppable, three-limbed, rock stupid aliens.

February 27, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , ,

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