War Of The Worlds. The big budget, Hollywood version featuring two
heavyweight players: Steven Speilberg in the director’s chair and Tom
Cruise in the lead role. A translation of a literary classic.
What the hell went wrong?
The movie starts out excellently, quickly establishing the main
characters. Cruise plays Ray Ferrier, a regular fella who’s looking
after his estranged children for the weekend. And no sooner has the
ex-wife gone out the door, but the wee lad steals Ray’s car and things
start to go downhill for humanity from there….
The special effects are outstanding as the alien antagonists start
to emerge and ruthlessly annihilate humans left, right and center. By
the time Cruise had got himself to safety, I found myself letting out a
sign of relief!
And the movie continues in that vein as Cruise and his estranged
children attempt to outrun the extraterrestrial attackers while
developing poignantbonds along the way. Until the boy decides to
confront the big alien death machines. Causes conflict in Cruise as he
has to choose between children, eventually abandoning the boy, who goes
No complaints so far, until Cruise and wee daughter end up in a
basement with a deranged dude. Suddenly, the whole movie turns boring.
The tension is still there, but this part lasts way too long.
Eventually Cruise slips off with their freaky host and stoves the man’s
head in with a shovel. Well, you would too if aliens were vaporizing
your neightbours and you were stuck in a basement with a lunatic…..
No sooner has the Tomster put the loony in a shallow grave, but the
aliens start coughing and spluttering. Guess what? They can’t survive
in our environment! Ha ha, forgot to do your research before the big
invasion, did you E.T.?
How likely is that? Damned aliens have been observing the planet for
thousands of years and when they decide to invade they conveniently
‘forget’ to pack their allergy tablets? Plonkers.
What it looks like (not just to me – I’ve asked around) is that the
basement scene drove most of the test audience to suicide and Speilberg
decided to wrap things up pretty quickly afterwards. Whatever, the
movie ends abruptly after the basement. Aliens drop dead in the
streets, Cruise and daughter find the mother (and new husband, and new
in-laws) alive and well in the middle of a city. Didn’t the aliens start the annihilation in the cities? Not the safest place to be hiding out then?
Oh, and even better – the teenage son has mysteriously survived and managed to beat Cruise
back to the family home. And Cruise immediately welcomes him back with
open arms. No “How the f**k did you survive the bad aliens and then
race across country ahead of us?”. No signs of remorse for killing the
dude in the basement. And what about the ex-wife – are the doors open
for a reunion? Do you care?
At the end of the day, War Of The Worlds is a great action/sci-fi
movie. I was genuinely disturbed by the alien invasion scenes, up until
the basement hell. The ending is abrupt, poorly executed and leaves a
ton of questions unanswered. I can only assume the Director’s Cut will
have a ton of extra material to fill in the blanks…
Phew! Got this far without a single comparison to Independence Day…