Posted on 6/28/05 11:28 PM
War of the Worlds
As a huge fan of Steven Spielberg and of Minority Report, I found myself very excited to see War of the Worlds. Watching the film is an entertaining and interesting experience, but while Spielberg has nailed down a solid, often exceptional, directorial style when his characters are quietly hiding or loudly fighting, the familial drama seems like a requisite part of the story with a conception that seems all too easy. A divorced-dad-rekindling-his-relationship-with-his-kids storyline has become so obvious as a plot device that true depth must be achieved for such a story to be successful on a meaningful level. All the acting is good, closely watching Tom Cruise's face during a few key scenes turned out to be rather impressive, but all their loaded-with-heart actions and resolutions seem like an excuse for filmmakers with brains to make big action movies.
Of course, an excuse shouldn't be needed when the action scenes are inventive and exciting, which is expectedly where War of the Worlds finds its strong points. The effects are all wonderful, except an odd shot or two of something as surprisingly simple as birds flying. The whole movie feels rather intimate, as there isn't much cutting to incidents taking place outside of the immediate world of the characters. In terms of drama, the strength of the resonance at end of the film is proportional to how much you mind being manipulated. Otherwise, the story's resolution is thought-provoking, unexpected, and possibly a little silly. With this film, what's on screen is exactly what you'd expect; War of the Worlds is an exciting, well-directed action film that says a lot about human nature (you know, survival mode) riddled with a cancerous, ill-executed, "real meaning" of the movie subplot that ultimately just gets in the way.