Saturday, January 23, 2010

War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds; Science-fiction, USA, 2005; D: Steven Spielberg, S: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins, Justin Chatwin, Miranda Otto

New Jersey. Ray is an ordinary worker who isn't in best relations with his little daughter Rachel and grown up son Robbie ever since his divorce. But one day aliens suddenly attack and start destroying everything around them. Ray, Rachel and Robbie manage to get to their car and escape from the town before its destruction and hide in the nature. Robbie joins the army to fight against the aliens while Ray and Rachel hide in the basement of a house of a stranger. Luckily, though, the aliens get infected by a virus and die, which saves the human kind.

After excellent Sci-fi thriller "Minority Report", Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise collaborated a second time and made a weaker film, "War of the Worlds", which was moderately praised by critics, but still proclaimed as an inferior remake to the '53 movie adaptation, and especially inferior compared to the brilliant original novel by H.G. Wells. It's interesting to note that during the entire time of the story it is never revealed what is the reason for the alien invasion: their destruction is shown more like a natural disaster without a cause and in one scene Rachel asks Ray: "Are we attacked by terrorists?", by which some interpreted the plot as an ironic commentary to the US invasion of Iraq, showing how it would look like if the tables were switched. Still, despite a few brilliant scenes (Ray tells Rachel that she has to remain in his sight when she runs away in the woods to urinate; floating corpses on the river; explosion of the bridge seen in the car mirror), the film seems too short, inert, ordinary and not that intense as it could have been, whereas many naive but genius ideas from the novel were lost in the 21st Century adaptation of it, especially in the rather ill-conceived design of the tripod machines.


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