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War of the Worlds

Review #22 - War of the Worlds:
(Steven Spielberg, 2005)

War of the Worlds is Spielberg's third Alien-related film and it's unanimously the weakest, that's to be expected though as ET and Close Encounters of The Third Kind are great films and staples of the Alien genre and hard to match in any department. Cruise plays a divorced husband and father to his two kids (one played by the ridiciously annyoing Daktoa Fanning), I didn't find anything wrong with his performance but it never wowed me; It's Tom Cruise on autopilot in a nutshell.

On the scale of related movies, War of the Worlds does quite well (considering the genre isn't packed full of goodness) but don't go in expecting Signs 2.0 and I mean that both in the sense of the quality and content of the film, it's not as good as Signs and it substitutes build up through suspense with big budget, all-payoff special effects and even though that's a pretty cheap way of upping the entertainment factor, it worked for me because the special effects are great to look at, everything on the post-production side is impressive. Just don't go in expecting a slow-burn like Signs, it's more along the lines of Independance Day with a darker tone.

Other than the visuals, War of the Worlds is empty and detached. The characters are made out to be sympathetic/likeable but I never felt for any of them, it's a failure to execute, they do heroic stuff but I don't like them. A certain smug aura radiates off them that prevents me from feeling sympathey for their situation. I don't know if that's a fault on the director or actors' part but the film remains just a film because of that very flaw, it never evolves into an EXPERIENCE like most good films do, just a series of moving pictures. I was surprised by the lack of a second plot in which the government is finding out the ways to defeat the Aliens, it's pretty much the 101 in Alien-invasion films. The time taken out is wasted for meaningless 20-minute scenes like Tim Robbinson as a ground dweller patoriot and the son's army talks.

War of the Worlds is a much-lesser effort from Spielberg than we're accustom too, it fails to surpass or even equal ET and Close Encounters. Overall, a lacklustre adpation of HG Wells' novel.