Friday, July 01, 2005

War of the Worlds

Yesterday my former housemates Adam and Laura and her boyfriend A.J. ("The Hobbit" - sorry, Mr. Frodo - erm... A.J. - couldn't resist! Love you really!) and I went to see War of the Worlds. This was also Ads and my second attempt to get into a theatre since Wednesday. We tried the day before, not realising it must have been Orange Wednesday, and had to give up when we realised the queue actually went almost into the car park. It was quite amusing. We walked past that queue who gave us blank, confused "Where the hell do you think you're going" stares, simply because we couldn't fathom that the queue really was that long. When we turned around, giggling about this, a lot of other people repeated, quite obliviously, our mistake.

Anyways, we tried again on Thursday, early afternoon, and like about any remake, especially when it features Tom Cruise or any latest flavour of the month, I was suspicious.
But War of the Worlds completely rehabilitated itself.
This film is utterly amazing! I was torn between sitting on the edge of my seat and crouching into it whilst hiding behind my hands.

The special effects were excellent without being too artificial. Fair enough, the aliens look a bit like they are recycled from Independence Day, and that is perhaps the film's only weakness.

There were some amusing references to the current paranoia situation in the US, which translated the story quite well into the contemporary setting. In addition to that, there were - similar to the remake of The Time Machine - references to the old film, which I loved. But I guess the thing I loved the most was that you could see how blatantly War of the Worlds set standards for all the sci fi films to come. For instance, I never had any idea that John Christopher's The Tripods are based on War of the Worlds. They must be, because it is sooooo obvious.

Tom Cruise : It is no secret that I despise Tom Cruise. I dunno why, I just have this great aversion to him, probably for the same reason I dislike Leo DiCaprio. Heart throbs piss me off. But admittedly, Tom Cruise did well in this one - even though it galls me to think that the money he gets for this will probably to a large part fund Scientology.
(Ironically, I love Keanu Reeves, and that poor sod can't act for shit).

Dakota Fanning: I may become a reluctant convert here. About a year ago or so, I saw her on the Jay Leno show (I think), and thought she was the most annoying, smartassy little cow. Such a product, you know?
But the thing is, she can act. She can act well enough, and is successful enough, to become the next Drew Barrymore. The cynic in me will probably even want to predict that she may run into the same problems, like childhood-teenage alcoholism and stuff like that. She just isn't a child anymore, when you listen to her.
In this film, she is funny, smartassy (in a good way) and so intensely emotional - even though she sometimes appears a bit too old and independent for her character... she has to watch it because while she is a good actress, she sometimes borders on being too good to play a believable child.

Steven Spielberg: when it comes to aliens, he just knows his shit, what can I say?

The film as a whole is so good because it is a classic and has a great storyline, and it was a refreshing change from all the rip-offs and flat pieces Hollywood has produced in the past decade. Looking at all the remakes, it seems pretty obvious that they are running out of ideas (which is fine by me, because the old formula stuff really is beginning to get annoying), but as long as they do them well, I'm very happy with it.

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