03 July 2005

narrative and wotw

we finished our midsummer blockbusterfest by seeing war of the worlds yesterday. and rediscovered, of course, how Spielberg really just should have stopped after Raiders. really. as I have not read or heard wotw in Wells' original, I do not know where the narrative holes come from, but origins aren't my issue here. the inability to tell a story is.

Spoiler alert: do not read if you haven't seen the film yet!

  • the lightning takes out all electrical machines and yet guy on street can film the attack with a camcorder, allowing spielberg to do the meta film of the filming shot through its viewfinder

  • why didn't the aliens take over the world when they initially buried the killing machines? why wait until humans had evolved into folks with armies?

  • microorganisms: haven't aliens heard of bacteria?

  • aliens painstakingly check the basement of a remote farm and yet somehow the rich folks in the brownstone in Boston are unscathed, and it seems that their top concern might be that the brie got a little warm, what with the fridge not working...

  • if the goal is extermination, why do it one by one?

  • first the son wants to fight (patriotism, revenge) then he just wants to see: I gotta see this! (voyeurism)

  • the son lives???? what?????

  • and couldn't they have given him a shower or something in their unscathed brownstone? or did he just arrive 15 minutes before Tom and the kid?

  • what's the blood for anyway? just the gross-out factor? sheesh

merely problematic
  • Tom Cruise knows more about cars than the mechanic down the street

  • Tom Cruise is the only one who figured out how to fix a car in the entire northeastern seaboard

  • don't they have to stop for gas?

  • as the world falls apart, and your kid has just seen dead bodies floating down the river you still attempt to cover your kid's eyes??

  • why kill Tim Robbins' character? okay, moral quandry, but it turned out to be completely unnecessary

  • morgan freeman. say no more.

finally, could they time the "I gotta pee dad" moment more perfectly? and set it next to a rushing river? yikes.


Kate said...
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Kate said...

Don't forget about the non-trivial aspect of WALKING from New York to Boston...did it seem to anyone else that they got there way too fast? And why didn't they ever get hungry?

I also appreciated the "Tom Cruise's family is enshrouded in a cloaking device" phenomenon which enabled many, many implausible escapes.

The late introduction of the red stuff probably bothered me the most - it's as though 2/3 of the way through writing the script, David Koepp (and I have to blame him, he was responsible for Lost World, I'm sure most of the problems here were his fault) realized that he was dealing with the most inefficient killing machines ever (one at a time? on a planet of 6 billion?) and decided to weave in this "the aliens need to harvest us, and they figured that out just in time to kidnap, instead of laser in half, Dakota Fanning" aspect. Also it coming down to Midichlorians really didn't do much for me, even if that was how the original conveniently wrapped up as well.

That said, there were elements of this movie I actually liked (see my post today) which set me apart from the rest of the people I went with.