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Old 12-20-2012, 03:53 AM
Past Tense

At the dawn of what could be (allegedly) the end of the world - the final PT of 2012 brings us to near extinction with an alien species who want to trash our lights in "War Of The Worlds"...

The motion picture opened on June 29th, 2005. It was made with a budget of $132,000,000 (estimated) and grossed over 234 million during its U.S. theatrical run; worldwide the it made over $591 million. The film opened number one at the box office, the following week it remained at number one (a first in my PT writings).

The feature opened against "George A. Romero's Land Of The Dead", "Mr. & Mrs. Smith", "Batman Begins", "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith" and "Herbie: Fully Loaded".

This film was released in both widescreen and full screen for the single disc edition (which is what I'm going to be talking about) and a two disc widescreen special edition. The single came with an insert; two perforated coupons - save three dollars off "Madagascar" and "The Island" on DVD. Both offers were valid from November 22nd, 2005 to January 31st, 2006. It also came with a cardboard foil slipcover which mirrored the case's wraparound (FS and WS versions).

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The film streeted on home video, November 22nd, 2005. There were two exclusives. Lets address this alphabetically...

Best Buy sold it with an exclusive book, "War Of The Worlds: The Shooting Script". Well, not so exclusive, it was available at other retailers. The difference is size, the Best Buy offer was near DVD proportions, while the regular edition is what you would expect for a softcover book. The 200 page tome included the screenplay, twenty-four pages with (color) photos and various Q&A from co-screenwriter, David Koepp; published by Newmarket Press.

The book was available to Reward Zone members who bought the single disc edition for $14.99, there were an average of sixty-four copies per store. I can not recall if the book was packed with the DVD or on a cardboard shelf, it's been seven years.

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Wal-Mart had the more substantial item, an exclusive bonus disc. It came in its own case, side packed with the movie - the full screen edition. This set had a $14.44 price tag. The bonus DVD has a run time of 20:46 minutes (both items in full screen).

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I did not buy this when it originally came out. I wouldn't own this movie (2 - Disc Limited Edition) until June of 2010. When I searched and bought from Ebay the SE and the Wal-Mart bonus.

I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of Tom Cruise. There are only two Cruise titles in my DVD library, this flick and "The Last Samurai" (2003). I am bothered by him. It took me that long to seek it out.

It was no secret that there was some conflict on set between him and director Steven Spielberg. Cruise set up a Scientology tent on site and wanted everyone to spend some time inside. This is a movie they're making, not a recruitment vehicle. I also know that Spielberg was disappointed by Cruise - his actions tainted the box office potential. Granted "War Of The Worlds" made a lot of money (as seen above), but it could've been more.

A particular memory that continues to haunt Cruise to this day. This was the movie that he went on "Oprah Winfrey Show" to promote - the infamous lunatic couch jumping moment; May 23rd, 2005. Yeah. This was also the time in which Cruise was parading his then fiancée Katie Holmes. The media was covering him and his actions instead of the film. This was repeated at each red carpet premiere around the world. It was all about TomKat. Because of these things, this became the final Spielberg production that cast Cruise.

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As I wrote, it took me this long to finally get the movie. It's a decent flick. Lots of WTF moments which made sense (the burning racing train comes to mind), I'm grateful, some planning went into the story. I rewatched it before writing this up. I still enjoy it.

I don't understand the hate for Dakota Fanning's character, Rachel Ferrier. Her actions were not annoying. She's a little kid reacting to a massacre, death all around her. What I am bothered by is her brother Robbie (Justin Chatwin). I just wanted him to die. I HATED him!

Do I need to call Lonesome Cowboy Bill to explain???

The little punk should not have survived. Yes, spoiler. It's a disservice to better people who should've made it, like the lady friend with daughter who they met at the ferry. C'mon, Robbie served no purpose other than being an asshole. If that was the goal, then good job bro.

Yes, I get it - he was angry because his dad (Cruise) didn't want kids and gave them to his mom. Sure, but right now, this moment - that's the man who's trying to keep you and your little sister alive, show some respect! It would've been a far better experience if Robbie has been written out. He drags the film. Made me want to punch him. I was glad when he took off with the army. Good. Die bastard. Die. No, he comes back at the end.

What the hell did he expect? Run with the marching army and they'll give him a gun, some ammo and a uniform? It is retard logic gearing in his noggin'? Man, this is making me mad all over again.

I did like the updated death ray from the (non-Martian) alien War Machines. The effect was scary, zap - you're dusted. The sound effects from them carry weight. You do not want to be around them, shock and awe indeed. I do agree that the ending is pretty weak. Yes, it's true to the source novel, but it felt wrong. That's it? It needed some kind of harrumph, what we got was a limp noodle.

A cool ending would've been if Ray Ferrier (Cruise) becomes the Tim Robbins' character, Harlan - a paranoid, broken man. He screws up and looses both kids, he's gone mental. The aliens still die as before. It's only at the finale does Ray realizes how much his children meant to him, but it's now far too late. That would have such a power to it. Ray is kind of a man-child, his apartment and car. Their deaths would've hit hard and made a great close - appreciate what you have, it won't last, it never does. But that would've been such a downer and doesn't equal a huge box office. Which is why I love Frank Darabont's "The Mist" (2007), that took balls.

I like this quote from Harry Knowles, proprietor of Ain't It Cool News:
Ray’s a prick, an arrogant overgrown child, he’s that guy that was the badass at High School sports - but not good enough to get a scholarship to go anywhere. I think he knocked up the High School Cheerleader (Miranda Otto) and she stuck with him... through his steel grip on his own myopic obsession with his lot in life. How fucked over he was by the weight of her and those kids. He probably blames them for not going to college, instead of his own shit grades. He doesn’t want the family car, he wants his Mustang, cuz it’s cool. His house is a single "boys with toys" residence... Engine taken apart in his kitchen, nothing in the fridge, house a total mess. He resents his kids, but I think he loves Miranda’s Mary... and feels shame for not being able to be the man she’s currently married to. A successful "well-off" emotionally grounded man that provides everything he couldn’t begin to. And it pisses him off. He feels his ex-wife judges him, his kids judge him.
Something I noticed. Manny, the mechanic was played by Lenny Venito. Not the only time he's dealt with extraterrestrials (Venito had bit parts the first two "Men In Black" films). He's currently stars on ABC's "The Neighbors". He plays the dad of a family (Weavers) who moves into a cul-de-sac inhabited by a colony of aliens. It's an decent show, pure fluff.

Also when Ray emerges from the basement of his ex's home, he see the crashed jetliner scattered on the lawn. The first thing that popped in my head: if Denzel was drunk and flying that plane, it wouldn't have crashed. *nods*

I did like the cameo at the end. In case you missed it, the grandparents in Boston were played by Ann Robinson and Gene Barry, the stars of the original, 1953 film. Nice touch.

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1. Robbie.

2. During the 1st attack a man is seen recording first contact with his camcorder. How? An electromagnetic pulse occurred that knocking off all electronics. There is a brief moment of a man using a 35mm camera taking snaps - that works. True the camcorder scene is cool looking, but is out of place, rules-wise. Seeing some people dying would've been a nice; dead from broken pacemakers.

3. When Ray and Rachel are in the Tripod harvest basket - falling from the grenade blast; the baskets are large meshed frames, cages. The basket their on falls onto an old, leafless tree. The branches would've impaled numerous survivors, that didn't happen. Everyone just walked away unharmed. How did that happen? There should've been fatalities.

4. Robbie. Yes, twice. He made the movie twice as bad as it could've been.

5. Why is Manny so calm? Didn't he hear the nearby destruction a few blocks way? He should've at least asked Ray, 'what was all that noise?' Nope.

6. I wish the War Machines had the sound effect of the ray gun as heard from the original film - it's iconic. Sci-Fans from around the world know that noise and what it means.

The movie has various flaws, but none of them so great that they ruin the feature. Robbie, man I'm looking at you, you almost killed it.

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I want to address a problem some had with the movie. We were told the War Machines were buried here years ago. The occupants rode or more accurately were transported to their vehicles by the lightening. The big question was - wouldn't we have known about the buried machines; digging the ground up for subways, sewers, plumbing and building construction? My thoughts on it is that these machines were put in place, out of phase. A state of being, just outside our existence, there and not there at the same time. A stable of Sci-Fi from such things as "Star Trek" to "H.P. Lovecraft's From Beyond". When the occupants boarded their crafts it became in sync with the universe and pushed the ground around them away, parting the earth. I thought that was clever.

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Well, kinda.

Released on DVD on April 20th, 1999 was the first pressing of "War Of The Worlds", the original film, obviously. It sold for $29.95, bare bones, minus the trailer.

As a cross promotion, Paramount Home Entertainment re-released the film as special edition on November 14th, 2005 for $19.99. I bought this on street, Wal-Mart I think.

Why am I bringing this up?

I really don't care for the new cover. It's okay, I guess, it gets the job done. The cover from the above release looks nicer and the color scheme matches the 2005 advertising.

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Just Because.

You're looking at early production artwork, the abandoned design for the Martians, the 1953 invasion. Freaky huh? Test footge from the ending was made, showcasing this critter; stop-motion animated by none other than Ray Harryhausen. It dying from our germs, taking its last gasp.

By the way, the new aliens from 2005; their faces look like monkeys. Whatever.

There you have it. If the world doesn't end tomorrow, I'll see you back here on January 3rd, 2013 - da future!

Last edited by JohnIan; 05-29-2015 at 12:03 AM..
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