ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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War of the Worlds (2005)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring:
Tom Cruise/Ray
Dakota Fanning/Rachel
Tim Robbins/Ogilvy
Justin Chatwin/Robbie
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Envious aliens attack planet earth, annihilate the population and blow bridges up real good! We follow Timmy Cruise, his kids and his baseball cap as they try to survive the slaughter. TIMMMMMMMY!
THE LOWDOWN

This is not a war. This is an extermination! – Ogilvy

Having loathed “Independence Day” with a passion that only my shrink’s wife (when a “quattre pates”) fully comprehends, I was really looking forward to Spielberg’s cinematic rendition of H.G. Well's classic novel of the same name. I mean what was the last rock solid alien invasion flick of this century? Top of my head, I guess "V The Miniseries" in 1983 and that was that on that. So was my world rocked by this “Close Encounter of the F -You Kind” or what?

On some levels, this mammoth Hollywood beast gave me exactly what I was craving in terms of BLEAK SUMMER FUN! The action started swiftly and with a freaking BANG & a half! Much like the poor humans in the film, I as an audience member (and an a-hole) got sucker punched by the alien invasion kicking in so suddenly! I’m biting a delicious melted cheese covered nacho one second, next thing you know, I’m running, hiding and being afraid alongside these people… I was smack in the middle of a freaking extraterrestrial raid over here! Props to Captain Spielberg for using a sly subjective approach in terms of communicating the ride at hand. By putting me in the Tim Cruise characters’ shoes via his masterful shots, I wasn’t watching the movie, I was living it! DAMN! What a visceral rush!

The seamless and awe inspiring CG at play helped in maximizing my involvement in the insanity as well. With a budget of 128 000 million clams in its back-pack, I expected great special effects from the flick but not the grandiose displays of near perfect digital concoctions that were slapped my way! ILM has surpassed itself! Hookers, JD and beers for the lads…put it on Spielberg’s tab! The mass destruction, the stunning Tripod machines, the slick looking “alien eye”…all rich in detail…all amazingly conveyed…all REAL to me! I was signed, sealed, butchered and packaged in a wiener-pack by them! Top all that superiority with Tom Cruise being Tom Cruise but with a baseball cap, rock solid acting (Cruise and Fanning shared gripping chemistry) extreme moments of suspense, an abundance of horrific imagery (look out for that river bit…brrr), an expert use of sound (loved the noise those tripods made before firing) and a handful of seriously warped scenarios (wait till you see how they create that red moss…fun times) and you get a potent Sci-Fi injection that had me clenching my seat (and my sack) in fear.

Alas, much like that girl that lives across the hall from me, this Double Deluxe Big Mac had some dated Mayo between its buns. The sappiness between Timmy C and his son was at times a little too Hallmark inclined and tedious to sit through. Aliens are taking over dudes! How about you keep that family conflict shite for later IF you survive the ordeal! NOW IS NOT THE TIME! Furthermore, suspension of disbelief had to be applied in places while the logic behind the aliens’ intricate “offensive” plan had a couple of holes in it (or maybe I didn’t fully get it). Then we had the abrupt and far from satisfying “defeat” of the aliens falling flat on its face. Although faithful to the book, the way it was executed was BLAH to say the least. Last but definitely not least, the ending blew severe chunks! They had to go the damn Hollywood “far fetched” syrup way! They just had to! Those last “must be a happy ending or it’s not a Spielberg film” frames insulted and almost ruined the experience for me. It took me a while to digest that abysmal finale...what a crock!

War of the World took me for a horror heavy stroll down alien lane with amazing effects and impact up the wazoo and the kazoo. Sure it was contrived and played it cheap with its cap-off but there was still a lot to worship within this freaking human massacre none the less! Look mom, I’m a tripod too! ZIPPPPP!
GORE
We get disintegrating humans galore, some minor bloodshed and Cruise’s battered baseball cap.
ACTING
No matter the part, Tom Cruise (Ray) is always Tom Cruise to me and even a swell looking baseball cap couldn’t fool me out of that. With that said, Tom Cruise is very good at being Tom Cruise! He displayed genuine emotion and a stellar delivery as per usual. Good job Timmy! Dakota Fanning (Rachel) is the “it” kid actress at the moment and with good reason; she’s talented and authentic. Her and Cruise shared a compelling vibe together, they were the heart of the film. Tim Robbins (Ogilvy) showed up long enough to be capably creepy while Justin Chatwin (Robbie) sold the role via his sincere show.
T & A
Yes the big Cruise goes shirtless ladies…rejoice…REJOICE I SAY! We dudes get Cruise’s baseball cap. GREAT LOOKING CAP!
DIRECTING
It’s a statement to Spielberg’s experience and talent as a director to witness as to how he handled “his” invasion. He would smartly balance showing us and suggesting throughout. Consequence; the imagery that I put together in what’s left of my grey matter wound up being scarier than any visual effect could’ve accomplished. Furthermore, his strong handle on tension, urgency and those slick “Saving Private Ryan” shaky shots topped off all that sugary poison with class! You’ll understand why E.T.’s dad is so revered in Hollywood after this flick…the man is THAT good!
SOUNDTRACK
Maestro extraordinaire John Williams give us yet another score to fawn over. Dark, subdued…and mucho hard hitting!
BOTTOM LINE
Well acted, fairly dark, furiously engaging and filled with jaw dropping visual effects that CONVINCED me that aliens were on earth, War of the World gave me my money’s and a handful of chump change worth most of the way. It’s not everyday that you’re sucked into a movie so deeply that you actually “feel” to some degree what the characters in the film are feeling. Granted it’s a shame all that groovy-ness was spat on via a “sell out” ending and random plot holes but looking back, this harsh creation came through full blast 85 percent of the way. I personally liked the 1953 version better, and still think that Katie Holmes is too good for Timmy (now that was a left field one) but that’s my useless 3 cents. In short: SEE IT!
BULL'S EYE
Orson Welles' fisrt claim to fame was his dramatization of "War of the Worlds" which he broadcasted on the radio on Halloween 1938. It caused a nationwide panic where people though that the earth was being attacked by Martians.

Look out for a cameo by Ann Robinson who appeared in the original 1953 film The War of the Worlds (1953) and the TV series, "War of the Worlds" (1988).

Morgan Freeman narrates the film

Spielberg wanted to make the film years ago, but decided not too when Independence Day (1996) was released.

The flick has over 500+ CGI effects in it!

VISIT THE OFFICIAL WOTW SITE HERE

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