Sunday, 3 August 2014

The War of the Worlds (2005)

"Trees are funny!"

I have a rule. Never do I blog a sequel before it's predecessor and never do I blog a remake- if I blog remakes at all; I have a big prejudice against them- before the original. Never mind the obvious stylistic nods to the 1953 George Pal film; this is at heart another version of the original novel. Indeed, we open and with Morgan Freeman speaking H.G. Wells' words, and the ending, from a time when Natural Selection was a relatively new thing, is retained in this updated film, set in modern America.

Steven Spielberg and War of the Worlds was always going to be a neat fit, and the film certainly looks great. Sadly, it stars Tom Cruise, but it's nice to see a suitably weird performance from a young Dakota  Fanning, one of my wife's favourite performers. 

The opening section, introducing Sal, his kids Robbie (studying French colonialism in Algeria, appropriately as the original novel was based on the idea of the British Empire feeling what it was like to be colonised) and young Rachel, goes on too long with the stuff about custody of the kids, something which could have been established much more economically; we want Martians!

The spectacle never ceases to amazed but, sadly, there's a reason why Tom Cruise was a has-been by 2005. Everything looks fantastic and there are some nice touches- the Martians ride the lightning to their machines- and the family themes sentiment is even, by Spielberg standards, not overdone. This is a good film, but could have been great with a different star.

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