From Forum With No Name:
DJ Joe: War of The Worlds -This new version does a great job of conveying the menace of the aliens.It was neat to watch an invasion story from the ground- no war rooms,no cutaways to news coverage- just a man and his family adjusting to an everchanging reality.I admit I am not bothered by Tom Cruise the way others are- but I am not impressed at all by Dakota Fanning- maybe it was the spoiled brat who was always screaming at the worst times in this movie- but nothing I have seen her in that seems all that special.I enjoyed this movie - it had several surprising reveals - some of them up there with the door opening in the Wizard of Oz.This is a special effects movie and they are boffo- but it is also a suspense thriller- you never know when the aliens will make an appearance and what they will do - nor can you predict what other paniced humans will do or how they will react. A-
Spielberg's War of the Worlds has nothing on the kind of chill Welles' radio version can inspire.
Fact, it caused a nationwide panic.
But that wasn't due to the story itself. Welles cheated with his framing device. That was essentially Welles's stroke of genius. Spielberg (or “his Mexican non-union equivalent, Senor Spielbergo}) could concoct this elaborate pretense that he has made another socially uplifting opus nonpareil, a TV movie, and just as it starts, when all America is sitting down to have their sensibilities flossed and burnished, there would be an interruption, and CNN, Fox, etc. (it would have to be all of them) would interrupt with a fake "news flash", with documentary footage, and to top it off cast members would tramp through your garden, aliens would burst through your windows, etc., and this would be happening all over. Now, that would be some gag. Cinema and the Cosmic--together again. The pretense that there is a difference between reality and metaphysics would be smashed forever, finally and irrevocably. We could all just happily roll over, tongues lolling, droll dripping moronically, and let the Huns stick a fork in us, because we would be done.
[Homer hugging his TV]: “Let’s never argue again.”
Wells did take advantage of the moment.
But beyond the gimmick, it's a great piece of storytelling--ever heard it, ted? The (SPOILERS) first encounter of the Martians ('we areexperiencing technical difficulties), the fall of New York ('Is there anyone out there? Is there...anyone?'), the encounter with some idealist in a basement (I think Spielberg lifted his Tim Robbins character from the same basement)--I can't think of a better version.
Spielbeg's has too much heroism on the part of Cruise and betrays Wells' premise by having the Martians rise up from underneath, instead of crashing in from the sky (if they've already been here thousands of years, why don't they know about our bacteria?).
ted fontenot: I've heard parts of Welles's broadcast. I've never read the book.
The book doesn't have the immediacy of Welles' broadcast, although it has plenty of memorable moments all its own."Spielbeg's has too much heroism on the part of Cruise and betrays Wells' premise by having the Martians rise up from underneath, instead of crashing in from the sky"
DJ Joe: Well that is to be expected - the hOllywood beancounters figured they needed a big name to open the movie- I honestly think the movie could have done just as well or better without Fakota Danning and Tom Cruise-but it is not my investment or whatever
in the extra features they decided that the capsules where in the ground cuz it would be creepier thinking that this alien presence had always been here just waiting to attack
and while Cruise had some minor heroic things - most of the movie he was cowering/crying or just trying to hold it together
"they decided that the capsules where in the ground cuz it would be creepier thinking that this alien presence had always been here just waiting to attack"
Creepier? Eh, not really. Plus a big plot loophole. Never do to 'improve on' Wells.
And Cruise looks constipated either acting angry or acting scared. Has all the range of a toaster oven. No insult meant to toaster ovens.
You only have to look at Tim Robbins to see who could have been the better lead.