Sunday, July 03, 2005

War of the Worlds

Good old Steven Spielberg, the wonderbread of directors. Tasty, universal, and you know exactly what to expect. To some his latest summer tentpole is a marked departure from past works with an almost unrelenting bleakness of tone. However the usual weakness' that are often present are represented here in full force. Spielberg's 'father issues' make another round. He seems incapable of featuring a father who is not a total ass. I suppose he thinks that makes the character arc better, but honestly it just seems repetitious. Also, that sappy Spielberg ending is in effect. While the basic ending was preordained by the book, lets just say a certain individual who should have died did not. It felt artificial to say the least. However do not this criticism totally dissuade you. By and large it was a very good film. The aliens are spectacular, the story compelling, the sense of dread and disaster is omnipresent. This is an alien invasion that feels real. Unlike past films (ID4), this is not about spectacle. This is about the human experience in a time of annihilation. While we don't see the White House destroyed, the tripods make an excellent showing of themselves. A sequence surrounding a ferry boat that was hinted at in the trailers is amazing. The special effects look great, and the tension is thick. So take the good with the bad and go see what is certainly Spielberg's best film since Saving Private Ryan, (which isn't saying much). B-

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