February 23, 2008

War Of The Worlds (July 05 2005)

The latest apocalyptic alien invasion movie to hit hollywood. This is actually only the second time HG Wells novel has been oficially adapted for the screen. (The first time was in the 1950s)It just feels like the 20th. The aliens out to conquer the earth thing has been done so many times that for me the idea really needs to be allowed to rest for a couple of decades or so.
Apart from the wellworn premise however, the execution here simply didnt grab me. It is an essentially silly movie with a ludicrous alien invasion plan.... Tripod killer vehicles are buried under the earth for thouands of years until the aliens decide to invade... then little alien pilots are inserted to steer them via lightning bolts. The alien tripods run amok causing lots of havoc and destruction. It seems a VERY inelegant invasion method for such presumably advanced aliens.. I think part of the problem is that Spielberg has kept the most dated elements of the original war of the world story but updated the setting. By transposing the story from its original turn-of-the-century setting into the modern day he has highlighted that datedness still further, regardless of heavy heanded september 11 alegories.
A final problem for me is the lack of fun. Silly material is no obstacle to a great movie... Speilbergs own Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park are wondeful in this respect... But here the silliness is handled with such gravitas and sobriety that the whole thing becomes dull.

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