War of the Worlds

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I managed to catch War of the Worlds on Sunday, and while it didn't exceed my expectations, it did meet them. I'm not a huge fan of Mr. Cruise, and this film only solidifies that opinion.

Let's start right off the bat with the visual effects. Amazing. To say the least, some of the most well done invisible compositing in a long time. Lots of dust and debris compositing, combined with digital stunt doubles and digital machinery truly evoke a sense of panic several times in the movie. As the crowd melees away from the first tripod, you definitely feel trapped in their situation, and it's an awesome feeling, however dreadful it may be. I haven't been truly impressed with the level of an invisible effect like the minivan shot in a long time. The last time was during Contact, when young Ellie (Jodie Foster) runs up the steps to the medicine cabinet. In WotW, Cruise and family are in a minivan, and while they are talking, the camera does and long and deliberate 360 degrees around the minivan, sometimes coming into the vehicle as it speeds along. It's a great shot, and kudos to the team that accomplished that! I would love to see those breakdowns.

The mechanical tripods are done very well, however the people eating anus brought imagery from Evolution to mind, and I could have done without that specific sequence. Like I wrote above, the heat rays were excellent, and I think that the sound effects team did a great job of bringing the horror of being evaporated into reality, if there could be such a reality.

The actors got the job done, and Tom Cruise as the derelict, inept father figure works well. I'm impressed with Dakota Fanning, and I have a feeling she'll be a great actress in the future, as long as she doesn't burn out! Her and Haley Joel Osment are definitely the child actors of our time that will turn out to be great. Tim Robbins does a great job with his portrayal of Harlan Ogilvy, even though it's a small sequence in the film.

All in all, I'd give this movie an 8 out of 10. Some great visuals, and a decent story (even if it's a century old). This is something the film reminded me of; if you have shields on your mechanical ships, you can survive anything.

What did you think?

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