1. Thursday, June 30, 2005

    war of the worlds 

    a huge bouncy castle
    starring dakota fanning, tim robbins, and tom cruise
    directed by steven spielberg

    tom is making a fool of himself right now and maybe its because hes in love, maybe its because hes pretending like hes in love, maybe its cuz hes going through a midlife crisis due to the fact that he looks quite young for his age (56) and for the first time in his life has to play the role of a father of an alleged teenage boy who looks like hes in college.

    maybe hes making a fool of himself because he really believes that the aliens are coming down to eat us. maybe he doesnt know that its just a radio show.

    and then maybe hes not the fool, maybe we are. his fingers smell of katie holmes dont they. dont they?

    even if they dont he has one thing going for him, he knows how to get into the right movies and directed by the right directors at the right time. every single one of the movies that he has been in has been a hit except one. lets go down the list: endless love, taps, the outsiders, losin it, risky business, all the right moves, legend, top gun, the color of money, cocktail, young guns, rain man, born on the fourth of july, far and away, a few good men, the firm, interview with the vampire, mission impossible, jerry mcguire, eyes wide shut, magnolia, mi2, vanilla sky, monority report, the last samurai, collatoral, and now war of the worlds. amazing.

    especially since hes not that great of an actor and much of his popularity has been, in my opinion, due to the fact that he was in these dynamite movies that rose to their heights, in many cases, despite him, or because of other people in the film.

    he has always been stiff he has always been unlikeable and in his best films we are happy when terrible shit happens to him.

    without spoiling any part of this classic remake lets pretend that in war of the worlds the aliens are coming the aliens are coming and you know what if they get anyone i want them to get tom cruise and i bet im not alone.

    who didnt love in vanila sky when his face turned hideous? who didnt love in risky business when his porsche fell into lake michigan? who didnt love it when in jerry mcguire cuba gooding jr made him his little bitch? dance white boy, squirm, and in this movie, run.
    i love steven speilberg because he isnt afraid to put his characters into great harm, and oftentimes this means loveable characters, and in my favorite examples it means children.

    jurrasic park for many years was my favorite movie of all time because speilberg had me believe for a quick second that he was going to show one of those big ass dinosaurs eat a little kid.

    perhaps you remember the scene. a trex had pinned either the boy or the girl i forget in the explorer and the only thing between the child and the dinosaur was the cracked sunroof that was being held up by the young person as he cowered.

    part of me was all no dont eat him and part of me was all speilberg is going to establish ruthlessness by making the dinosaur eat that kid, what an amazingly brilliant evil genius.

    enter wide eyed and precosious dakota fanning who is on her way to being so incredibly annoying that she too is being saved by all these great films she finds herself in.

    the trick of a good director is to make us root for these somewhat unlikeable overly rehearsed over-actors even when the dinosaur is about to do precisely what in any other situation we want him to do: eat the rich.

    tom cruise is far from likeable in this movie and dakota is intentionally annoying and it only adds to the tension that is deliciously thick in speilbergs best film since schindlers list.

    make no mistake this is a steven speilberg scifi horror suspense war film. its masterful and creepy and not in the slightest bit tailormade for cruise. if you ask me mel gibson would have been better cast in the lead. but he muscles his way through every scene with the cruisian stiffness we’ve grown used to.

    because it really is part war film, there was an opportunity with tim robbins character that speilberg could have very easilly slid in a few lines about the nature of war, the nature of violence, and the paradox that as long as there is life there will be beings who want to bring death through war and violence, it could have given this film a human heart that it never finds in cruise, the star.

    it could have been as simple as a tag line from either cruise or robbins delivered like eastwood along the lines of “everyone wants someone to die”, but like most special effects films, dialogue takes a back seat to spectacle, which is top notch and disturbing.

    two thumbs up.

    caitlin + fil + flagrant + leah