Ever since I read H. G. Wells’s short story “The Land Ironclads” (1903) I was fascinated by this author’s visions (Ironclad blueprint). We all have seen “The Time Machine” and many have read it, too and the same holds true for “War of the Worlds“. So why make another movie out of it? Money? The chance to annoy viewers with the most irritating girl screamer of the century? Now, this is a nasty thing to write about this poor girl Dakota Fanning but honestly, Mr. Spielberg, why would you want to do that? It makes the movie unwatchable, no I am not exaggerating. Now, Mr. Spielberg might not have noticed this but these screams do cause serious brain damage (and could have been used in “Mars Attacks!” as a replacement for the “jodling”) – OK, so this is exaggerated – but let me assure you, it simply annoyed the hell out of any audience I so far questioned and as such spoils the whole fun of watching an otherwise not too shabby popcorn movie. Did I say “popcorn”? Yes.
Unfortunately, we also face the dilemma of seeing Tom Cruise as Ray Ferrier in his full glory of trying to look devastated and all he manages is to convince us that he has no clue how to play his scenes, esp. with all the hair pulling going on. Tom, maybe you should go see Oprah once more and jump up and down that sofa for us a bit?
This sounds pretty bad so far, doesn’t it? Yet, an H. G. Wells story is really hard to fuck up but with enough persistence even the best of directors will manage and eventually ruin an otherwise perfect plot. Is that so in “War of the Worlds”? No, it is pretty close to the original story; the aliens were killed by bacteria after all. I admit it’s not as screen effective as using red glowing blasters to melt them into sizzling goo, but hey, consider the ingenuity of the whole thing. Our last line of defense from an alien invasion is microscopic in scale.
Sadly, the main protagonist is miscast, the daughter of the main protagonist is a screamer and the son is just as annoying and since these three characters have most of the screen time, this picture is unfortunately doomed as were the Martians, esp. since we are not immune to such annoyances.