DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Film Review: War of the Worlds

"we are no longer masters of our planet"

War of the Worlds (12a)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Run for your lives… Big mean metallic alien killing machines are coming this way – in fact they’ve already been sighted in Luton!! Actually – if you haven’t already left you may as well forget about running – you’ll just die tired. These aliens are seriously tooled up, their massive war tripods have evil destruction beams that disintegrate you on contact, plus they have tentacles, which grab people and sling them into their holding pens. If you’re unlucky enough to be caught, there are seriously unpleasant things on the way in your future (unless the thought of having your insides forcefully sucked out appeals?).
All in all it’s looking pretty bleak for us humans and to make matters worse; the firepower of our entire armed forces has so far failed to even scratch the invaders. Where’s Will Smith when you need him eh?
But War of the Worlds is not about plucky human wisecracking heroes rising to the challenge and kicking alien butt. This is a bleak, terrifying survival tale set against the backdrop of $200million dollars of premium alien onslaught. Director Spielberg is on top form – where a lesser director might have been so enraptured with the awesome alien battle machines that he’d pack loving close ups of them into every shot – here we get to see just enough to instill their very real threat, yet not so much that they lose their mystique. War of the Worlds is at heart a very ‘human’ story, which asks the question – what would you do to survive?
Tom Cruise delivers one of his best ever roles as Ray Ferrier, a father who’s managed to alienate his family (cute daughter Dakota Fanning who turns in a stellar ‘wide eyed terrified’ performance, and Justin Chatwin who epitomises teenage slacker rebellion). Ferrier is a bad dad, selfish obsessed and juvenile but when faced with having to try and protect his children from the unstoppable threat of the unfriendly ETs – we get to see him find some kind of resolve and redemption that can give us all hope.
The action is nerve shredding in the way that makes you shout out loud at the screen – there are some spectacular shots you’ll never forget – highway bridges torn apart, ferries tipped over and battalions of alien tripods systematically exterminating people, to name but a few. War of the Worlds is so much more than just another summer blockbuster – it’s a classic retelling of a classic tale – run, don’t walk to the nearest cinema and check it out for yourself!

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (essential viewing)

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