As you can guess from the subject, I saw Spielburg’s latest venture with media darling and scientologist Tom Cruise, so here’s my quickie review:
The special effects are amazing, I have never truely seen giant robots look that realistic and lifelike on the big screen. If the rumoured Evangelion movie looks like that (and I can’t shake the feeling that EVA did influence the way the tripods are presented, although I can’t say exactly why…) then I am going to be one happy camper. Visually, the movie is top knotch, if a little cold and distant…actually, a lot cold and distant.
Which brings me to the bad stuff!
First off, Chad was soooo right! Every selfless act in the movie is committed by a black guy, and every selfish and horrible act is committed by a white guy while other ethncities stand around and watch. The most stunning example of this comes near the end when a black soldier goes out of his way to help Cruise’s character and all I could think of was…So why didn’t you help the guy who the aliens mulched BEFORE Cruise? Or the guy before that? What made you suddenly become a hero when it became Cruise’s turn? (One could argue that Cruise had a daughter with him, but I’m not sure that’s a plus…as I’ll comment on below…)
Second, Cruise and his two kids are the most unlikable trio I have seen in movies in a long long time, not only is their “acting” boring, bad and lifeless, but the characters are just honestly not interesting or likeable in any way. Cruise’s character is a selfish, willful and quite stupid man who is perfectly willing to sacrfice anything and anyone to make sure he and his kids survive. (You know the scene in the previews where Cruise is waving his hands and yelling to army troops “There’s nobody alive in that direction!” As though he’s trying to save them? When you see the full version you’ll see he’s yelling that to his son who wants to join the troops and is slightly off camera. Screw the troops, he doesn’t care that they’re going off to their deaths!) The son is just boring and sulks through the whole movie in his attempt to “get back at his father for abandoning him” (divorce) as though they’re off on a road trip and that’s important right now! And the daughter…well…let me tell you Dakota Fanning can scream, I know this because even Connie (who is a big Dakota fan) was wishing little Dakota would just shut up 2/3rds of the way through this movie. (I was wishing that the aliens would vape her long before that.) She literally spends the whole movie doing nothing but screaming or staring at the camera with her big blue eyes…I hope they didn’t pay her to act, cause she wasn’t doing it!
Lastly, despite the need to stick with the original ending of the story (all here should know what I’m talking about, and I won’t spoil it if you don’t), they STILL have to change it so that both Cruise and American Soldiers (America referenced in the movie as “the greatest power mankind has ever known”) kick some alien butt before they go down. (Well, the soldiers just beat on dead aliens…way to go guys!) Unlike the George Pal 1950’s version, there is no sense of building to a climax or dramatic menace, just the aliens up and…stop when they run out of special effects money or something…I don’t know…I hear I’m not the only one unimpressed by the ending.
So, to sum up, looks great, but is basically politicaly correct flag waving nonsense with really bad characters and mediocre writing. The George Pal 1950’s version still kicks it’s butt where it counts, despite the 50’s acting and changes they made to the story.