Point/Counterpoint: The War of The Worlds
Conflicting Reviews by Jon Minners and Justine Manzano
By Jon Minners
War of the Worlds was a big letdown to me. My cohort will tell you it was a great movie, but I feel she may have fallen for the magic and trickery of special effects. Yes, this movie looks good and the action scenes were phenomenal. I even liked Tom Cruise in his role as a father who learns to love the role of being a father. I especially loved some of the intense scenes, like those played out in the underground bunker with Tim Robbins. However, there were other scenes that tried to mock my intelligence and put a damper on what could have been a great film.
I didn’t like how all the car engines got fried during the first EMP (electromagnetic pulse) explosion, but when Cruise’s character gets one of those engines fixed, it doesn’t fry during the second and what was made to be a much worse explosion that knocked an airplane out of the sky. Damn, those mechanics are good. They knew how to prevent future alien attacks on engines without even knowing what caused them.
Also, just how did Cruise’s son survive that mega explosion that seemed so overwhelming to everyone else, especially when he didn’t have any military experience to realize what to do in that kind of situation? And for that matter, how did he end up home with his mother at the end of the film and that home appears untouched by the attacks? And why did his mother and family appear to be chilling at home the entire time as if nothing happened?
Finally, the old ending doesn’t fly with me. SPOILER ALERT!!! They died because of our germs. They couldn’t live in our environment. Are you kidding me? They lived in our environment first. That was how they left behind ships with plans for the future invasion. But if you wanted to say they died from our germs, why did they just have to die? Why couldn’t they have caught one from when Cruise blows up one of the ships, have an alien die from exposure to our germs and have us blow up the rest with biological weapons? That would be more fitting for today.
About the only consistently good about this film was the soundtrack featuring original music by John Williams and released by Decca Records. Williams is an absolute master of evoking the feeling of the characters through sound. Having received 43 Oscar nominations, including five he won, 18 Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, four Emmy Awards and six awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Williams was more than capable of pulling off the task.
Williams has composed for Jaws, Superman, E.T. and Indiana Jones, but more fittingly, he also did the score to the Star Wars saga and composed the music for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The list of movies he has worked on seems endless, but they are all classics that achieved so much, because the music helped make the film. Music makes a movie. I saw the Japanese version of The Grudge and without those intense sounds, the film suffered in comparison to its American counterpart. Music makes a big difference and Williams does a fantastic job of allowing the listener to feel the same desperation viewers felt watching the film. You can feel the intensity without having to look at the screen, yet there is hope in his music, hope that humans will succeed against their newfound enemies. The soundtrack perfectly captures all the emotion of the film making it a thrill ride all onto itself and making it the best, most consistent aspect of War of the Worlds. At least the soundtrack is worth the money.