Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Josh Friedman & David Koep
Based On The Novel By: H.G. Wells
Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski
Editor: Michael Kahn
Cast: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins, Justin Chatwin, Miranda Otto, Yul Vazquez, Rick Gonzalez, Lisa Ann Walter, Lenny Venito, David Alan Basche
An updated version of H.G Wells’ seminal sci-fi classic about an alien invasion threatening the future of humanity. The catastrophic nightmare is depicted through the eyes of one American family fighting for survival.
This film is not great it’s barely good if you can work your way around it, you can maybe call it entertaining.
The few things I liked about this movie were this instead of a big-budget earth vs aliens action epic it more showed how an alien invasion affected a family in a small neighborhood. Not some paramilitary character doing on stop stunts and slaughtering aliens along the way
The action that there is, is spectacular action sequences and the scenes we do get are amazing and it astonishes the audience with the volume of people involved in those scenes all the stunts and coordination is such an undertaking that one must give director Steven Spielberg respect. He is a gifted filmmaker and this truly shows where his talents lie and can be beautiful, but then again here come the problems.
The film Goes on for too long. There are the usual with Mr. Spielberg three places where the film could have ended. One of the few admirable elements is that we learn what is going on and the fate of the world through stories of various survivors and the few glimpses of the media.
The film doesn’t make the main character played by Tom Cruise too much of a hero either. He’s a lazy dead beat dad. Who just wants to survive and protect his family. He makes some right decisions and makes many wrongs. The only thing he seems to be sure of is that he wants to return the kids to their mother. One must give credit to Tom Cruise who usually plays not only macho bit with few flaws. Finally, play someone who is nowhere near perfect. Is certainly a stretch for his ego.
As his character’s plan is as usual to take little responsibility and put the kid’s welfare more in the mother’s hands. As he isn’t doing it out of love for her. This is also the film where it seems to have all started going down for him box office and maybe even personally. The box office this was his last bonafide hit outside of a franchise.
The film has no true villains some people do bad things out of a need for survival they weren’t despicable Before. Especially when Tim Robbins comes into the picture who seemed to be reprised by his role from MYSTIC RIVER that he won an Oscar for the year before or at least keeping the accent. Only here more annoying. A favorite moment in the film is what ends up happening to him. I felt like cheering even though it is an emotionally conflicted moment for Tom.
The narration by Morgan Freeman was a bit much. Was there a two for one sale on narrations with this and MARCH OF THE PENGUINS. It was unnecessary.
What truly is disappointing is the tacked-on implausible happy ending. How did his son live when that hill he was on was annihilated Tom let his son go why because he asked politely? When he has yelled at him throughout the film. Was he knowingly sending him to his death? Letting him be a man and accept his own fate?
One has an idea while watching this film that could have made this film better or at least a little more original and different than most of those alien invasion films.
Like, kill off Tom Cruise and his son. Preferably at the turning of the ferry or kill just tom (killing off the star? What is the audience to do? We then follow either his son and daughter as they figure out how to survive this and get reunited with mom at the End or have Tom sacrifice himself or just killed when he and his daughter are abducted by the aliens and continue the film after that as we watch the aliens start to die off and the reactions of the survivors. That might have been a more powerful ending that offers surprises.
As the aliens die down then at the end we see the mother praying the kids are alive and come back to her and there is a knock on the door and Dakota fanning comes running in crying straight into her mother’s arms. As the mother is about to leave to go into town to see if anyone has seen the kids. she runs into Dakota who has been harbored by some other survivors. The end.
So that it is just a story of victims and survival not necessarily heroic. Instead of the action hero ending, we get where Tom does it all and completes his mission and promise.
The only reason To let the child survive in this ending is because Dakota Fanning gives the only good to believable performance in the film. Even with all my complaining there truly is nothing wrong with the film and only one person who could have made a film with this vision of modern look yet classic feel.
Don’t let the poster art fool you nor the trailer which makes it look like a good film, as it is misleading