Review: War of the Worlds
Ah the destruction movie, and in this case it's aliens demolishing the planet city by city. Sounds just like Independance Day. Actually, sacrasm aside, I went into this movie with the idea that it had a great shot at being a good science fiction movie. It had a lot going for it going in, it's based on one the the most famous science fiction stories of all time written by H.G. Wells, it was directed by Steven Spielberg, and it stars Tom Cruise. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy it like I had hoped.
(Light Spoilers Ahead)
Even though Independance Day came out nine years ago in the summer of 1996, and even though War of the Worlds and Independance Day have their differences, I really feel that War of the Worlds was too similar of a movie to Idependance Day. I can really only think of one specific difference that made War of the Worlds much different than Independance Day and that is that this time around the peril and destruction came from the perspective of the civilians rather than the government. Spielberg promised us that he would modernize H.G. Wells's version written in 1898, which he did, but Roland Emmerich's Independance Day did a much better job of modernizing H.G. Wells's novel than Speilberg did - and that was nine years ago. The virus that ended up killing the Aliens in War of the Worlds was used in a more exciting modern way in Independance Day as a computer virus.
Tom Cruise didn't do much for me this time around. In reality, barring his performance in Magnolia I have never considered Cruise that great of an actor. He normally plays one of the same variations of his intense self and he is good at it, and most of time it's entertaining. This time, however, I didn't like him apreciate his performance. Maybe the fact that Tom Cruise has vilified himself in media with his strong opinions about psychiatry ruined my enjoyment of his acting before I even got a chance to see the movie, or maybe it's just that I couldn't relate with the character Cruise played. It's probably a little of both.
While War of the Worlds certainly had it's entertainment value, it really started to lose some steam about half way through. I was really hoping that the movie would get more interesting, but after the initial destruction sequence the movie quickly lost its allure. The climax of the movie was much less thrilling than it should have been considering how the movie started. The movie began with a bang and ended with a crackle.
It seems that I am one of the few that didn't think much of this movie (here is what the critics said at Metactritic), so others might enjoy it better than me. In as much as I was dissapointed by the movie, it wasn't terrible and was at least entertaining enough that three quarters of the way through I still had high hopes for it, but as far as I am concerned Independance Day is a much better movie about the same thing.