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War of the Worlds
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Saw it last night. I'd recommend it (though not for the young ones...that's a pretty strong PG-13 rating). The family dynamics are pretty heavy-handed, but from the moment the aliens start rumbling out of the ground, the movie effectively carries you along for the next two hours, alternating between tension and action. So thankfully there's not much time to think.

[spoilers below]

The aliens apparently buried their ships here "before humans even came on the scene". 30,000 years ago? I suppose they could have launched their ships ahead of time from wherever the hell they were supposed to come from, and had them bury themselves...deep (one would think that with all that digging for oil and coal and whatnot we would have come across one, but whatever). Then I guess the actual aliens could have been on route in hibernation for the past 30 years.

The movie really doesn't care much about plausibility, though, at least in terms of SF elements. It cares about creating the maximum possible effect, of terror and hysteria. And it succeeds on those levels. The tripods are pretty damned scary. When the humans turn on each other, that's pretty scary too.

I wouldn't necessarily have wanted more explanation...I think it's very well done from the point of view of a dock worker, and any scientists or government officials on screen would have been cheesy.

What I was disappointed in was the ending. It's essentially unchanged from Wells' original. The microbes get 'em. Which is pretty lame, not just from a plausibility aspect (if you're gonna scout out a planet, wouldn't that be a good thing to check? Ah, maybe they couldn't)...but the big problem with it is that it's a classic deus ex machina. The humans don't do anything to resolve the conflict. It's resolved by sheer luck.

It's like a safe falling from nowhere and onto the bad guy's head at the end of the movie.

I was wondering if they were going to do something clever as a modern update, but it was a faithful rendering of the original story, which just happened to fall pretty flat.

Still, the two hours leading up to it were filled with enough thrills to make it worth seeing.

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