A 5 Minute Presentation...Submitted by HurtByTheSun at 2005-07-27 15:09:43 EDT
Rating: -1.0 on 8 ratings (8 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
Today at work I had to make a 5 minute presentation about anything I wanted. Partly inspired by uber, I came up with this. In fact, the most thanks go to w_t_a_y_s_t_r_m, cheers! Next time you're in the Toon, I'll by you a pint.
Hi, I’m going to talk about why War of the Worlds is a terrible movie.
This presentation might seem rushed. It might seem poorly
researched. It also might seem ill-prepared. It might seem like little more than a rant. You might think that not a whole lot of effort has gone into it. You know what? You’d be right. Though I’ll be quick to defend my methods.
When I was first told about this assignment, I had a lot of thoughts about how to approach it. I thought ‘I’ve learned my lessons from college, all-nighters before a deadline are misery and hell on the stomach after consuming a bottle of coke and several cans of red bull to stay awake, I don’t think I can take any more unholy heart-burn. I don’t think I really want to walk into a room looking like a zombie, and feeling worse. Maybe it’ll be alright though, since everyone I know works the way I do and they recognize the same shameful signs of poor time management with an air of pity.’
I thought I was going to write it the night I was told about it and be able to practice it to give a polished, eloquent and rational presentation.
The Lord moves in mysterious ways!
I hardly think that any kind of higher power would approve of the way things have turned out with this. It’s 11:30 on Tuesday night and I’m sitting here, drinking cheap beer, smoking cigarettes, ignoring my family and forgetting what I’m doing every few minutes, being distracted by things in the background; chiefly some terrible film about Americans with dodgy accents in which I believe Usher is a star. The truth of the matter is that the beer is doing more than lubricating my thoughts. It is, in fact, quelling my anger and my over-whelming desire to curse and scream about how much I hated the recently released ‘War of the Worlds’. Were I without this beautiful oat soda, the rage I would have incorporated into these pages would have overflowed and I’d probably be punching one of you right now.
Nothing personal, by the way.
It would seem, to me anyway, that all Spielberg has done for this movie is throw a whole lot of money at a special effects company, hire a huge star (deranged midget Tom Cruise), chew over his script, throw up on it and submit vomit as a film. Before I go on, if anyone thinks Tom Cruise is right in the head, consider two things: one, he practices scientology, two, he divorced arguably one of the most beautiful women of all time and is now dating a barely pubescent little girl.
Maybe I don’t have a right to complain, since I’m not a film-maker, I’ve never had any experience? Well, it’s all opinion as far as I’m concerned and my opinion is that this movie was terrible.
Actually, scratch that, it wasn’t all abysmal. I think I’ll talk about the good points here, for they are few.
I started out, in all honesty, looking for something good to say and I’ve read some critics who’ve praised this movie. They say that’s it’s a story of a dad trying to connect with his kids. Bollocks. It’s a movie about human life and our frailty and arrogance; and ultimately the futility of war. In the current paranoid world of terrorist attacks, this movie hits home in a more than refreshing way. Not because we need aliens to bring us closer to our families, not because it repairs wounds of neglect. It hits us because we are afraid of the unknown. For a fictional story it’s considerably more powerful than Michael Moore’s alarmist ‘Bowling for Columbine’.
Visually, this movie was incredible. The tri-pods were fantastic, and the creepy wee alien blokes that emerged out of them were, uh, creepy. I wish they had been in more than one scene! Sure they featured at the end, but I hardly consider seeing an alien arm flopping around like a flaccid penis a ‘scene’. The opening ‘storm’ and the havoc it caused, seeing the sheer panic on people’s faces, and the distress as they watched their peers turned to ash was a joy.
It looked like real, abject terror. I applauded. When the planet was covered in sinewy gore, you could have been forgiven for thinking that Rob Zombie had lent a hand in the stage setting department.
In short, the first half of the movie was excellent, all they did was run away from the tripods who were intent on ruining the day. And ruin the day they did. Tom and his daughter end up in the basement of a drunk guy’s house and this is where I thought the action was really going to start. I thought ‘to hell with HG Wells! Let’s have some DIE HARD action’. What could possibly be better than all of them getting drunk and kicking the aliens in the nuts? Not much, in fact, I think I should have written the end of the movie. Maybe the whole movie.
If anyone has actually read the book, they’ll know it’s set in Britain, but what’s this? They’re running about in New England? AMERICA? That’s hardly a faithful adaptation of a classic book. In fact, there’s not much that actually was adapted from the book. Apart from the aliens. So that’s cool.
I suppose I’m being biased here, because I loved the book, the musical and the original War of the Worlds movie. It’s one of the only sci-fi stories I’ve ever truly found enjoyable. I used to be able to say the same about Star Wars, then they released episodes 1 and 2 which were a steaming pile of shit, though 3 wasn’t bad.
I’m going to have to go back a bit and say a few things about where the movie was set. I had a conversation with an American friend from school who said I was ‘racist’ for not wanting the movie set in another country. I kind of saw where she was coming from. Then I thought, no, I’m no racist, I just want to see a faithful adaptation, and she lives in LA, on one of the largest fault lines in the world so how valid is that opinion? I mean, how would an American feel if Batman were played by, say, Jackie Chan and he fought the Joker in downtown Hong Kong?
This is an adaptation that is only loosely based on the book. In fact maybe it should be just a stand-alone movie and not claim any affiliation whatsoever. What if Peter Jackson had decided to set lord of the rings in outer space? That’d be cool, but not an adaptation.
What angered me more than anything was the ending. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the movie I’ll give you a quick summary before we go on:
Tom Cruise picks up kids for the weekend from divorced wife and her new richer husband.
Son hates dad, daughter treats him like a leper.
Aliens blow stuff up.
Repeat for 30 minutes to an hour.
Son goes off because he “Has to see this!”
Tom and daughter go to drunk guy’s basement.
They run away until the aliens become allergic to our evolution and die.
Tom makes it to Boston with daughter.
His son is already there, they love each other now.
First of all, there is no way that his son would be there. It’s totally given that he got burned into something roughly the size of a postage stamp and turned into alien gore.
Second of all, the ending voice-over with morgan freeman basically implies that god saved us. HG Wells didn’t believe in god. He didn’t believe in democracy. He didn’t believe in anything that America stands for. Yet it was ‘the wisdom of god that saved us? Wrong. It was human evolution.
You know what? Morgan freeman kicks ass, I would have preferred to see to see him sit on a chair, smoking a huge cigar, reading the book with a roaring fire in the background. Maybe with some music in the from a gramophone or something suitably atmospheric, Forever Autumn perhaps? That would have been so much better. Just his voice lends itself to the overall darkness of the story and amplifies it. Tom Cruise’s terrible acting spoils everything and makes me want to pluck out my eyeballs, though even then I’d still be able to hear his annoying voice. It’s the same with Dakota Fanning, his daughter. It seems that the casting director got a bunch of little girls to scream loudly and then chose whoever had the most annoying scream.
After the initial rush of the destruction of the world, this film peters out into boredom. I wanted to leave after the drunk guy. I would have preferred sand in my cavities to listening to that little girl scream one more time. I would have given my left leg to see the charred corpse of his son stepped on by an alien. Above all I would give anything to have spent money on a faithful recreation of an awesome book.
Spielberg missed the point. I hope you haven’t. War of the Worlds is a waste of life.