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Awake In The Dark
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Old July 6th, 2005, 11:05 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yi Fong Yu
i thought the character development was going to better, there just wasn't enough of relationship building between the father and two children. by the end of the film, it's like we saw how ray and his family survived... OK, but is ray going to be a better father? nope. will the kids have better attitude toward their dad? nope. so none of the characters actually changed by the end of the film! i thought it was going to be bigger than that.

What makes you say that? It seems obvious by the second half of the film - when he gives up his son to save his daughter - that he's gone through a profound change and has at last understood what it means to be a father.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 02:09 PM   #17
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SPOILER ALERT!

Speaking of character arc, or rather, lack of it, I'm surprised no one has mentioned the totally unnecessary murder committed by Ray. Supposedly to protect his daughter, he kills Tim Robbins character because he is making too much noise. Hello, tie him up and gag him. Or, more extreme, knock him out with the shovel. Cold blooded murder was totally unjustified (and dramatically stupid). (Besides, judging by all the commotion in the basement when the aliens are prowling around, they are all stone deaf anyhow!)
So his character does have a bit of an arc, but it's a negative arc. He goes from being a lousy father to being a lousy father and a murderer. His kids would be better off if he'd been crispy-puffed by the aliens.

Last edited by Dan Vance; July 6th, 2005 at 06:21 PM. Reason: Added Spoiler Alert
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Old July 6th, 2005, 02:17 PM   #18
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Dan,

Yeah, that was certainly one of the things that muddied the emotional arc quite a bit. Is that how they were trying to show that he was a changed man - now a caring father?
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Old July 6th, 2005, 03:56 PM   #19
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Ah yes, War of the Worlds. We've been talking about this at work.

Firstly, I was pretty disappointed right at the get-go when Tom played the young cocky guy - again. "Hey forget you boss, I'm a free spirited party guy! And besides, my vintage mustang is waiting for me to race around the neighborhood." Ugh.

(spoiler warning)
And then when the first Pod pops up and the guy has the camcorder running, that was pretty bad (come on, EVERY other electronic device was hosed).

And after the initial destruction the movie basically turns into an ABC afterschool special about an emotionally immature dad and his disfunctional kids.

Oh, and anyone that's ever spent any time with or has kids knows fully well that when Tom and his daughter are spotted by the alien eye-probe in the basement, the little girl would have latched onto dad for dear life. No way she would have run away. Frightened kids stick with their parents no matter what. I was really shocked by that scene, since Spielberg has kids. Terrible.

And to top it all off, the son appearing at the end was just too much. Hey, Humvees and Tanks get destoyed but the kid is alright. Perhaps teenagers really are invulnerable.

Yech, I saw Batman twice over the weekend to help me forget this film.

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Old July 6th, 2005, 04:10 PM   #20
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Dan, could you please warn if you put a spoiler in your text?
I missed it, and now I'm sorry...

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Old July 6th, 2005, 04:36 PM   #21
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my 2 cents

**Definite Spoilers in my message** (though why you'd read these without seeing the movie first I have no idea)

I loved the movie and thought the visual impact was incredible. I believe it makes you take another look at war in general. It's very sobering to say the least.

That being said, while I agree with what some of you are saying, I think it's fair to not forget when watching movies we are all supposed to have a suspension of disbelief. What I mean is, sure, the guy had a movie camera going, but the van also started. Why? If I remember correctly, an EMP disables all active electronic devices. So it's conceivable that that the guy had his camera off and then turned it on after the EMP, just as the van wasn't working until after it had been fixed which occurred after the EMP.

As for the character arc... I wouldn't really expect someone to evolve in 48-72 hours, but I do think he changed. Do we really know he killed Tim Robbins' character? It is implied, but maybe he only knocked him unconscious. I think it's interesting most people just asssume he killed him (I did not), but perhaps the incident where Ray's son was pulled from the van earlier drove him to that point to where he would kill someone to protect his child. Kill him or gag him, the guy was obviously a little off his rocker and was a liability.

I was also a little disappointed by the ending, mostly about Ray's son surviving, but maybe it's meant more metaphorically than anything else (anything being possible, finding hope in the most hopeless of situations). You can even go one step further and say he thought he was protecting his son by keeping an eye on him and as it turns out, the son was able to protect himself. I'll bet he didn't have to get pulled out of one of the machines in the nick of time.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 05:54 PM   #22
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Mathieu,
Regarding spoiler warnings, many of the prior posts had given away major plot points without warning so it seemed clear that spoilers in this thread were a given.
Geoff,
A real EMP can damage or disable electrical and electronic devices whether they are on or off. In the movie, even cars that are parked are disabled--no one has a running vehicle. Which would mean that the new starter and solenoid sitting on the mechanic's shelf would have been fried too, as well as the car's computer, lights, voltage regulator, etc. And of course the other guy's camcorder.
But to get around those inconsistencies, filmmakers would have to be *creative* and...well, enough said.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 06:00 PM   #23
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And also, Geoff,
(OK "Spoiler Alert On:)
Yes, he KILLED the Tim Robbins character. It makes no sense that he would cover his daughter's eyes and have her sing to herself if he was only going to knock the guy out! After all she's already seen? That would be nothing.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 06:03 PM   #24
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Quote:
A real EMP can damage or disable electrical and electronic devices whether they are on or off. In the movie, even cars that are parked are disabled--no one has a running vehicle. Which would mean that the new starter and solenoid sitting on the mechanic's shelf would have been fried too, as well as the car's computer, lights, voltage regulator, etc. And of course the other guy's camcorder.
Aww come on...doesn't every mechanic keep his extra solenoids in a faraday cage?

Among other inconsistancies...why does the mobile camera gun that the aliens send into Tim Robbins basement hear sound (it turns around when it hears something drop)...yet isn't advanced enough for infrared sensors?
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Old July 6th, 2005, 06:10 PM   #25
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Dan, you are right that it is indeed my own fault, it's stupid to read this if you haven't seen the movie, but I had the feeling your spoiler was very sudden and a big one to. The others I felt them coming and I read over them and so on, but yours was so: and didn't you think it was...(then the spoiler)

But I don't want to attack you or anything. Just wanted to make sure other people's expectations or anything aren't ruined by it also, although it indeed is still AT LEAST 50 procent the fault of the one who goes reading these boards without viewing the film first.

BTW: I say ruined, but rest assure that I will enjoy it probably as a Spielberg movie, anyhow, so ;-)
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Old July 6th, 2005, 06:20 PM   #26
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Mathieu,
I do feel bad about that, but after I wrote my first post and before I actually posted it, I reviewed the earlier ones again to see if spoiler alerts were being included. They weren't, so I figured I was safe. But with hindsight, I should have just incuded one anyhow! I definitely will from now on. Sorry about that.
I'm going to try to go edit that one and put an alert in for future readers.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 06:45 PM   #27
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I didn't say he didn't kill him, I said we don't know if he did or not. We don't know because we didn't see or hear anything that would suggest death, unless you count him telling his daughter all of those things and the door closing. Hell, **sopranos season 5 spoiler** people think Adrianna's still alive and we heard a gunshot! I know they didn't show that either, but at least there's a sound that confirms what we believe.

As for the EMP, what do I know? What I repeated was on Broken Arrow, so obviously that was wrong too (they shut off the hummer as the missle goes by so it can start back up).
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Old July 6th, 2005, 09:09 PM   #28
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having to choose the lesser of two evils doesn't mean you are a father. it's just a moral dilemna similar to the homeowner who is hiding Jews and Nazis are knocking at the door wanting to search the house in wartime Germany.

that scene is no evidence of character change. can you cite another scene where there is pure evidence that Ray has changed (for the better) as a character from the beginning of the film?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Starnes
What makes you say that? It seems obvious by the second half of the film - when he gives up his son to save his daughter - that he's gone through a profound change and has at last understood what it means to be a father.
re: EMP&Camcorder. can anyone link some source to confirm that an EMP wave wipes out ALL electronic devices on or off rendering it useless?
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Old July 6th, 2005, 10:22 PM   #29
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A "real EMP" is an event caused by a high altitude nuclear explosion, not a missle whizzing by or a lightning strike. EMP events due the latter are fiction.

But assuming we had an EMP in play, it would cause damage by making electrons within devices flow with enough energy to make susceptible conductive paths burn out like light bulb filaments subjected to overvoltage. This process would not require that the device be turned on.

What kinds of things would be susceptible? Certainly anything containing semiconductor devices. It's fairly well known that we can zap those devices with static discharges from our fingers that we can't even feel. Camcorders would thus be among the first things to go.

Electrical energy dissipated as heat is the one and only failure mode to look for. This is increasingly unlikely as we consider devices with beefier conductive paths. A starter motor would certainly survive a real EMP. And if it didn't, remember the failure would be due to excessive heat. I didn't see and smoke or flames from the supposedly disabled vehicles in the movie.

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Old July 6th, 2005, 11:38 PM   #30
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Fred is dead on with the EMP. A solenoid wouldn't fry any more than a toaster would. Some of the modern cars would lose their juice along with the camcoders, but the Mustang should have been fine.

XXspoilersXX

I think on the Dad their intent was certainly to show growth, but they didn't do very well. I'm with Yi - just because he has to make a life/death decision about his kids that doesn't mean that he has changed as a person...

The only thing they really put in there that showed growth was that he tried to sing his daughter to sleep. He was horrible at it, which was the point, but he really did try, and I think that does show a different character. For me, it wasn't quite enough.
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