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Awake In The Dark
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Old July 3rd, 2005, 08:01 PM   #1
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War of the Worlds

Whoa...

Just came home from this and I'm really amazed.

Spielberg does it once again!

This is one exhilarating movie...definitely a MUST see on the big screen as so much will be lost viewing at home on DVD.

It is incredible to think of the great films he has crafted for the movie loving public over the years......Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Jurassic Park, Minority Report, Saving Private Ryan..Schindler's List. [I even liked The Terminal but didn't like Close Encounters too much though... ]

Go see it!
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Old July 4th, 2005, 03:15 AM   #2
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I really like it too.
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Old July 4th, 2005, 03:06 PM   #3
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I will go on wednesday. The Terminal is one of his fewest films I didn't like, together with 1941.
Besides that, he is one of my all time favorite filmmakers!
You can feel the passion in his movies
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Old July 4th, 2005, 10:36 PM   #4
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This also marks ILM's return to "realistic" visual effects. They only had a little over 9 months to finish all of their shots! Truly a rushed production but I think it came out well. It won't get any awards for picture or direction, but I could definitely see it being a contender for visual effects and sound design. I loved the sounds in this movie. : )
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Old July 5th, 2005, 04:08 AM   #5
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Yep, the visuals for this film are brilliant. The FX are realistic and the scenes of destruction are extremely well done. I loved the look of the tripods and the sound.

However, the film has very little on an emotional level - which means the scenes of destruction become tedious. We get almost 2 hours of destruction followed by a brief, ridiculous, horribly sentimental and embarassingly bad scene of Cruise and his family. A real shame.

Not in the same league as the other 'blockbuster' of the moment - Christopher Nolan's superb 'Batman Begins'.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 04:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Not in the same league as the other 'blockbuster' of the moment - Christopher Nolan's superb 'Batman Begins'.
Totally agree there.


I enjoyed "War of the Worlds" but it really fell apart at the end I thought. But one thing that amazed me more than anything was the absolutely unreal sound design.

If you end up seeing it again or to those who didn't see it yet...pay close attention to the initial lightning scene where tom cruise is in his house with his daughter. There really aren't a whole lot of visual effects in that scene, and certainly most of us here could do every one of the effects in that scene with after effects and some time (not the rest of the film of course...that is more CGI than film)...but the sound is what really blows you away in that scene...the intervals of near silence with dogs barking...a piece of tin hits the roof...all little subtle sounds that give you that eerie "silence" feeling even though it isn't really silent at all. Truly an amazing scene.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 07:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Matt Champagne
Totally agree there.
I enjoyed "War of the Worlds" but it really fell apart at the end I thought. But one thing that amazed me more than anything was the absolutely unreal sound design.
Agreed. Absolutely. I, myself, enjoyed the sounds of alien machinery.

Can't say much more so as not to spoil, but man...I teach visual effects and though this movie had plenty, but I found myself more enthralled in the sound then the visuals! : )

As for Batman Begins, agreed again, amazing movie. A second is in the works and depending on it's success a third is planned. I think we'll see Joker show up in the sequel.

I was initially surprised to hear he might be a villain again (wonder who would play him?) but it's not surprising considering the Burton/Schumacher movies are being 'discarded' and these new movies are trying to be as close to the comics as possible...
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Old July 5th, 2005, 08:24 AM   #8
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i liked it as a piece of entertainment. it's got touches from spielberg's previous films, close encouter, et, ai, minority report, jurassic park and so forth. but the man is really starting to repeat himself. he's just a guy running out of tricks and resorting to gimmicks (like the shot with the minivan). hell, he's always been about gimmicks. even the emotional gimmicks squeezed from the family throughout the film and especially towards the end.

i liked the aspect of the film that doesn't seek to explain. if you've seen THX and you've seen the documentary on the bonus disc, it's all about how foreign films presume you know a lot of the world in which the film is taking place. that you infer what is going on in the story of the film instead of flat out telling you all of the plot points. it literally is "showing" rather than telling like the next blockbuster, The Island, will be. i think lots of American audiences will get lost along the way but foreign fans will love it because i think this one was made with them in mind.

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.

although i liked Morgan Freeman's narration straight from the book, it did not fit coherently with the film. the book is very literate and takes a lot of first person accounts of the alien invasion. to lift those literary qualities from the novel but then not maintain it for the entire film and then just throw it back at the end shows lazy and slopiness. that's just unforgivable.

imho, orson welle's radio play is SOoooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOO much better. as bad as the 50s version of WoW, even THAT movie is better than this one cause you had characters that developed and you cared about, by not by much still. orson's version is just a cut above =).

oh, yeah about the human crispy puffs. that's definitely somewhat of a throwback to the 50s version yesh, but i think it's staying pretty true to that book's thing about aliens wanting our water through the ray. that and the blood of humans and alien colonization.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 10:04 AM   #9
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I was enthralled until the end, and then my suspension of disbelief just got shot. The end was so... final.

For a movie that had so much desperation and dispair, the sudden jolt of "it's all good" ripped me out of the world the movie established, and plunked me firmly in a "that wasn't plausible" mindset.

-Steve
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Old July 5th, 2005, 10:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yi Fong Yu
i liked it as a piece of entertainment. it's got touches from spielberg's previous films, close encouter, et, ai, minority report, jurassic park and so forth. but the man is really starting to repeat himself. he's just a guy running out of tricks and resorting to gimmicks (like the shot with the minivan). hell, he's always been about gimmicks. even the emotional gimmicks squeezed from the family throughout the film and especially towards the end.

i liked the aspect of the film that doesn't seek to explain. if you've seen THX and you've seen the documentary on the bonus disc, it's all about how foreign films presume you know a lot of the world in which the film is taking place. that you infer what is going on in the story of the film instead of flat out telling you all of the plot points. it literally is "showing" rather than telling like the next blockbuster, The Island, will be. i think lots of American audiences will get lost along the way but foreign fans will love it because i think this one was made with them in mind.

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.

although i liked Morgan Freeman's narration straight from the book, it did not fit coherently with the film. the book is very literate and takes a lot of first person accounts of the alien invasion. to lift those literary qualities from the novel but then not maintain it for the entire film and then just throw it back at the end shows lazy and slopiness. that's just unforgivable.

imho, orson welle's radio play is SOoooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOO much better. as bad as the 50s version of WoW, even THAT movie is better than this one cause you had characters that developed and you cared about, by not by much still. orson's version is just a cut above =).

oh, yeah about the human crispy puffs. that's definitely somewhat of a throwback to the 50s version yesh, but i think it's staying pretty true to that book's thing about aliens wanting our water through the ray. that and the blood of humans and alien colonization.
I'm not trying to make any excuses for Spielberg, but I know that this was a visual effects-driven movie from the beginning. Starting with Spielberg utilizing digital technology and also using 3D previz for the whole show, I knew the plot would suffer. It was a "visual effects driven" movie from the start.

I guess in the interest of keeping the movie going, and getting the characters to be where they needed to be, they had to concentrate on moving the plot along from action sequence to action sequence and hence, character development suffered.

I kind of have the feeling that if they HAD spent more time on character development, people would have complained that, "They spent too much time talking about their family and less on the action." or "All of the cool special effect shots were in the trailer."

I guess it just comes down to: if you know you're a summer blockbuster, give the popcorn munching hoardes what they want: action and a visual extravaganza.

If it were a longer movie I'm sure we could have gotten better character development.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 10:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven White
I was enthralled until the end, and then my suspension of disbelief just got shot. The end was so... final.

For a movie that had so much desperation and dispair, the sudden jolt of "it's all good" ripped me out of the world the movie established, and plunked me firmly in a "that wasn't plausible" mindset.

-Steve
Steve,

Agreed. It was a bit sudden. At least Cruise was as stunned as we were. Just goes to show you that other things were happening and the whole world didn't revolve around him. Nice to see him in an "everyman" sort of role...
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Old July 5th, 2005, 02:03 PM   #12
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ummm.... spiderman and the late batman begins? i think they had longer periods of character development than action. time it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Zeigler
...
I guess it just comes down to: if you know you're a summer blockbuster, give the popcorn munching hoardes what they want: action and a visual extravaganza.

If it were a longer movie I'm sure we could have gotten better character development.
also, one more thing i thought of. as much as spielberg was trying to get us to feel what it was like to be refugees and so forth (echoes of 9/11, war imagery, etc.) i think that it is useless without context. it's mindless entertainment without a larger story to encompass it in. in saving private ryan, the disillusionment of the battle in the first 20min was awesome because it was in a greater context of a great war... but it didn't end there. i liked how that feeling of loss and directionless path that permeated the rest of saving private ryan all the way until the end, the story nailed it with the words, "earn it.". i think that's the problem with war of the worlds. there is no "EARN IT." moments. and it doesn't have to be exactly like the earn it moments but spielberg has to re-earn my trust in him to entertain. while i felt like i had a fun ride at the latest theme park in disneyworld or land or universal or whatever, but as a student of film story and someone who is entertained intellectually and sometimes emotionally i felt that spielberg didn't achieve those ends in this film. i felt that he robbed me of some time because i do expect him to achieve a schindler's list or saving private ryan or even a ET or color purple every now and then.

by the end of WoW, no single character changed. they just experienced. as for the visual fx, etc. it was alright, nothing to write home about. even though it's entertaining, it felt empty. maybe the people who stay @home rent instead of going to cinema are beginning to feel the same way, that's why they stay@home =).
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Old July 5th, 2005, 02:33 PM   #13
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I'm pretty jaded, so it's not easy to sweep me into a film. But this one achieved visceral intensity. The last movie that riveted me like this was "The Dear Hunter." Funny, they have similar scenes..hapless victims in a container waiting to be selected for yanking upstairs for a horrible fate.

Tom Cruise gave an excellent performance, I thought--strong enough to separate him from his recent goofy real life persona.

Having the monsters rise from the ground, destroying even the security of terra firma, was a shrewd innovation on that level while also providing the context for more special effects destruction.

On the weaker side, two scenes where humans got some payback went squarely against the grain of the H G Wells theme. The second instance, where the military is finally able to take down a tripod, I perceived as an obligatory homage to our troops.

Finally, while I can forgive the sudden resolution (faithful to the book, after all) the son should have been left dead. Everything on the hill he went over was vaporized. Having him show up in Boston in tattered clothes for the reunion was a joke. That choice ensured that I carried no sense of awe with me out of the theater.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 10:10 PM   #14
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Overall I enjoyed te movie, but was not moved by it. Spielberg does such a great job of keeping you in the moment of the action... I was really on the edge of my seat. I agree with Yi, though, that none of the characters changed (the same thing I told the person I saw it with as we were walking out), and with Fred that the son returning was just wrong. Funny, and the troops taking down the pod... it was dying anyway. And I agree with most here that the movie didn't end so much as it just stopped, and I was not satisfied with that. The plot had too many holes to go in to really... (the aliens have the technology to do all of that... but they can't find the panting man behind the couch?)

In terms of filmmaking, I had a few notes.

1. The opening Helocopter shot was really nice. It went from wide of the whole shipyard to almost a close-up of Tom. It seemed like it must have been an FX shot, but I think it was all in-camera.

2. While they were driving down the highway they did an extremely long, seemingly unedited shot that was crazy. It started wide on the car, came in close to Tom driving, panned around to the side, then behind and inside the car to show the daughter freaking out, and then to the other side and back around to the front. It was extremely smooth, and kept the intensity the whole time. It was worth the admission to watch that shot.

3. They had a lot of nice camera moves. A great crane shot of when he comes out of his wife's house, a lot of great dolly shots through difficult situations. The camera did not sit still for very long, and it really worked.

Anyway, visually I thought it was amazing. The FX shots were right on. And IMDB said they didn't start shooting until 7 months before release. Wow.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 04:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Retread
Having [the son] show up in Boston in tattered clothes for the reunion was a joke. That choice ensured that I carried no sense of awe with me out of the theater.
Yes, that was ridiculous beyond belief - it totally undermines everything that had come before. I just don't understand why Spielberg did it. Tom Cruise walking down the street carrying the girl was BAD but having the son (and ALL the whole rest of the family for that matter) appear smiling in that doorway at the end was excrutiatingly lame. It kills the film stone dead!
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