War of the Worlds

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Josh Friedman, David Koepp (screenplay), H.G. Wells (story)
Released: June 2005
Starring: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwin, Miranda Otto, Tim Robbins

Firstly, ‘yes’ I am a massive fan of War of the Worlds. I studied film at high school and university, where H.G. Wells’s original story The War of the Worlds and the 1953 film of the same name were frequently picked apart.

Also, one of my favourite childhood memories is going to see Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds musical in Auckland during 2007.

I had always been obsessed with Jeff Wayne’s 1970s musical interpretation of the story. I listened to his soundtrack on repeat before I went to bed most nights as a teenager, as did my father before me. It’s a masterpiece and it can not be improved upon.

Therefore, for the first time ever, I was disappointed to hear Morgan Freeman’s narration on Spielberg’s film version. In my mind, it was an insult to change Richard Burton’s spoken word on Jeff Wayne’s soundtrack.

Nevertheless, I definitely love this film interpretation despite it not reflecting the musical masterpiece that came before it.

It is a sci-fi horror about Ray (Tom Cruise) and his two children Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie (Justin Chatwin) trying to escape the alien invasion. The aliens are relentless and terrifying as they displace millions of people.

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There’s no where to run, there’s no where to hide and there’s no way to kill the aliens and their machines.

Horrifying!

Ray soon finds a safe haven with a man named Harlan who takes them in. But Harlan begins to lose his cool and Ray realises that with the pressure on, it’s survival of the fittest – the aliens are no longer the only danger.

Steven Spielberg aced the art of suspense, but so has Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning – they are both incredibly talented no matter what you think about them on a personal level. They’ve done well to capture the essence of our most primal fears and created a blockbuster film out of it.

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Although, Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg do turn this global disaster into a very American hero, nuclear family sort of story. I think it would have been a little more raw and real if it was English-made. Or maybe I’m just being too patriotic.

To me, this film is a classic in many ways. I can see the essence of Signs in this retelling of War of the Worlds, and I have seen War of the Worlds echoing in many sci-fi invasion films since.

Jodie’s rating: 7/10

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About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working as a writer in UK. Follow me on Twitter @NZFilmFreak and like my Facebook page NZ Film Freak. Follow my travels around the world www.jodiehart.co.nz
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