Sunday, October 29, 2006

War of the worlds

"No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space. No one could have dreamed that we were being scrutinized as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even considered the possibility of life on other planets. And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us."

[Imagine, if you will, Jeff Wayne's 'The Eve of the War' playing. Fantastic, isn't it?]

I'm actually not going to Blog about the classic musical version of the story, but rather the more recent movie version by Steven Speilberg, starring Tom Cruise.

I'd highly recommend this film to anyone (well, anyone old enough to see it). Despite the fact that the story is set in the USA rather than in England, and that it is set contemporarily rather than in Victorian times, the film is surprisingly faithful to the spirit of the book, if not the details.

I truly have never seen a film like it. The effects are great, the acting good, the music appropriate, etc., but what really sets this film apart from every other film I've seen is the emotion it imparts to its audience. I've seen many films where I've been 'on the edge of my seat' at times, but this is the only film I have ever seen where that experience is maintained for the entire film. After the initial 20 minutes or so, which are all setting up the realtionship between the characters, the Martians start attacking and you see the utter hopelessness of the situation Tom Cruise and his family find themselves in. From then on there is a constant sense of dread, mild horror and tension that really does put you on edge, and keeps you there, until the resolution at the end of the film.

I saw the film on DVD but wish that I'd seen it at the cinema. Sharing that emotion with a room full of people would have been quite an experience.

Steven Speilberg, you are a master film maker!


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