Please note, there are "spoilers", which is kinda funny since the movie is a remake, of a remake, of a remake.
Hubby and I went to see War of the Worlds last night. I have to admit, the last two movies we've seen in a theater, I've actually fallen asleep in, but I managed to stay awake for this one (so I guess that says something for it).
The previews of upcoming movies: King Kong (done to death), The Transporter II (good lord), and two that were so bad, I've forgot about what they were the moment the preview as over.
The movie starts out by a voice over from Morgan Freeman and showing us microbes. Since everyone already knows the story: aliens come, aliens kill, aliens croak from the common cold, the voice over was all cryptic and probably went over about 95% of the audience's head.
We're quickly introduced to Tom "I know psychiatry because I've read a book" Cruise's character, and immediately hate him. His two kids, a brooding teenage boy that's taller than Cruise and slightly unbelievable that Cruise and his now remarried and preggers ex-wife could have had a kid so old, and the daughter, a much younger bad dresser who appears to have the brain of 20 year old.
After the obligatory "this is why they don't get along" scene with the teenager, Cruise gets mad and goes to bed, leaving the kids to fend for themselves.
Next morning, the shit hits the fan, as the girl is flipping channels, we get to hear snippets of wacky news reports of lightening storms knocking out power to different continents. The girl announces to Cruise that the brother has taken off in his car, he goes to look for the kid and gets distracted by everyone looking at some funky storm approaching.
Soon, HUGE bolts of lightening start hitting the ground, Cruise and girl take cover in the house until it passes, when they discover that nothing electronic, not even his watch, works now. This takes him a good 10 minutes of trying everything electronic.
He leaves the girl in the house and ventures out to find out what happened. He amazingly enough, bumps into the teenage son and tells him to go home.
This is when the aliens come in. A crowd gathers around the big ol hole that is left where the lightening hits, and soon big cracks begin to appear around the hole, people back up, things start flying, buildings collapse, and someone starts shooting the action with a camcorder. Wait... a camcorder? Everything electronic is dead but this one camcorder? Amazing. Well, the camcorder has to work because we're shown through the camcorder how the alien space ship bursts from the hole, rises up, bleats out some tone, then starts frying people. The owner of the camcorder is crisped, which means we get to view the carnage from the camcorder screen now laying on the ground.
People scatter, get fried, Cruise makes it to safety (as people near him are getting vaporized), so he goes back to his house, gathers his kids and decides to go to Boston, where his ex-wife is.
They grab the ONLY vehicle that works (because he told the mechanic how to fix it earlier), and he and the kids hightail it out of the city.
Drive, drive, drive, kid interaction, screaming girl, teenage son bitching. During this time, Cruise is trying to "save" his daughter from knowing what is going on, that is until she has to pee, they stop, she sees a river, then thousands of dead bodies floating downstream in it.
The military appears and for some reason, Mr. Goth anti-establishment teenage son feels compelled to join the military, which Cruise tells him no.
The end up at the ex-wife's house, which is unscathed and they end up sleeping in the basement. In the middle of the night there are more of the lightening strikes and some kind of huge explosion, which they manage to survive. In the morning, Cruise goes out and finds a big honking passenger jet has squished the neighborhood, and meets a tv crew who explain to him and show him footage of all the alien craft attacking. They also explain to him (and the idiot audience) that the space craft have been HERE all this time, buried under the ground, waiting. The lightening bolts are the method the aliens have used to get the "pilots" into the space craft. Ok, whatever.
More driving, until they end up at some town where zillions of people are gathered and freaking out. Their van gets stolen so now we're walking, we're walking.
They end up on a ferry, which is turned over by aliens, and we see people getting plucked out of the water and stuffed into the alien ships. Cruise and kids swim ashore and continue to watch people getting plucked up, and walk through the "shower" of clothing that keeps falling from the alien ships. HMMM.
The military converges, tanks and airplanes are bombarding the aliens over a hill (you can't see what's going on, just explosions), and the brooding, anti-establishment teen decides that he wants to watch what's going on. Argument with Cruise, teen feels compelled, demands to go, yadda yadda, so Cruise lets him go, grabs girl and runs, only to see that just over the hill where the teen goes, there's mondo destruction and teen has surely croaked.
Cruise and girl somehow end up in a basement with Tim Robbins, who turns out to be a whack job. The aliens decide to camp out right over that house for the night, so we're treated to the roving alien eye hide and seek thing, then get to see the alien's coming in to look around while the three hide.
Tim Robbins eventually goes full tilt bozo, and Cruise is forced to kill him... not really sure why, since right after that, the girl goes nuts and runs out of the house, Cruise follows and runs around yelling for her for a good 5 minutes before they are both captured by an alien ship and plopped into a cage under the ship.
Apparently, the ships run on humans, since we get to see a person sucked into the ship, then the ship sprays out blood and parts. Cruise is snagged for refueling, but the people pull him out and he's able to plant some grenades (conveniently) into the ship, it explodes, they all escape.
More walking, more walking. They end up in Boston, where Cruise notices that the gunky vines being "planted" by the alien ship is dying. We also see one of the ships plopped into a building and on fire. Apparently they are all dying of something (gee, what could it be). The military shoots down another ship, and we get the obligatory alien slithering down a hatch, croaking scene.
We're walking, we're walking to a nice neighborhood in Boston, where apparently nothing much has happened because the row houses are all pristine and untouched.
The ex-wife, all clean and groomed wearing gap, her new husband, and her parents all come out on the porch, see Cruise and the girl and have a tearful reunion. Amazingly enough, the brooding teenage boy has not only lived through the fire inferno of the alien battle, but has somehow found his way to Boston, the ex-wive's parent's house BEFORE Cruise, so there's that tearful reunion.
Then its back to the microbes, where Morgan Freeman explains (for those too stupid to realize) that man has been on earth lo these many years and has built up an immunity (which apparently we've "earned") to stuff, and these pompous aliens hadn't, therefore we deserve to live on earth and the aliens don't.
Hubby and I looked at each other and said "mmm, ok then".
1.) if the aliens were using us as fuel/food, then why the whole vaporizing scene at the beginning?
2.) iIf the aliens were using us as fuel/food and sucking our blood out, wouldn't they obtain our immunization from our blood, much like babies do during the whole pregnancy thing?
3.) I realize that the whole Tim Robbins thing was to show Cruise going from hapless moron who could care less about his kids, to a father fighting to the death for the life of his kid... but did it have to be so freakin long, and it seems to me that he could have left at any time anyway.
4.) Did the little girl have to scream so freakin much? Up until they were stuck in the basement with Tim Robbins (which is a valid reason to scream), she really didn't see all that much because Cruise was always shielding her from seeing stuff. I also hate 8 year olds that talk like they're 40.
5.) Gigantic alien ships in the ground, the first one buried right under a street in a big city, and NOBODY found them? "Hey, we can't put the subway here, there's a big honking alien ship"
Overall, good special effects, stupid story, predictable ending (it's a remake... duh), unbelievable happy ending, la la la, the world will rebuild and learn nothing from the experience, 100 bucks (16 for tickets, the rest for stale popcorn and a soda) down the drain, 2 hours of my life wasted.