On the Big Board
||Ninety minutes of astounding virtuouso action/suspense filmmaking. However, Spielberg still does not know how to end a film.
||Intense and legitimately suspenseful...at least until everything is magically resolved in the span of two minutes. Tom Cruise isn't too Tom Cruise-y, which is a nice surprise.
||Apocalypse cinema is a nearly perfected art. Second half of the film blindly turns away from genius of first half, though.
||Dark and ponderous. Could have been higher on the list but for the Spielberg-y ending.
"Ladies and gentlemen, here is the latest bulletin from the Intercontinental Radio News. Toronto, Canada: Professor Morse of McMillan University reports observing a total of three explosions on the planet Mars, between the hours of 7:45 p.m. and 9:20 p.m., eastern standard time. This confirms earlier reports received from American observatories.
"Now, nearer home, comes a special bulletin from Trenton, New Jersey. It is reported that at 8:50 p.m. a huge, flaming object, believed to be a meteorite, fell on a farm in the neighborhood of Grovers Mill, New Jersey, twenty-two miles from Trenton.
"The flash in the sky was visible within a radius of several hundred miles and the noise of the impact was heard as far north as Elizabeth.
"We have dispatched a special mobile unit to the scene, and will have our commentator, Carl Phillips, give you a word picture of the scene as soon as he can reach there from Princeton.
"In the meantime, we take you to the Hotel Martinet in Brooklyn, where Bobby Millette and his orchestra are offering a program of dance music..."
With these simple words, an entire nation was sent into a panic. The ever inventive Orson Welles, created such a realistic radio portrayal of the events that took place in sci-fi pioneer H.G. Wells' War of the World that listeners didn't even realize it was fiction.
Now, the granddaddy of all alien invasion tales will be adapted for a second big-screen treatment (the first was in 1953, starring Les Tremayne and Gene Barry). And who better than to put his name on a big-budget special effects extravaganza than the master himself, Steven Spielberg?
The eminent director of such modern classics as Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan and Minority Report will team with Really Big Star Tom Cruise to bring the film to the big screen. Currently, Spielberg is expected to join Cruise in producing the film. It is anticipated that Cruise will also take the starring role. The two will be expected to settle on a production start date once screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Spider-Man, Secret Window) delivers an acceptable script.
Given the high profile of both the story and the talent involed, War of the Worlds will be a project that will merit a lot of attention as it proceeds through the development phase. It's an adaptation that has been tossed around for many years -- a quarter of a century ago, A Clockwork Orange novelist Anthony Burgess had been tapped to write a screenplay. Count on Spielberg to make sure it's done right rather than cheesy. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
Comparison films for War of the Worlds
|Lost World, The
|Saving Private Ryan
|A.I. Artificial Intelligence