War of the Worlds

Lauren and I went on an awesome date last night: out to dinner at the Spotted Dog, and then to War of the Worlds. (See her post about it, too.) The Neill's Taekwondo ad is supposed to show three times before every showing of every movie, but we were there maybe 15 minutes early and only saw it once. (By the way: Master Neill was wearing Snazziator gloves during class last night.) I wanted to see the movie because I remember liking the book, but Spielberg always makes me nervous. He shouldn't have. This was a well-directed movie. There are minor spoilers in this section on the movie:
There's a tight balance that any `versus impossible odds' movie has to walk: the more dramatic the situation looks up front (the more impossible the odds), the more implausible it has to be for any character facing that situation to survive more than ten minutes. War of the Worlds was able to wlk this balance ably; while there were a few moments of `wait a minute...', on the whole the odds looked darned impossible, while the characters' survival (those that survived) was more or less believable. The first `oh crap here's what we're up against scene' was probably the most exciting. It almost looked like it hadn't been to post: the bluescreen work was obvious, the explosions and buildings falling apart looked like they look on a Universal Studios ride, and there was no score. Not despite, but I think because of all this, the scene was terrifying. Later, more polished, scenes lacked some of the excitement that came through in this one. And the music, when it showed up, was uniformly awful. Not only was it not partiuclarly enjoyable on its own, it had a distinct `let me tell you how to feel' air about it throughout. The music was trying to be tour guide for the movie instead of part of it. It would have been a much better choice to leave the whole movie unscored. There are two ends to the movie, of course: a `what happens with the aliens' end and a `what happens with the characters' end. The alien end was OK; the character end was an inspired risk. If it had been directed one inch in either direction, it could have been awful, but it wasn't; it worked, and well.
Now the section on the movie is over. Once we came back here, I was too zonked to stay up much at all. I hate falling asleep like that when LJ's still up, but that's really all I wanted to do. Now it's 15:30, and I'm just waking. That means I'll be able to stay up a chunk tonight: good news.
posted by Liar at 15:23