Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with the very first authentic review of WAR OF THE WORLDS that we've gotten, this one from the German premiere. For those that want to know nothing about this film, the below review is very positive. There aren't many spoilers below at all, but if you want to keep 100% pure, I understand that. The rest of you enjoy! I can't wait for this sucka!
I have just seen Steven Spielberg's "War of the worlds" here in Germay. I'm not good at English and I've never written a movie review before, so I won't torture you with one coming from my hands. I also know that Spielberg has asked journalists to wait with their reviews so I'll respect that and simply put down a few lines about my feelings of this movie. I'll break down in a few sections to make it easier for myself:
1 - The story
Well you'll recognize certain elements from the book and the overall plot is also pretty similar to the book, but other than that there are not that many elements from H.G Wells classic. That doesn't mean I didn't like what they did with the movie version, on the contrary! This movie has a tight storyline. It is a real survival story and also remniscent of some of the old disaster movies from the 70s, with a small group of characters fighting to get out of the way of destruction. Of course it focuses mainly on Ray (Cruise) and his two kids and their journey. I read before that this was going to be a very "intimate" story about surviaval and that it is. People who hope to see huge scale destruction will be disappointed. The action doesn't really get any bigger than what you have already seen in the trailers. It is told through the eyes of a small family, and the only action we see is what they see. No swooping helicopter shots of destruction and pulverised landmarks. However we hear about a lot of terryfieng stuff through radios, military and others, and it lets you imagine all these thing if you know what I mean. The action scenes feel more like a documentary, sometimes with handheld camera. It's extremely cool as the scenes seem far more intense. As a whole this movie seems more like a horror movie than an action movie. There are several moments where you are holding your breath while sitting on the edge of your seat. Especially in a sequence when the family is caught behind the "enemy" lines, while the Aliens probe all hiding spaces for human beings. That was truly frightening.
2 - The acting
WOW. This really blew me away. The interaction between Tom, Dakota and the boy playing his son is incredibly convincing. You really care about these persons after a few minutes into the movie. Normally I am pretty cold when it comes to the acting in American blockusters as it is always second hand to the action, but in this movie I felt a lump in my throat several times because I really cared for the characters.
3 - Special effects
It may sound as though there is no big action sequences in the movie, but that is not true. There is plenty of action but it (almost) always takes place "behind" the actors the camera focuses on. This way it feels a lot more realistic. And talking about realism! This movie - in my mind - shows us the best use of visual effects EVER!!! There is not 1 instance where you can tell it's CGI. It looks incredible. When the war machines first appear it looks so real and convincing. I don't know if they actually used models or what but they look incredible. It is also nice to see that houses blowing up etc. are the real deal and not miniatures.
4 - Overall
This is a fantastic movie. It feels sooo "spielbergian" and I truly believe this will end up being my favourite Spielberg movie so far. I just need to see a few more times to see if it really holds up. There is so much tension in this movie and it utilizes some of the best elements of Jaws, Close Encounters and Saving Ryan! Man I suck a writing about a movie, know I will stop. I could just have written 1 word: FANTASTIC!