War of the Worlds [Blu-Ray] Steven Spielberg

War of the Worlds [Blu-Ray] Steven Spielberg
What classic science fiction stories lack in depth, character development and plausibility they make up for in spades with their allegorical mileage. The British Empire voraciously expanding across the globe? Here comes H.G. Wells' original War of the Worlds novel. Hitler marching in Austria seeming a bit suspicious? Enter Orson Welles' panic-inducing radio play. Cold War warming up? Boom: Byron Haskin's 1953 War of the Worlds adaptation, which subs in the Martian menace for the Soviets. And of course, with the attacks of September 11, 2001 comes Steven Spielberg's 2005 blockbuster adaptation, which harnesses all the anxieties of post-9/11 America into a film where blood-draining robots from another planet are meant to represent the very real threat of international terrorism. In an interview included on this Blu-Ray, Spielberg admits as much: that his War of Worlds was meant to capitalize on America's idea of a "common enemy," which was crystallizing in the first decade of the new millennium. And the movie bears this idea out repeatedly, from the American flags dotting the background to the efforts of a deadbeat, working class father (Tom Cruise) trying to redeem himself and save his family. Great. So not only are Spielberg and Cruise hocking popcorn to spectacle-starved post-9/11 moviegoers, but the very idea of America itself. Morgan Freeman even chirps in as a narrator to remind we viewers that, tsk, tsk, sometimes we get too caught up in our own concerns to realize we're being observed by some foreign threat we're oblivious to. Bland allegory aside, the movie itself is thoroughly limp. Though screenwriter David Koepp states that he wanted to jettison typical space invasion clichés from his script, the film is plagued by them as much as it is by an odd turn by Tim Robbins as a whacked-out farmer and an especially screechy Dakota Fanning as Cruise's daughter. Seriously, her constant blubbering and tendency to land smack in harm's way is so annoying that less sympathetic viewers may pray that the Martian trespassers capture her and harvest her organs, if only to get her out of the picture. The Blu-Ray disc also includes short features about H.G. Wells (who apparently never remembered his grandchildren's birthdays), production diaries and the standard special effects takedowns. (Paramount)