25 July 2005

Standby Flight

Lately I've had way too much on my mind to even think about being here. I've got pictures to post from Jersey and other places, new bands I've been listening to, things to complain about, cool links/downloads and all other things self serving.

I'm just too tired.

I've been on this plane before. The red-eye flight from here to oblivion. Sitting in this window-seat electric chair. And every time it crashes, and every time it burns, my deep-seeded fear of flying grows.
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01 July 2005

Martian Pushovers

When Orson Welles made his infamous radio broadcast on Halloween night in 1938 there was literally panic in the streets. You have to remember, it was a different era. Nobody really had television yet. No DVD's with special features. No Tivo. There wasn't the inlux of media bombarding you from every angle. Only radio.

So when you hear on your one and only connection to the outside world that Martians are attacking, you tend to think it's not a joke.

It's for this reason that the new film hits a wall. It never feels like it's really happening. Yes it's a movie and everyone knows that going in, but I'm the type of guy who likes to suspend belief. I go to movies to put myself in the shoes of the main character. The problem with this film is that the director keeps pulling me out of those shoes.

For a dock worker/deadbeat dad Tom Cruise sure notices a lot. He notices how the wind is moving toward the storm, how wind generally blows away from storms. He notices a lot of random things throughout the film that a dock worker, just trying to survive, probably wouldn't notice.

My other problem is there isn't any sense of overwhelming terror. The fear Welles conveyed so convincingly over the radio is gone, replaced with special effects and people evaporating. Yes the aliens wipe out our communication, but really, this doesn't have the claustrophobic feeling it should.

Spielberg tries desperately to get you involved with the characters. He's trying to humanize the situation he's setting up but he's not doing it right. You can see the seams. You can see how the director is crafting the thing. He's almost telling you what's going to happen next.

For all intents and purposes this is a road movie and even from the very beginning everything feels like it's on rails. It never once deviates from its track.

Maybe it's because the story doesn't hold up in these days of technology and biological weaponry. Because really, if aliens were going to invade and exterminate the human race they'd do it like we do it, with pesticide. Why use laser beams and thousands of giant robots when you can lay down a blanket of neurotoxin and wipe up the mess? I'll tell you why, because then we wouldn't get to see that dreamy Tom Cruise running around.

I mean, the overhead on those 15 story Martian deathbots has got to be through the roof.

It just feels like ever since Jurassic Park Spielberg has been doing the same thing over and over. He tries to go for the same moments of tension. Actually I dare anyone to not see the parallels between the two films. Especially when the Martians send a search probe into a house where Cruise is hiding. I felt like I was watching the kitchen scene with the raptors, right down to a trick involving a mirror.

I'm sorry to say but it all just seems rehashed, cheaply. But I guess if there was ever a real movie about the end of the world it would be very short and everyone would demand their money back.
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