A Public Service Announcement.
I usually write these things to amuse ever so slightly and ever so
briefly. But today's blather is different. I am here to warn readers of the Movie House. Run away. Run away. Run the fuck
When should you run away, you ask. Whenever you see the cover for a
movie entitled H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds (2005). Everyone knows
that Gilbert and Sullivan wrote a competing version of WOTW, so
keeping these things straight is important. This version, which
followed a masterly bit of storytelling from the 50's, and came out
the same year as the blockbuster version from Spielberg, is the single
worst movie I have ever watched. Ever. Let's put that in some
context, shall we? Last movie I reviewed was Rent-A-Girl. And not
too long ago I did this thing called Moonshine Love. Ah, the days of
Moonshine Love. I wish I could say I had watched Moonshine Love last
night for one good reason -- then I would not have watched H. G. Wells'
War of the Worlds. I would consider that a vast improvement in my
Perhaps it would be best to start by comparing this wretched hunk of
donkey shit to the Spielberg movie. We all know how that one,
with Mr. Katie Holmes in the lead, started off right nice. 'Twas
almost an hour's worth of serious entertainment. Things blew up real
good, a host of actors portrayed a people in panic; and Spielberg did
a great job of pushing the pace to get across the impending doom of
individuals and, in the end, of humankind. Righteous good stuff. But
then the former Mr. Nicole Kidman gets into a basement with Tim
Robbins and the two of them act the living fuck out of the scene and
the whole shebang turns its toes to the sky and dies. What follows is
garbage...the worst of storytelling. Oh well, it was a good first
And this version? The first minute is serious entertainment, with the
lovely Tinarie Van Wyk-Loost stepping out of a shower and drying off,
all the while talking with C. Thomas Howell (that's right...you read
that correctly....C. Thomas Howell).
All that is worth watching in this movie is Tinarie Van Wyk-Loost, who
looks more than a bit like Angelina Jolie,
topless and smiling. Nothing following this scene is worth a nanosecond of your
time. From the time her towel goes
around her bod and all her charms get covered, the movie degenerates
into the single most atrocious, incompetent, boring piece of
in the history of the universe and other things. It is
claustrophobic, with the camera showing us the edge of destruction.
So often that camera stays right smack on the face of the noted
thespian, C Thomas Howell, as he gazes upon horror rather than show us
the damn horror. And when it finally swings 'round to reveal what he
has seen, the view is fleeting. Why? Because the jackasses who
made this thing spent 11 cents on special effects. The effects are
horrible. They are wretched. They are inane. Just like the people
assigned to do them. Were CT an actor in any sense of the word, all
this might have been less obnoxious ... this tactic of having him
portray horror with his face. Oh, I agree that aged face is a
horrible sight, almost as appalling as seeing him in blackface a
couple decades ago. But the tactic of
living out the horror in the lines of another's face does not work.
Not one little bit.
The makers of this movie decided to go Mel Gibson on us. They have
turned the original's light-handed approach to the wisdom of the
Almighty into a heavy angst-ridden struggle by an Australian preacher
as he tries to make sense of aliens killing His people. You get
minute after minute of bathos and faux piety and the kind of internal
and eternal struggle that is covered nicely in a class of 5th-grade
schoolers. This stuff is so god-awful the Mrs. and I howled in pain
as one scene after another plumbed the same depths with an intellect shorter
than the former Mr. Mimi Rogers. We wore out the frickin' FF button. I am sending the
producers of this movie a bill for its replacement.
I could go on. The silly-ass bastards hired Gary Busey's son to play
the quintessential Gary Busey role of a crazed military commander.
All the boy had to do was watch one or two of his dad's later efforts
and then imitate him as best he could...which turned out to be not so
good. They also hired the lovely Tinarie to play Howell's wife and
the mother of their 10-yr-old son. Tinarie is 26 years old right now.
She was at most 24 when the movie was filmed. And she looks younger.
That would have made her 14 when the kid was supposed to be born.
Fourteen... as in years old.... as in the age of Jerry Lee Lewis's
cousin when he married her. All that suggests the producer needed
to read more carefully. Tinarie is from South Africa, not South
Perhaps all that is wrong with this making of War of the Worlds can be
summed up in one scene. CT and the Aussie preacher are making their
way through the Virginia countryside to Washington DC. CT has to get
there to see if his child-bride and his son (played by his real-life
son) are still alive. But are they hauling ass, moving with any
alacrity, adopting a pace that befits their mission? No way, dude.
They are walking at a pace that a couple of octogenarians who have
discovered true love in their last years might achieve on a
particularly bad, arthritic day. And then, for no reason we
could see, they stop. Dead stop, no movement, right there in the
middle of things.
Would only the movie had done likewise.