ORBzine - Movie Reviews July 2005


War of the Worlds (2005)

This film, impressive as the CGI SPFX may be, is just Steven Spielberg does the Simpsons. As a drama, though - there aren't many laughs in this. Not intentionally, anyhow. And despite the violence, it's not really action-adventure either.

The Simpsons is a cartoon about a working-class slob named Homer. Here, Homer [Tom Cruise] has to get Lisa [Dakota Fanning] and Bart to safety when Tripods stomp Springfield.

Homer isn't an action hero - he couldn't be mistaken for Cruise's characters in Collateral or Mission: Impossible . However, just like in the cartoon he does something brave to save his daughter. Miranda Otto makes a brief appearance. She's the nearest thing to a love interest Cruise has.

If you liked A.I. ... you'll like WOTW (2005) . Spielberg does what he did with A.I. - takes a SciFi classic, adds lots of SPFX, gritty drama ... but family values and sickly-sweet ending. Minority Report , same thing too.

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  • Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith

    George Lucas has finally given us the missing installment of the Star Wars series. And to be fair, it's the best of the Prequels.

    We open on the climax of the Clone Wars. Obi-Wan and Anakin must rescue Chancellor Palpatine from the clutches of Count Dooku. We get a flurry of CGI spaceships and Jedi violence. They're so unstoppable, it's just not exciting. Then, in a duel reminiscent of the Throne Room scene in Return of the Jedi , Dooku is disposed of. We all know what's really going on, what Palpy's plan is, but it

    Back on Coruscant, Anakin is reunited with Natalie Portman . They've managed to keep their relationship secret [HOW?!?], though Palpy knows about it and subtly manipulates Anikin into becoming his apprentice.

    As a tie-in with the Clone Wars cartoons, General Grevious [a character no doubt invented only to sell toys!] is the main villain for longer than Dooku is! However, things play out as we all know they will. Palpy's evil plan comes to fruition, with increasing references to the contemporary Neo-Con US Government. Only the Sith deal in absolutes ... is a great quote.

    There are 5 lightsaber battles in this film, so there's plenty of Jedi action. And all our favourite Jedi get to do a bit of fighting. Obiwan, Mace Windu, Yoda - against opponents like Grevious, Sidious and Anakin.

    Ian McDiarmuid, as Palpatine, really steals the show. Samuel L Jackson [Mace Windu] almost matches him, but has only a minor supporting role. Portman, a feisty proto-Leia in the first 2 films, has nothing to do. She's completely wasted, in more ways than one. Even Ewan McGregor doesn't get a chance to really act, as we all know he's capable of. And Bai Ling gotr her part trimmed - perhaps because she was in Playboy, but Lucas also cut his own daughter's cameo from the same scene. He DID manage to give Chewbacca a small role, as a GENERAL!

    While Lucas didn't make good use of an amazing cast, he spared no expense on the SPFX. There are at least 3 times as many CGI people credited to the film as there are actors, and that includes the actors whose parts were trimmed!

    The music is also disappointing, to say the least. John Williams, creator of the Raiders' March among others, has delivered a lacklustre score.

    However, it is the visuals that really matter. The closing moments, when Vader and Tarkin [Wayne Pygram - Farscape] watch the construction of the Death Star, promise a lot. And the sight of Lars and Beru holding the baby Luke as they watch Tatooine's twin suns set is a wonderful conclusion.

    As has been said, this is the best of the Prequels. Damning by faint praise, perhaps. But as a bridging point between the Prequels and the Real trilogy, it does its job admirably.

  • SW Ep I: Phantom Menace
  • SW Ep II: Attack of the Clones
  • SW Ep IV: A New Hope
  • SW Ep V: Empire Strikes Back
  • SW Ep VI: Return of the Jedi
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