War of the Worlds

Writing about 100 films you must see and avoiding the obvious ones becomes quite a task (I’ve found this out after 68 films!). I’ve also found that I’ve returned to reoccurring themes with directors that I adore but feel are under appreciated (Walter Hill is the best example).

In trying to avoid the obvious films you must see I’ve skipped much of Kubrick, Welles, Scorsese, Scott and Spielberg. But actually, I’ve skipped Spielberg on purpose for the most part. I like Jaws, I loved Indiana Jones as kid. ET was great as a child but I can’t really watch it now. Close Encounters was good (but of its time). I’m not keen on much else, and that includes Schindler’s List (I know, where’s my Oscar, right?)

However, one Spielberg film I do like a lot, and that I will now write about is War of the Worlds from 2005. This is one of Spielberg’s least liked films. I find it one of his best entertainments. Intelligent, exiting, moving, suspenseful and great use of digital special effects.

Cruise is very good in this (even if when playing his real age he still looks far too young). The rest of the cast are great with standout work from a brilliant Tim Robbins.

The general public being disappointed with this film hints at what’s truly behind it. The message of the film reflects what’s going on in the world today; it’s hidden, but there if you look for it. And the vast American public didn’t like Spielberg’s message.

So the film was rejected and has received low ratings from critics and the general public alike.

So political messages aren’t really welcome in films from Spielberg.

I’m sure he’ll get over it.

So, 32 films to go…

Matthew Cooper has written for Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. He was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge and the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize. His first short film starred a then unknown Ewan McGregor and was picked up by Channel Four when Matthew was 19 years old. He’s been a script writer for hire and filmmaker for hire for over 20 years.