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War of the Worlds


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#1 Gregor Mac

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 07:36 AM

Just saw the movie. Great lighting and sense of perspective - especially the scene where the martians were advancing over the hill in the distance as Cruise and family got out of the water when the boat sank. I think that has to be the best shot in the movie.

The urban scenes in NYC were well done too and I think that the actors did a good job in the context. Overall in combat scenes I think that there was not too much camera shake which was good.

The film did give a sense of reality, in the context of the subject matter. So top marks to the DPs and the CGI people.

You have to remember, it's not going to look real because it simply isn't real and isn't ever going to be real.

Remember, there really was a war of the worlds - it was called Saipan 1944, or Iwo Jima 1945, or the Battle off Samar 1944 - take your pick - if they shot that it would look 100% more authentic.

Your thoughts?>
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#2 Tim Tyler

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 06:55 PM

I think that has to be the best shot in the movie.

I thought the best shot was the 'van driving down the parkway' shot that went uncut for a couple of minutes. Sure it was all probably shot on a green screen, but the combination of all the talent, technical elements, camera moves and pacing really worked for me.

I was really entertained by this WOTW. It's master filmmaking on all levels. The production design, lighting, music and editing all fit together well.

I especially liked all the lighting in Tim Robbins scenes which reminded me of David Lean/Guy Green for some reason.
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#3 Michael Most

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 10:21 PM

I was really entertained by this WOTW. It's master filmmaking on all levels. The production design, lighting, music and editing all fit together well.


I am a big fan of Steven Spielberg as a virtuoso director and storyteller.

Now, having said that, I felt that this picture was pointless, mindless, and tedious. It is devoid of any character development, emotional involvement, or coherent story, and seems to exist for the sole purpose of blowing things up. When it was over, my only comment was "well, that was..... uhhh....... big." For me, this was a major, major disappointment, and by far the most disappointing picture from Steven that I have seen. I understand and somewhat agree that sometimes a picture can be created for the sole purpose of visual entertainment, but when comparing this to a much more substantial piece of entertainment (Batman Begins comes to mind) the weaknesses are overwhelming.

The effects work is generally quite good, although I wasn't very fond of the scene outside the house, which was clearly shot on a stage. The background integration in that scene was not very convincing, at least to my eyes. However, I've only seen a picture whose effects were so original and seamless that they actually made a bad picture worthwhile once ("Starship Troopers"). This wasn't at that level.
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#4 Tim Tyler

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 11:17 PM

I was a big fan of Spielberg in my teens and 20's, but I've moved past that.

> pointless, mindless, and tedious.

I think the point of the movie is 'summer entertainment' and I think (as do most critics apparently) that it succeeds there without question.

Mindless? I suppose that's in the eyes (or mind) of the beholder, but I saw a subtle anti-war / anti-invasion message.

With the exception of the mom's house INT which seemed slow and pointless to me, I thouight the overall pacing was far from tedious.

> devoid of any character development,

I thought Cruise's character grew above the abrasive, selfish, overly confident dock worker he started out as. Plus, if they allowed for more character development, then I think the pacing would suffer.

> devoid of ... emotional involvement, or coherent story

I bought into the relationships between Cruise's disfunctional family. I guess I bought into the whole movie.

I didn't go to the theater expecting to be educated, or to have my views of Martians challenged, or to see Tom Cruise do Shakespeare, I went to see well choreographed pretty pictures of things blowing up :)

AND I got to see the King Kong trailer!
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#5 Matt Pacini

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 02:07 PM

I thought it was terrific, perfect for what it was intended to be, and I don't even believe in aliens!

I just can't believe the criticism I hear about this movie.
All movies of this kind, are monster movies:
monster chasing, people running, period.
Anything else is just icing on the cake.
It's not supposed to be "profound" or "enlightening", and frankly, if it were, it would bring the whole movie down, and the critics would whine about that.
Why would you go see this movie if you were expecting anything else?

MP
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#6 Roman

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 03:04 PM

I am a big fan of Steven Spielberg as a virtuoso director and storyteller. Now, having said that, I felt that this picture was pointless, mindless, and tedious.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


:D

I just love to see how Steven Spielberg causes passionate discussion and creates totally opposite opinions about his body of work as a whole or about any particular movie he makes. It looks like all with Mr. Spielberg becomes too personal for so many people.

?Schindler?s List? has gotten praises all over the world but simultaneously is ?emotional pornography? because of who know what for someone else. For "mmost" War of the Worlds is "tedious" but I have heard someone talking that it felt like is only half an hour long - that's how exciting was for those people (sitting beside me in the theatre)...

Sometimes I think there always will be people denying (in a sense) Steven Spielberg a right to do anything only because he is capable of doing everything.
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#7 timHealy

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 06:40 PM

I thought it was terrific, perfect for what it was intended to be, and I don't even believe in aliens!

I just can't believe the criticism I hear about this movie.
All movies of this kind, are monster movies:
monster chasing, people running, period.
Anything else is just icing on the cake.
It's not supposed to be "profound" or "enlightening", and frankly, if it were, it would bring the whole movie down, and the critics would whine about that.
Why would you go see this movie if you were expecting anything else?

MP

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I worked on the movie in NY, NJ, CT and VA and saw it last night. I have to say many of the effects were even more spectacular than I had expected, even having seen some of the story boards. Visually, the film was nothing less than terrific. Story wise, I had expected your typical summer fare so some of the criticism seems to be misplaced. It is a summer blockbuster type film! If it were more cerebral, the marketing people may have waited for fall or winter. To me it even felt like a B movie from the 50's in the way it started with Morgan Freemans narration.

So I wonder if they could have done better if they had more time. From what I understand, Cruises schedule changed and they flipped two movies and pushed this way up on him and Spielberg. There were many aspects that seemed to be rushed and there was no room for error in the shooting schedule. But the Spielberg group likes to work fast anyway, so I don't think it really phased them.

I also wonder how much some of the criticism is a backlash to his latest public appearances that seem to have some people puzzled.

Having said all that, this was a terrific film to work on and watch. But I wouldn't take it (or Cruise)too seriously. It is a summer action movie. It won't be an award winner, except maybe effects, or something like sound.

Just my 2 cents

Tim

Edited by heel_e, 30 June 2005 - 06:48 PM.

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#8 Mark Allen

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 06:53 PM

My thoughts... SPOILERS

The cinematography and style was top notch. It felt real and appropriate. The visual effects were great. The blocking of the action was notably good. The sequencing of shots and the coverage of the storytelling was great. Dakota Fanning nearly steals the movie from Tom Cruise - she's incredible. And I could go on saying lots of nice things about it.

But I still wanted more. I still never totally locked into the movie at almost any level - and that's a shame. I think it actually had more to do with the plot structuring. I felt like a bunch of stuff happened and while I know I was supposed to care... I didn't. I didn't really see any invasion statement being made - though that would have been a good angle. I totally got the family bonding thing of course - but I'm not sure I totally felt that either.

So - it was so well put together but I still wanted more. I wanted to care more. Am I greedy?

I'm sure lots of very smart people worked on the script and I'm not going to solve the problem of the story in the time I write this posting - but I think a major clue is when the boy's desire to run off. It seems like he was pissed at his Dad for not being an attentive father and he needed to take care of his sister. But then he wanted to run off on his own. Now, it's true, his desire to run off on his own was consistent - but I never understood how it made sense other than to let us share some Tom/Dakota time. When he left the final time I thought there was no way he'd leave his sister. And I think it's that sort of disbelief which took me out of the movie.

If you look at Close Encounters and ET - he really captured "something incredible" happening and you really felt it. I think because you really connected with the people in the story.

So I felt about this like I did Jurassic Park... Lots of stuff happened. I preferred War of the World to Jurrassic because I liked the presentation of the stuff more - but I missed the emotional connection found in ET and Close Encounters.
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#9 Mark Allen

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 06:55 PM

But the Spielberg group likes to work fast anyway, so I don't think it really phased them.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That's an interesting thing to say, could you expand on that a little? I'm just curious since it sounds like you've worked with them how this fastness evidences itself.

thanks.
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#10 timHealy

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 07:51 PM

That's an interesting thing to say, could you expand on that a little?  I'm just curious since it sounds like you've worked with them how this fastness evidences itself.

thanks.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hey Mark,

I completely agree with your analysis of the story and comparisions to ET and Close Encounters about feeling something special happened. I would also say too that I felt Schindlers List and Minority report felt like a better film, story wise than War of the Worlds.

The only thing I can attest to is that in terms of the speed in which they shoot: is having heard and seen comments Spielberg has made over the years in behind the scenes documentaries.
Also comments from friends who worked on the NY portions of The Terminal, Catch Me If You Can, and seeing how fast things can go with my own eyes on War of the Worlds. First with so many effects shots everything is planned and it is just a matter of getting it on film (In a Hitchcock way). Almost.

For example they had detailed maps with camera postions and schedules for the entire Ironbound section of Newark where Cruise sees the local tripod reveal itself. That portion was the first 5 days of the shoot. When call time was at 6 am, Spielberg was on the set at 6 am ready to work, and on most days the first take of the first shot was almost as fast as 6:30 and definately within an hour. Especially fast when all those shots had so many extras, so many effects, so many crushed prop cars, camera cranes, dollys, car rigs, green screens, so many things to think about and consider and they banged out shots one after another. Lighting wise, they were using HMI's, tungsten, and Lightning Strikes, and many times all at the same time.

The only time there was much waiting around was the first night shoot in Athens. The night it snowed a little which can be seen around the burning train portion of the film. Cruise was suppose to fly up from Manhattan but due to the weather they had to drive him up which delayed things about two hours. All films can have a slow moment of two, but this film production moved faster than most and with the plethora of elements that any individually would crush a less prepared shoot. At times amazing, considering the orchestration of everything.

Although I was available, I wasn't able to work on the LA portion so I cannot comment about any of that work.

I hope that helps.

Tim
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#11 Gregor Mac

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 05:49 AM

The cinematography and style was top notch.  It felt real and appropriate.  The visual effects were great.  The blocking of the action was notably good.  The sequencing of shots and the coverage of the storytelling was great.  Dakota Fanning nearly steals the movie from Tom Cruise - she's incredible.  And I could go on saying lots of nice things about it.

But I still wanted more.  I still never totally locked into the movie at almost any level - and that's a shame.  I think it actually had more to do with the plot structuring.  I felt like a bunch of stuff happened and while I know I was supposed to care... I didn't.  I didn't really see any invasion statement being made - though that would have been a good angle.  I totally got the family bonding thing of course - but I'm not sure I totally felt that either.

So - it was so well put together but I still wanted more.  I wanted to care more.  Am I greedy?

I'm sure lots of very smart people worked on the script and I'm not going to solve the problem of the story in the time I write this posting - but I think a major clue is when the boy's desire to run off.  It seems like he was pissed at his Dad for not being an attentive father and he needed to take care of his sister.  But then he wanted to run off on his own.  Now, it's true, his desire to run off on his own was consistent - but I never understood how it made sense other than to let us share some Tom/Dakota time.  When he left the final time I thought there was no way he'd leave his sister.  And I think it's that sort of disbelief which took me out of the movie. 

If you look at Close Encounters and ET - he really captured "something incredible" happening and you really felt it.  I think because you really connected with the people in the story. 

So I felt about this like I did Jurassic Park... Lots of stuff happened.  I preferred War of the World to Jurrassic because I liked the presentation of the stuff more - but I missed the emotional connection found in ET and Close Encounters.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I agree totally Mark.

The reasons this film doesn't connect is, in my view, one thing - the story is implausible, but nevertheless interesting. Interesting doesn't make emotional connection. Real and plausible and relevant to all of us does. I am not saying that the acting and production wasn't top notch - it clearly was.

There were a couple of moments in the film where the story was totally plausible - such as when the mob was trying to get the car - but that's because we see this type of thing in the news when there is a civil emergency - think of what happened last year on Boxing Day...we can all experience that feeling of panic.

My 2 cents - I find reading about the Pacific War and listening to veterans stories about "feeling like ants" on the beach when the Navy was bombarding the entrenched Japanese, and reading about the sword wielding, fanatic and desperate Japanese much more dreadful, fantastic and heart wrenching than this story and this movie..

That's because it was real. For an "unlikely" story with all of its limitations in finding connections with our lives, I think Spielberg et al did a great job.

Your thoughts on this issue about the subject matter?
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#12 Eugene Lehnert

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 08:29 AM

I saw the movie last night and I liked it but I felt it was kind of missing something. It was kind of anticlimatic.

Also what happened to the guy who did the voice for the teaser???? His voice was frightening. Why did they get Morgan Freeman to do it? Those teasers were amazing. The opening dialogue seemed a bit rushed where that guy who did the trailer was truly frightening with his slow dark voice. So in the beginning the mood was much different from what I expected after seeing the trailer.

I also wasn't a fan of the filter being used. It made the film look kind of glossy when it wasn't a glossy film. The movie bordered on horror and I liked that. Real horror is feeling the kind of fear that you are helpless and powerless to do anything to save yourself, where all you can do is run, where your whole entire world has been turned upside down in an instant. It really reminded me of being in NY on 9/11. The clothing was falling just like the paper was out of the Trade Center buildings. When everyone attacks the car like animals was a really good moment. It's strange how during panic you can walk into a diner and be completely alone while there is chaos going on outside.

But in the end I felt it was kind of anticlimatic. It might be kind of trite but I would have liked to have seen Cruise look down the barrel of one of the tripods and just have it do nothing. Then watch others start to fall. Also the aliens kind of looked like the aliens from Independence Day. It's a shame if the movie suffered because it was all rushed.
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#13 Tim Tyler

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 11:32 AM

...and on most days the first take of the first shot was almost as fast as 6:30 and definately within an hour. Especially fast when all those shots had so many extras, so many effects, so many crushed prop cars, camera cranes, dollys, car rigs, green screens, so many things to think about and consider and they banged out shots one after another. Lighting wise, they were using HMI's, tungsten, and Lightning Strikes, and many times all at the same time.


I don't want to change the subject here, but this reminds me of a thread a while back that questioned how some movies justify being so expensive to produce. It takes a lot of professional communication and preparation to create a set like the one heel_e describes. Not only does everyone need to be 100% on the same page, but there needs to be a backup plan for everything. That costs time and money.
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#14 Richard Boddington

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 02:44 PM

"and by far the most disappointing picture from Steven that I have seen."

Ah did you see "AI"? It doesn't get any worse than that, I'm sure War Of The Worlds is much better.

When I saw AI in a packed house I could over hear people saying, "This is the worst movie I have ever seen."

R,
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#15 Filip Plesha

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 03:36 PM

I've just seen it.

The funny thing was that in the middle of the movie there was this huge storm in the town, and you could hear the rain and wind and thunder from outside of cinema, and
then the electricity ran out, so we were all like waiting for electricity.
That's funny cause in the movie everyone loses electricity, and not we lost it in cinema too


about the film...

I was not expecting to see deep art out of such a movie, nor was that intention of the author, so considering all that I think it is a great movie.
The only criteria that you can judge a movie by is what was the intention of the author.
If he wanted to scare you, and you got scared, then it was a good movie. If he wanted to bring you a message, or bring a certain artistic vision to you, and he did it, then it is a good movie.

In this case it was supose to be a mix of fear, agorafobia, claustrofobia and tension

The film brought all these feelings to me
I haven't realy been on the edge of my seat since the mid 90's, and this time it really worked for me.

And just when I thought we have seen everything regarding visual effects, Spielberg comes in and suprizes me. It isn't overdone. all is kept from a low human perspective (unlike what George Lucas does) and very real. The sound effects are awsome too.

The horn sound reminds me of that part in the bible about armagedon:
"and the third angel blew his trumphet" or whatever it goes like (can't remember)
That is how I always imagined that sound. Just like in the movie.

I like the first half of film better, the storm, the initial desturctions..

It all gives me that feeling when the storm is comming and I found my self stareing at these giant black clouds. They really captured that feeling on film.

It's not really profound art, but it's good old fashion entertainment that Spielberg always knew how to bring. And I van't been entertained like that in quite a while.
I've been moved and fascinated, but not entertained.
This time it was real entertainment, tension, believability, realism (it's extreamly hard to make such a movie realistic) etc.
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#16 Filip Plesha

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 03:43 PM

oh yea, forgot to mention, the print was really good. Decent contrast and great colors, specially on the scene in the harbour in the begining.
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#17 Mark Allen

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 05:26 PM

SPOILERS

Your thoughts on this issue about the subject matter?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The more I think about it - the more I think I would have appreciated some greater metaphorical connection. Some people have said the movie was a comment on invasions. I think that some of what made the opening of Saving Private Ryan so powerful was the insight into the horror of that moment. Without making a political comment on a cerebral level, he captured something which was so insane and so horrific - and, in some ways, very similar in the sense of being totally overwhelmed. But wihtout knowin ANY of the characters, the details of the moment really told the story.

The car jacking scene was one of my favorite because I felt like it really lent itself to this feeling. That would have been something if the whole movie had continued that way... Filip is saying "The only criteria that you can judge a movie by is what was the intention of the author.
If he wanted to scare you, and you got scared, then it was a good movie." But I didn't feel scared... I felt like an observer. I definitely felt something at the beginning of Saving Private Ryan.

Another thing is that at the end... that was an awsome idea - that we had earned the right to live here and become immune to the tiniest elements.... these aliens were exhibiting huge forces of power, but they were not able to battle the tiniest molecules. That was really cool. I would have liked to see the movie introduce that in the 2nd act so that by the end it made perfect sense. Even if it was dealing with the idea of maybe the mother was sick and was worried about her T-cell count and maybe that is why she was going away for the weekend. Some how making that concept a motif of the movie would have made the ending much more satisfying.

I felt very disconnected to the entire Tim Robbins Basement section all the way up to and including the heroic conclusion of it. That part was all Jurssaic Park for me - just stuff happening. Never felt anything - not fear, not curiousity - though the aliens themselves were from an FX point of view very strong.

I thought the movie at the opening had a ton of potential - I love the "what if something profoundly unusual happened?" People don't realize how bad things will get... to that end, here is a video tape shot during the phucket tsunami http://www.archive.o.../tsunami_phuket . People are expecting how bad things are going to get. Why should they? It's beyond their understanding of reality. This movie did capture some of that - but it needed to be sustained and instead dwindled away.

Lastly - I spoke to someone who worked on the FX and they commented that most of the FX while planned in advance were done totally in CG. This is a new trend and it makes shooting much easier. I think it is starting to show better results as well, but it is incredibly labor intensive. Just imagine the intersection scene and know that none of that stuff was being done practically. Imagine the labor that went into even splitting the pavement and imagine how much time and effort that saved on the set without having to rig that with gimbles and practicals - yet how believable it looked. Kudos to the FX team.
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#18 Matt Pacini

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 07:00 PM

Sorry, I just don't get the criticism.
This is not some "other" movie, it's War of the Worlds for cryin' out loud!
Perhaps it only works on us "old farts" who remember all the alien movies of the 50s & 60's, that ALL had the theme of:
They're going to kill us.
They're going to eat us.
They're going to colonize us.

I'll bet Speilberg has wanted to make this since he was 14 years old.
That's what he did; an old fashioned alien movie with modern technology to make it... better..

Ironically, Speilberg himself is probably to blame for a lot of this.
Before Close Encounters & ET, most (if not all) films about aliens were of the old breed: they're hostile, they're superior, and they're going to kick our asses.

Post-Close Encounters & ET, suddenly our entire culture about what we think about alien life changed;
They're kind.
They're gentle.
They're just concerned about what we're doing to the planet, blah blah blah, which is ridiculous of course.

MP

P.S. I thought A.I. was terrific.
I guess it works better on you if you don't have your parents anymore, otherwise you wouldn't be able to identify with the central character & it would just seem an empty plot.
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#19 Filip Plesha

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 07:04 PM

then it must be that it just depends on what things push your personal buttons

The part about basement did affect me. I felt it.
Not knowing what is out there and who are you up against, then these creatures come in, you really know nothing about them.
The detail with the bicycle gives them a lot of realism. Something so everyday like the sound and motion of turning of the bicycle wheel in interaction with these creatures that are the main threat in the movie.

And regarding the outdoors, I think the sound is what gave the dimension to the threat. The perfect simulation of outdoor reverb really gave me the sense of scale and the CG illusion was instantly replaced with real space, houses and these machines.


I guess it isn't such a good movie if it didn't cause these reactions in everyone else, I guess it just worked for me.

Another thing that really made me experience the whole thing the way I did is that nothing was shown in trailers, and I didn't know what to expect: ships from the sky, or whatever. I really didn't see those walking machines comming. That was a suprize and I was like sitting there with my eyes wide open hypnotized by what was going on. I felt like those people on streets
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#20 Nate Downes

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 08:14 PM

I still want to make my own 50's-esque monster movie. Spielberg just did the granddaddy of them all, the H.G.Wells masterpiece. I'd not be surprised if more like this start arriving over the next few years.
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