Monday, December 19, 2005


The latest Steven Spielberg movie, Munich, is in trouble already if Spielberg has to resort to hiring an Israeli political advisor to Ariel Sharon to try to cushion the movie from anticipated criticism.

Munich promises to be another Spielberg loser and a reason why DreamWorks studios had to be sold to pay enormous debts. (See previous entries) You might just say that it had to be sold to pay for Spielberg's enormous ego because the division in deep dirt was their movie studios. The animation group appears to be self-functioning, but that's because they kept Spielberg far, far away.

We recently rented Spielberg's War of the Worlds. It is a horrendously awful film. A dysfunctional family, a dysfunctional "hero" so badly drawn that you wondered if the intent actually was to make Tom Cruise a retarded parent just to invoke sympathy for the character. Every scene with Tom Cruise was so focussed on him that they could have CGI-ed an entire cast and no one would have noticed. Worse, a movie that featured panicked citizenry had crowd scenes that were so unconvincing that they appear frozen while waiting for someone, anyone, to use a megaphone to tell them to run. NOW. A policeman who obviously moonlights as such because his full-time job must be at Public Works is seen staring down at a widening hole in the pavement authoritatively claiming "There's no water mains down there." In the middle of an intersection. (Policemen know these things when it moves the scene along.)

The extras on the disk include interviews with people who created the monsters. "Steven wanted to call them tripods." "So, going along with that, we gave them three eyes." etc etc etc. Gene Barry was no genius in the original, but he knew it. Tom Cruise has no such humility. And the special effects and artwork people appear to be sycophants whose loyalty was measured by how many times they mentioned "Steven." But the real killer was that they tell you that they decided to do everything opposite of the original movie. The monsters come up from the ground, instead of from the sky. See how original they can be? All of that, however, wasn't the kiss of death.

It was a movie shot with no apparent script, improvisation apparent in just about every scene. In fact, the entire middle section with Tim Robbins was entirely pointless, full of what appears to be unscripted dialogue that went nowhere. It not only was pointless, Tim Robbins with breasts was revolting to see. The only lucid actors in the movie appear to be the child actors whose egos didn't demand they screw around with scenes. The movie may have recouped it's production costs, but I doubt it made enough to pay for the publicity costs which usually cost as much as the movie itself.

The lesson of DreamWorks is that media hype only goes so far anymore. It won't save a lousy movie. The Democrat party ought to be paying close attention. There's a lesson there.

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