The movie: W o W indeed!
From my admittedly biased viewpoint, War of the Worlds was awesome -- in the genuine, pre-Gen X sense of the word. I was riveted to my seat for almost the entire  minutes, which was notably shorter than I had expected. Like a roller-coaster ride, however, it seemed a lot longer. I had anticipated the incredible, state-of-the-art special effects, such as the utter destruction of that huge arched bridge which is seen in the movie trailers. From what I can tell in my DeLorme Street Atlas, it was probably the Bayonne Bridge, which connects Staten Island to Bergen Point, New Jersey. There was no attempt to replicate the kitschy obliteration of national landmarks as in Independence Day, which was just as well. The focus of the movie was on the Ferrier family, and the character development and acting were as high quality as in practically any other science fiction movie I've ever seen. Jacqueline, who has a strong distaste for science fiction movies -- No me gustan las peliculas fantásticas -- decided not to go at the last minute. No matter; the scenes I was in were too rushed and filled with explosions for anyone to be able to pick out faces in the background or even see my white knit cap. Perhaps in slow-motion when the DVDs come out... After the ferry crossing scene, I instantly recognized the farm house at Set #2, as shown in the map of the set in yesterday's post. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that at least 20 minutes of the movie took place at that house, when Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning were hiding in the basement with deranged survivor Tim Robbins. That is where some of the best alien close-up special effects are seen. Unfortunately, there is a locked gate on the road to that house, so I couldn't take a picture of it when I returned to the movie set in March. I have added a second photo of the movie set on the War of the Worlds archive page, taken from the position where the "alien tripods" were coming. Contrary to the impression that we extras on the set were given, that battle scene was not toward the climactic end of the movie, but just over half way through it. Also, I was surprised to see M-1 Abrams tanks charging up the same hill in the movie; no tanks were present on the day when I was there, just Humvees. The scene of the refugees marching along the road at Set #1 apparently ended up on the cutting floor; perhaps it will make the extended DVD version. Thanks to Donald Sensing for linking to yesterday's posting. When it comes to military matters, and especially the vital personnel side of military matters, he is the true voice of authority.
The precocious pre-teen sweetheart Dakota Fanning appeared on Dave Letterman last night; her constant giggles were in marked contrast to her many blood-curdling screams in the movie. Dave said in his monologue: "I don't want to spoil the ending, but Tom Cruise saves the Earth by converting the aliens to Scientology."