Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

08 December 2013

Guest Commentary: War of the Worlds

I got an email from my buddy Rick a couple days ago about Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds that is too good not to post. I am going to call it a guest commentary.
Here's Rick:
I'm sitting here with Jill watching Spielberg's War of the Worlds. I remember when this movie came out a decade ago, people were all, "Wow, it's such an allegory for 9/11, and the terror we felt on that day!"

I don't think this movie has anything to do with 9/11. 9/11 was about a group of people from the third world turning our own technology against us and destroying the most potent symbols of American power and capitalism.

In this movie, gleaming, silvery towers rise out of the ground and destroy a happy, working-class, Sesame-Street style neighborhood. It's 9/11 in reverse.

Spielberg even gives away the game early in the movie: as Tom Cruise and his kids are fleeing the carnage, Dakota Fanning shrieks, "Is it the terrorists???"

No, baby. It's private equity.

Also, the ending of the movie makes the message unmistakeable: Dockworker Cruise, after having traveled through the American equivalent of Occupied France, delivers Fanning to his ex-wife's front door in a leafy, patrician Boston neighborhood. Some cars are a little out of place, but otherwise things look normal. A genteel older couple, the woman in pearls, answers the door along with the ex-wife. "Oh, it's that stevedore ex-husband of yours," you can imagine them saying. "My, that was a rough night, wasn't it?"

For the record, I recall liking the film. Thoughts here.