My wife and I finally saw War of the Worlds last night. Despite the film’s flaws (it falls apart as soon as Tim Robbins shows up) I liked it. What it lacked over the original was that sense of faith. I love the ending of the original which sees bacteria as something God in his wisdom prepares. While having a very different plot, the film Signs from a few years ago follows the undertone of the original War of the Worlds. (Recall how the asthma and water drinking save the life of the child) I still love the ending to the original film of War of the Worlds and the religious overtones. This new version fails because the ending comes out of left field and is completely untied to any of the themes of the film. (Which has the rather good theme of finding value in ones kids and a critique of family dysfunction) It just doesn’t work.
The other thing I found interesting in the film though was the idea of preparing for the end. Now I suspect most of us since the end of the cold war don’t really take the supply of food as seriously anymore. I remember as a child tying it to nuclear war or the like. There was always this quasi-survivalist mindset to food storage. The last decade it has more been emphasized as a way to plan for unemployment or short term emergencies like water contamination.
I’m certainly not saying that one ought have food storage to prepare for an alien invasion. That’d be silly. But what the film struck home to me is that we really don’t know what can happen. Did anyone think back on the morning of 9/11 that things like that would be transpiring? What about the people up in Idaho back in the 80’s when the floods hit? Residents of Florida are more prepared for disaster. But what about the rest of us? Bad things can happen suddenly. Perhaps the threat of terrorism isn’t as bad as the threats of nuclear war. And I think those of us outside of major metropolitan areas tend to see it more as a “big city” threat. But what would we do in an emergency?