On Saturday this past weekend, one of the cable networks aired War of the Worlds, starring Tom Cruise. We were visiting my in-laws and I watched bits and pieces of the movie while we were hanging out in the basement. I’d seen the movie before, at least a couple times, and even though it stars one of the reigning kings of Scientology, it isn’t a bad flick overall.
What I’d suggest though is to watch the movie from the prepper perspective. There are several scenes that are rather eye-opening, especially as a means of illustrating just how bad things can get, and just how fast that can happen.
For those who’ve not seen the movie, here’s a very brief recap. Tom Cruise plays Ray, an average Joe who has had limited contact with his son (roughly 17) and daughter (around 8 or so) after his wife divorced him. The ex-wife has made arrangements for Ray to take care of the kids for a few days and drops them off.
Soon after, a bizarre lightning storm hits and it disables all electronics, including vehicles. Ray mentions to a local mechanic that replacing the solenoid might fix the problem. That’s when things really start to take a turn. Huge tripod machines erupt from the ground and begin attacking the city. People are killed left and right and Ray manages to get back home to rescue his kids. They take shelter in the basement of his house for the night. In the morning, after seeing a passenger jet has crashed in his front yard, Ray decides to take the kids to be with their mom, who has gone on a short trip.
They go to the mechanic’s garage and learn that replacing the solenoid did indeed do the trick and they steal it. The rest of the movie concerns their trip.
There are a few scenes worth noting, again viewing the movie from the prepper mindset.
1) When Ray and the kids leave his home, he hands his son a box and tells him to fill it with food. Their first stop after that is the ex-wife’s house in New Jersey. When they arrive, Ray unpacks the box and finds it is just condiments, no real food, inside. He yells at the son for not packing food and the son replies that he packed what Ray had in the kitchen. In other words, Ray had no food in the house to begin with.
Lesson — How much food do YOU have that you could pack up at a moment’s notice?
2) During their drive from New Jersey to Boston, they approach a ferry dock. There, the van is overwhelmed by the massive crowd, who is all on foot. They literally pull Ray from the van after smashing windows, everyone desperate to find some means of escape. Ray finally relinquishes the van, but not until after he’s pulled a revolver and threatened people to keep back. Another guy comes up behind him, puts a gun to his head, and tells him to drop his pistol. Ray does so and convinces the guy to just let him grab his daughter from the van. Shortly after the van starts to roll away, another member of the crowd picks up Ray’s gun and shoots the driver several times. More and more people begin attacking each other, all vying for control of the one working vehicle.
Lesson — how could you possibly defend yourself and your family from a massive crowd, all people who are bent on taking what you have?
3) Later in the film, Ray and his daughter spend a night with another survivor, played by Tim Robbins. They go to great lengths to be as quiet as possible, lest aliens in the area find them in the basement. When Tim’s character suffers a mental breakdown, he begins yelling and ranting. Concerned about the noise, as well as for the safety of his daughter, Ray kills him.
Lesson — how far would YOU go to protect your family, even if they are not being directly threatened?
All in all, it isn’t a bad flick, though of course there are at least a few head scratchers. If the aliens are advanced enough to have planted these machines on Earth thousands of years ago and then transport themselves into them via lightning bursts, wouldn’t you think they’d have planned for Earth’s pathogens?
Where I think the movie truly excels is in showing just how horrible people will be to one another when the chips are down.