AT THE MOVIES WITH KASEY BUTCHER

It’s a summer of remakes. It seems that no one has an original idea this season. There’s Bad News Bears, Herbie: Fully Loaded, and The Honeymooners. Then there’s Bewitched and War of the Worlds.

Bewitched, however, takes a new approach to the remake. Instead of simply using the same characters and the same plotline as the original television series starring Elizabeth Montgomery, this version comes up with its own characters and its own—well, sort of—plot line. In the movie, Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) is an actor looking to rebound after an awful year. His last movie tanked (worse than Gigli) and his wife left him, kicking him out of the house. To rebound, he decides to star as Darren in a TV remake of Bewitched. He wants to cast a nobody as the lead so that he will be the star instead of the actress playing Samantha. He is immediately charmed by the nose-wriggling of Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman), not knowing that she, like Sam, is a witch trying to give up the craft to lead a normal life. And, just like Darren, Jack falls for the witch, causing himself more trouble (and fun) than he expected. Meanwhile, all of the old favorites show up: Endora (Shirley MacClaine), Uncle Arthur, (Steve Carell), the nosy neighbors, and the meddling father (Michael Cain).

Brought to you by screenwriting goddess Nora Ephron, best known for such classics as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail, Bewitched is a sweet, funny, enjoyable, well acted movie that left me giddy and trying to wriggle my nose afterward. The ending’s a little cheesy, but it’s forgivable.

 

The same cannot be said for Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, based upon the novel by H.G. Wells. The movie, like the book, starts with the eerie statement, that, though none of us would have suspected it, we have been observed for a long time from afar by another planet and the beings of this planet want Earth, without us. Then comes the lightening storm. 38 strikes in the same spot. Then come giant three-legged fighting machines. So much for little green men from mars, because there’s no way these Martians have come in peace. Amidst these attacks a formerly deadbeat dad (Tom Cruise) tries to save his kids (Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin).

The movie follows the book pretty closely as far as the alien attack is concerned. It goes into far less detail and scientific reasoning than the book did, but that’s to be expected. The major difference is that in the book Tom Cruise would be older, married, and childless. That’s probably why I thought the book was so boring.

The storyline of this movie is good and the special effects are okay, but I would much rather watch Independence Day again than see this movie. In fact, I think Spielberg stole the Martians from Independence Day, because they look exactly the same.

Dakota Fanning, as always, was the best actor in this movie. Cruise is okay, but he’s hard to like and not easy to root for. If he weren’t carrying Dakota I don’t think I would have been interested in his character at all.

I didn’t like the book The War of the Worlds, so I’m not really surprised that I didn’t think the movie was fantastic. Overall, I would suggest seeing Bewitched instead, or renting Independence Day if you really want to see something blow up.

The Waynedale News Staff
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Kasey Butcher

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