Sometimes, a twist ending can create buzz for a movie and draw viewers to see it. In the case of Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds”, an incredibly hokey final minutes ruins an otherwise mostly entertaining thriller. About 12 hours after seeing the movie — at the surprisingly not sold-out Ziegfeld Theater last night — I can’t get over how badly the film ends and am actually wondering if Spielberg set out to actually make a parody of some sort. [In fact, the highlight of the night for most in attendance seemed to be the trailers for “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” and “King Kong” — they elicited cheers much, much bigger than anything seen in “War of the Worlds.”]
The “Hollywood ending” is a filmmaking convention, but there must be a better way for a supremely talented filmmaker like Spielberg to cap a well-made movie without ruining and undermining the story he has just told. This film ends as badly as his disappointing “A.I.” and immediately reminded me of my experiences watching “The Day After Tomorrow” at the Ziegfeld last summer. Surprisingly, I had no problem with Tom Cruise, who does a decent job in the lead role. And there is so much going on once the aliens invade, that I didn’t have time to contemplate his relationship with Katie Holmes or antics on the Oprah show.
Anyway, had the movie even ended a few minutes earlier, without the corny conclusion, I probably would have forgiven its other faults and recommended it as entertaining summer fare, but instead I’d say just wait for the DVD, and put your time and ten bucks to better use this weekend.