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Trouncing the competition, Fox-style

Reported by Chrish - June 28, 2005

We all know how Fox and their employees likes to brag about their winning the ratings war (geez, everything with these people is war, war, war). Today John Gibson and guest Christy Lemire undermined NewsCorp competitor Paramount Pictures and Steven Spielberg with a so-so review of "War of the Worlds", premiering in theaters midnight tonight. They even managed to conveniently bring the war in Iraq into the review just a few hours before Bush's speech on that same war - imagine!

Gibson began by asking Lemire, an AP movie critic, Is it any good...at all?

She says the first hour is thrilling, it is shot beautifully, but after the first hour the script gets really clunky, heavy handed and preachy. She picks out some typical unbelievable movie situations: Tom Cruise has the only working van in town and the path is always clear for him. (We wouldn't want to suspend disbelief in a sci-fi movie!)

Gibson then asks if Steven Spielberg has been bitten by the Michael Moore disease; is this an anti-war movie?

Lemire says there is an anti-war message in it and cites a scene in which the character played by Tim Robbins has a whole tirade, saying occupation didn't work then and it doesn't work now. She says there are a lot of 9/11 images: people posting pictures of missing loved ones, running en masse across bridges, and she thinks "it's kind of heavy-handed."

Gibson asks her bluntly if Earth is Iraq and the Martians are Americans. She corrects him - they're not Martians, they're generic aliens - and she says she thinks so, you can read that into it.

Gibson wants to know if this movie will save Tom Cruise from all the recent bad publicity, and she says that a month ago she would have predicted this movie "critic-proof", but now with "the cavalcade of weirdness" she thinks it will have a huge opening weekend but not "save" the summer box office.

Comment: I can't recall a NewsCorp movie ever receiving anything less than a glowing review, often accompanied by a star or two.

Fox viewers have fair warning that there is (horror!) an anti-war message, Tim Robbins (horrorer!) is in it, and Steven Spielberg has drunk the Michael Moore (horrorest!) kool-aid.

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