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Falling Skies (2011)
World War II Movie Dressed in Sci FI Costumes
I seldom review shows, but I have enjoyed Falling Skies and I was genuinely surprised by the degree of negative reviews. Then reading through them, I think I got a little a bit of a handle on what is going on so I offer this review to clarify. This isn't a Sci-Fi picture. This is a war movie in the context of an alien species waging war on the human race.
This is not the Steven Spielberg who favors us with ET and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This is the aspect of Steven Spielberg that developed a little later, but has grown to be a great passion of Spielberg's, namely World War II. Beginning with Schindler's list and continuing with Saving Private Ryan and most completely the miniseries Band of Brothers. Besides this fictional work, Spielberg has worked to preserve Holocaust survivors oral histories as well as the accounts of many of World War II veterans. My point is that Spielberg can be considered a filmmaker whose subject is war and Falling Skies is just another iteration of a war movie.
At a time when America is in war on two fronts, and the economy is in the tank, and society is distinctly lacking in civility, Spileberg presents us with a present day Mrs. Miniver toned down for television and made melodrama for trying times. I confess that the birthday scene in the pilot brought a tear to my eye. Most importantly, he presents us with an enemy that is not us. It was hard for me to listen to Noah Wyle psych up his beleaguered, young troops with tales of smaller native forces defeating larger, better armed invading forces. Wyle's character is a history professor and he cites a bunch of examples that don't resonate with his young charges until he cites American Revolution. And then the Red Sox and the Yankees in 04. But for myself, I couldn't help thinking of the Afghan's defeat of the Russians and how that had shaped Osama Bin Laden as a Fighter and the difficulty we as American were having in Afghanistan. But it wouldn't be a feel good movie if Noah Wyle said anything like that.
Anyway, it is melodrama about citizens working together to defeat a common enemy. In the end, yes, the good guys will win and and American values will triumph. It is summer time, relax and enjoy the fantasy.