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The Bass Shaker Site

Does this movie have great bass?

Yes, it does. By the closing credits, you'll be left with ringing in your ears (caused, in part, by the sound of Spielberg and Cruise phoning it in).

Best test scene for bass shakers and subwoofers

The bass really kicks in at the fifteen minute mark, and from then on you'll have enough bass moments to keep you happy. Just skip through the annoying Dad-and-Kids-whinge-fests.

One scene in particular cranks up the bass in a spectacular way.

At about 20 minutes in, a group of randoms and Tom Cruise are gathered around a smoking pot hole in the road (and speaking of smoking pot: if you want to make this film more entertaining...I'm just saying).

The crowd hear deep sounds emanating from underground and hazard guesses as to the origin. Is it a subway? Is it a burst water main? No! It's the emergence of the Pods! Hurray! (Unfortunately Tom Cruise and his bratty kids aren't swiftly despatched by said Pods, so curb the ol' enthusiasm.)

The 'emergence of the pods scene' is often cited as one of the best bass shaker/subwoofer test scenes around. And it will have your home theater growling with glory. The deep cracking of bitumen, the low humming of alien engines, the shuddering groan of whole buildings slowing tearing apart, and of course the hollow and resounding moan from the alien craft before it begins its slaughter: all of these are a treat for the shaker-seat.

Little sidenote: during this scene, look out for a shot of Tom grinning from ear to ear as cracks radiate out under his feet. Why is he smiling? ("Why" is a word you'll become painfully familiar with as you watch this flick.)

Should I consider it for my weekend movie marathon?

Just no.

By all means, use it to test your shakers and woofer. Or use it to abuse it. But don't go near it without the protection of a bottle of scotch or a frontal lobotomy. For the next 116 minutes, lucidity is not your friend.

Before I unleash my vevom, I will say that this film is so slick you could easily slip and tear your pelvic muscles. The SFX are extravagant, the crowd scenes are enormous, the music is John-WIlliams-perfect. The whole thing is almost like a trailer for itself.

OK.

So here is the - um - "plot".

Tom Cruise is a bad father (separated from his wife - horror!), suddenly landed with his young daughter (wise beyond her years - gasp!), and his adolescent son (snarly and moody - shock!).
This trio bitch and whinge at each other until the aliens arrive, and then they make a dash for it (occasionally pausing to bitch and whinge) until finally they all end up in a happy, showered family unit of mummy, daddy, kids, grandparents and immaculate house. (Praise Jesus!)

There's an old saying that "action is reaction", but that adage does not hold true for action films. Going in, you probably already know how the aliens are defeated. It's a famous twist that works brilliantly in the Orson Welles' radio broadcast because it's about how a variety of humans of various walks of life respond to an extraodinary incident. 

But in an ACTION FILM, with a hero in it, you need the hero to be ... heroic. He can't just run and hide 'til circumstance removes the danger. Imagine StarWarz if Luke Skywalker decided it would be wisest to hide out at Auntie's house for a few years. Or if Indiana Jones sat at home and bought old shit on Ebay.

Once you accept that this film is bad, you can really settle in and hate it. You'll find moments that make you go "pffft" (Tom giving car advice to a mechanic is one), and many more that make you go, "huh?"

My personal fav: why do all the people in the cage allow some random guy to be sucked up into the vagina-like alien porthole, but when the aliens reach for Tom, the human cargo all band together and save him? If I was the first guy, I'd be a little gutted (ha, ha).

And why are all the people running TOWARDS the aliens in the battle on the hill (another good scene for bass shakers)? And why do the soldiers push everyone back to safety except, apparently, Tom's son? And just HOW does Tom's son survive total annihilation in said battle with nothing more than a bad haircut and sweat stains?

And there's nothing to excuse the awful things Tim Robbins is forced to do. WTF.

It's like water torture. Drip: cliché. Drop: plot hole. Drip: Run. Drop: Hide.

However, there is one scene which I related to on a personal level. It's where Tom Cruise is covered with the ashy remains of exploded humans. He runs into the bathroom and frenetically douses himself at the sink.

After seeing this film, I couldn't squirt soap fast enough.