Sunday, September 9, 2012

2012 King of the Hill: Closest Battle Ever

Changeling v The War of the Worlds (+1 More)
Two very good films go head to head for the first movie showdown for the month of August.  Angelina Jolie plays a distraught mother whose son disappears and mysteriously returns.  Tom Cruise plays a distant father who must protect his children from an invasion from another planet.    One movie is based on a true story, the other is based on a classic novel.

For those who do not know, the 2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge is my system for determining the best movie of year that I saw. One movie from each month will be selected and, at the end of the year, I will do a tournament style showdown where they will take each other on until the final movie has been selected. Bracket placement will be determined by the number of movies the monthly movie faced and won.

In fairy tales, a Changeling is the replacement left in the bed when fairies steal away the child.  Changeling is not a fairy tale.  It is not a story based on a true story.  It is a true story.  I'm very skeptical of movies that claim to be based on a true story, or a true story.  It didn't take me long to forget this claim.  The movie grabbed me with a very dark, disturbing story.  Angelina Jolie plays Christine Collins, a single mother in 1928 LA.  One evening, while she is at work, her son disappears.  Five months go by and the police bring her a boy, claiming they have found her son, only the boy isn't her son.  I will not say anything to spoil the movie, only to say this movie continues to get incredibly dark.  What makes this movie so fascinating and powerful is that it is true.  Looking into the story behind Christine Collins, you learn that not only was the movie very true to the original story, but it played down certain aspects to make it less dark.

But was Changeling enough of a film to take down the 2005 version of War of the Worlds.  War of the Worlds is one of my all time favorite stories.  Honestly, I've given this a lot of thought and the call on this is very close.  In the end, War of the Worlds wins.  The movie is a great adaptation of the classic story with minimal changes (and then, mostly to modernize).  Changeling, while an equally great story, just doesn't have the ability to make me want to watch it a second time.

Winner:  War of the Worlds

Finally, I have watched one additional movie in August.  The third movie of the month that I caught was My Life in Ruins.  While this was a cute flick, it really didn't move me enough to really stand up anywhere close to War of the Worlds.

August Winner:  War of the Worlds


  1. I migth have to check out the Changeling now. Even if I really really really don't like Angelina Jolie.

  2. Imagine a planet covered with thick clouds. Despite its distance from the sun, it's a warm place, thanks to an atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide. The greenhouse effect works just right.

    Then one day disaster strikes. Perhaps a collision with a wandering asteroid. A large part of the atmosphere is lost. Atmospheric pressure drops, and with it the temperature. The clouds give up their moisture as rain. And more rain. Later accounts will say "forty days and forty nights. One of the planet's technically savvy inhabitants builds a spaceship and migrates to a planet closer to the sun.

    We have met the Martian, and he is us.