“War of the Worlds” is a stressful film, so I searched, and found Spielberg used a pattern.
I’d like to ask him (or the scenarist), but here’s how he does to make us nervous :
He provides a protection against something, then destroys it.
Continuously, all along the movie.
The little key is provided by the daughter, who has asthma and uses a symbolic “bubble” with her arms. Her brother knows this trick and uses it with her to help her cope with worry.
- The father (protection) is not a good father and doesn’t know how to deal with kids (which happens all the time in Spielberg’s movies). This divorced man has nothing ready, nothing in the fridge, etc, to welcome his kids.
- Knowledge (lightning never hits the same place twice) doesn’t work.
- Cruise runs and hides IN a store to escape killing rays, to see people vaporized just next to him.
- The house where they hide in the night (basement) is destroyed by the events outside (plane crash), and there’s a great picture of Cruise climbing the stairs, coming into the living room – and feels the wind in his hair : there’s no roof on the house anymore…
- The car which is a bubble and a way to escape is destroyed (windows) and invaded by a crowd, and they have to let it go.
- The family they know (and could be an ally to deal with events) is separated from them near the boat.
- Symbols like when the daughter has to pee, goes in an idyllic field in a splendid light near a quiet river… flooded with dead bodies.
- The shelter provided for Cruise and his daughter is visited by the ETs and provided by a dangerous fool (Tim Robbins).
Well, this little tool is something I like in the process of “how to write” (a story, a novel, a movie). Find a little pattern which could be used a a seed to find ideas.
Here : Intrusion.Which is a fractal way to play with a story, right?
Thanks for reading!