Peter Preston insists he speaks for all of Britain when he says, "[War of the Worlds] is tosh, and crass tosh at that." So are the American critics who love it simpleton fools? Not exactly - but , Preston pontificates, the American viewing populace is clouded by a post-9/11 yearning for any kind of media that simultaneously incorporates our fever dreams of annihilation, and anticipates new ones. "Alien invasions? They've been standard fare for decades ... Terrorism, as peddled by [Tom] Clancy with CIA gusto, was the threat of the age. And lo! It comes to pass that, post-9/11, the two genres could be rolled into one, the sum of all fears."

It's not just that Americans and Brits don't share the common tragic experience, but, also, there's "a dividing line as deep as the Atlantic, a different mix of culture, perception and automatic assumption that makes common action increasingly impossible." Could that possibly be true - in an ever-more fractious world, could the international blockbuster be a dying breed?
categories Cinematical