Speaking of Dakota, I should talk about two more things. First that Denzel Washington continues to reinforce how great an actor he is with every role that he plays. I watched "Man on Fire" (2004) yesterday -- which is what prompted this particular posting -- and, despite the occasionally distracting ("edgy"?) directing by Tony Scott, quite enjoyed the movie. I particularly loved the innovative way in which they displayed subtitles throughout the film.
Second, I really liked Tom Cruise in "War of the Worlds". It was refreshing to see him play a panicked, not-so-smart, insignificant individual set against the backdrop of a much larger story. His character does grow to find redemption reasonably neatly at the end of the movie but, overally, the film was a little too one-dimensional for me. Yes, the special effects were awesome, but both story arcs were just too simple for a modern action/sci-fi thriller. Part of the reason for that was the fact that Wells' book itself was rather simple when compared to modern stories. Particularly modern science fiction stories. And Wells' book was one of the first book in that genre so naturally it wasn't as developed. They did update the story quite a bit (and quite nicely too) but, in my opinion at least, they stuck too close to the original storyline (which, had they been overly true to, would have resulted in a pretty crappy movie).
The converting of books into movies is a whole other topic that I don't want to get into right now. So I won't. The topic of simple story lines versus more complex ones, specifically in science fiction, is another topic that I'll get into later. I particularly want to compare the original Star Trek TV series with the newer ones. That should be a fun post to write. Anyway, I just wanted to say those two things. And I have. Thus endeth this post.