War of the Meatloaves

I wish I could recall who it was in the movie business who said the following (or words to the effect): “If, in the course of a film, you see a meatloaf flying by in the background, pay attention – it is certain to be important later.” I’m wondering if I’ve just got served a bit of meatloaf.

I almost never try to predict what’s going to happen in a film that’s not even yet been released, but I just read an article in the local USA Weekend magazine yesterday that prompts me to go out on a limb. The piece was about Steven Spielberg and his wonderful career, and of course much of the wordage was given to his take on H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds,” starring Tom Cruise, which is due to open on June 29. (Now, I realize that some may already have seen advance screenings of this flick, but I’ve not, so have mercy.)

One paragraph in the article begins: “War of the Worlds opens with Cruise, a dock-worker too busy being a kid himself (he keeps the engine for his ’66 Mustang in the kitchen) to be a father. His ex-wife brings the kids for the weekend. Shortly after, aliens hurl an electromagnetic pulse that shuts down the planet. This makes the populace much more manageable for the aliens…”

My first reaction: “A ’66 Mustang! Cool!” As the proud and often, especially on warm summer days, smug owner of a ’66 Mustang convertible of my own, I’d applaud the movie for that choice alone. (With extra credit to whoever let it be a ’66 instead of going for the snob factor of having it be a ’64 1/2.)

My second reaction: “Wait a minute… why am I being told he tinkers with this particular vintage ride? Hmmm… electromagnetic pulse that shuts down the planet… Ah HA!”

Y’see, an EMP – as anyone knows who’s seen any of the “Matrix” films, or even that glorious turkey “Escape from Los Angeles,” – will fry anything electronic. Computers, TVs, quartz watches and clocks, vehicles that use any sort of chip to control anything under the hood…

…but there ain’t nothing in a ’66 Mustang (or any such “ancient” automobile) that runs off sensitive electronics! It’s all brute-force electro-mechanical! An electromagnetic pulse wouldn’t affect it – which means it would still run after the Martian invasion – which means, I’m betting, it plays a part in saving the day, somehow.

Go, pony-car!

And if it turns out I’m completely off the mark, I still get to crow about Tom Cruise’s choice of rides as I drive into the summer sunset.