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War of the Worlds (2005) Poster

Goofs

Revealing mistakes 

When Ray and his kids enter the empty house looking for the mother, there is a brief shot of a picture of the family on a shelf. This picture is obviously a faked composite because the light is hitting their faces from different directions.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Robbie returns from the downtown area where the lightning struck 26 times, you can hear him talking about it to Ray; you can't see his face, but when the camera zooms in on him, his mouth isn't moving.
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When Rachel was channel surfing at Ray's place, she finally decides to watch SpongeBob SquarePants. However, the audio is unsynchronized with what is happening.
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When the aliens visit the basement, one of them spins a wheel on a bicycle hanging on the wall. It clicks as it spins, indicating it has a freehub, even though it was the front wheel. Only rear wheels have freehubs.
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Boom mic visible 

When Ray comes home after the Aliens first appear, he falls down in front of a refrigerator. The boom mic is visible at the top of the screen for a few seconds in that shot.
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Character error 

Two different reporters when commenting on the lightning storm in Ukraine refer to the country as "The Ukraine". That would equate to saying The Canada.
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Continuity 

(at around 25 mins) A camera is seen filming the alien despite all electronics being disabled earlier in the film.
When Ray, Rachel, and Robbie run into the concrete utility room to escape the fireball from the crashing plane, Ray has to struggle to push the door closed against the flames. But in the morning, exiting the room, he pushes it open. He should have pulled it open to exit the room.
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When Ray and his kids steal the van, Rachel becomes hysterical due to Ray and his friend arguing, but in side shots throughout the argument, Rachel is calm.
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(at around 30 mins) In the shot where Ray and his kids are escaping in the minivan, and the bridge is being destroyed behind them, they drive down a street with houses on each side. Just after the tanker explodes in the background, a big pile of rubble appears on the right side of the screen, indicating that side of the street being destroyed. A second after, the left side explodes, and as that happens, the camera pans back to the right side of the street, revealing that side of street as being in perfect condition as if nothing has happened.
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When Robbie is helping the people that were left hanging on the ramp of the ferry, the water below them is calm, even though just a moment ago the propellers were spinning at full power.
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When the army shoots the tripod down towards the end, its three search-lights are shattered in a close-up shot, but when it crashes through the factory they appear to be back on. After it grinds to a halt, the search-lights shut off again. However, when the soldier is inspecting the alien's arm, the search-lights are back on.
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When Rachel goes to the river to use the "bathroom", Ray opens the back of the van. In the next shot, Ray is standing next to the van with the back end closed. A few moments later he opens it.
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The military convoy completely passes by Ray and the kids while they are standing on the country road at least once, but cutaway shots provide more and more vehicles each time. This goof is later repeated in the scene of the battle on the hill just before Ray and Rachel meet Ogilvy (the same tan-colored Abrams tank can be seen in the background behind Rachel even after it is shown driving up to and atop the hill ahead of her).
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The amount/pattern of water on Robbie's back changes from shot to shot, as the army tanks pass and splash water up.
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When Mary Ann and Tim drop the kids off at Ray's house, Rachel opens the door of the van into the power pole. Then in the next shot the van is parked too far away to hit the pole. Then in the following shot, the door is resting against the pole again.
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The left rear van window is missing in some freeway scenes and is later seen intact.
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As Ogilvy calls to Ray and Rachel before the camera pans out, at the bottom of the screen you can see Ray and Rachel standing there, when they were running seconds ago. As if waiting for a cue they begin a sprint towards the basement door.
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When Ray goes into his backyard to look at the dark cloud, his hood is up. When the camera is looking toward his face, his hood is down.
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When Ray exits the house with Rachel and Robbie after the jetliner has crashed, Robbie has his hands by his side and raises them up as he sees the destruction. In the next shot, his arms are down, and he repeats the same motion again. This occurs when Ray says, "You're doing good, you're doing great, we're going to Boston."
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Before the first alien tripod comes out of the ground, a circular portion of the ground turns to rubble and then twists counter clockwise. Ray looks at the church and sees the front of it twisting counter clockwise, but then looks down at the ground by his feet (in the same shot), and the ground is twisting clockwise.
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Right before Ray first drives away in the stolen van, he tells his son Robbie to close the door. So he reaches over to close the door. But in the shot BEFORE that one, you can clearly see Robbie already reaching over to close the door. In other words, he reaches over to close the door twice.
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When Ray and Robbie wake up from the noises in the basement of the ex-wife house, they are standing. Right after, Rachel is running to Robbie and he holds her. After that Robbie is not holding anyone when he should hold her. Right after that Robbie holds her again.
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When Ray and Rachel are hiding underneath the kitchen table during the lightning storm, you see Rachel duck her head and cover her face with her hands. In the next shot the camera views them from behind and you can clearly see Rachel looking up. Then in the next shot the camera is on Rachel and she is ducking.
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When Ray, Robbie and Rachel are leaving the city in the van, as they are weaving amongst the broken down cars, the shot from the air shows a dry road surface. The next shot shows a view from inside the van and the roads are wet.
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When Ray is fighting with the panicked mob for possession of the van, he yells for Rachel to get out. There is a jagged shard of glass hanging in her window. In the next shot, it is gone.
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When Rachel sees the dead bodies floating in the river, the front view of her shows her breathing very hard with shoulders noticeably rising and falling. The camera angle immediately reverse to show her from behind, and she is standing still with no shoulder movement. The camera then returns to a front view where she is still breathing hard - just as Ray comes up from behind her.
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Following the aliens emergence from beneath the tarmac of the intersection, Ray Ferrier runs for the safety of the sidewalk and we see a shot from behind him looking towards the alien breakout. He has one foot on the sidewalk and one in the gutter. In the next shot, looking front on to Ray, he is standing in the middle of the sidewalk.
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When Ray drives on to the freeway (wide shot) the road is dry. When it zooms in to him the road has spray like it's been raining.
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When the first tripod is coming out of the street by Ray's house, he runs away seemingly alone, but then his two friends appear several times to look in/at the hole with him.
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After the lightening storm, Ray exits the front of the house to find all the cars outside are disabled. Apart from the very first two we see, behind him at the bottom of the stairs - they still have their rear lights on.
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About 25 minutes in a camera is seen filming the alien despite all electronics being disabled y the EMP earlier in the film.
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When the reporter is asking Ray if he was on the crashed plane, she puts her left hand on his chest. In the next shot it is her right hand, and then changes back to her left hand in the next shot.
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At the beginning of the film when Ray and Rachel are in the sitting room, Rachel gets down and lies back on the sofa. In the next shot she is sitting upright on the sofa.
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After they swim across the Hudson River and Rachel starts to get up to run, she isn't wearing her sleeveless purple hoody and none of the others has it, but a few scenes later, she's wearing it again walking along with Robbie and Ray.
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When Robbie saw the military the first time on that country road, his skin was showing above his pants. When his dad grabbed him, his shirt was tucked in.
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Orientation of the bottle of mustard in the box of supplies Ray carries changes from shot to shot.
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In the opening scene, When Ray is operating the heavy machinery, he is not visible because of deep shadowing. In a cutaway seconds later, he is in full bright sunlight.
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When the first tripod comes out of the street, two workmen are on a scaffold. Two shots over their left shoulders show the scaffold swaying; the long shot in between shows the scaffold static and the workmen move backwards in the first shot, but are in the front in the long shot.
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When Ray is watching the lightning in his back garden and the camera is behind him, his hood flips up against his head. However, in the next shot his hood is back down again.
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When Ray and the kids take refuge in the diner when their car has been taken off them, there is a woman with long blonde hair in the booth next to them. When the gun shot goes off outside and they turn to look she has disappeared, there is less than one second for her to get up from the booth and walk the length of the diner and leave.
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When the tripod first appears out of the ground in the intersection and the ground is cracking, Ray puts one foot on the street and one on the curb for balance. In the next shot, both his feet are firmly on the ground
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Ray is running from the front of his building to the backyard of his building. The shot of him running around the building in the alley is very dark, like it was filmed at night. When he emerges into the backyard, it is daylight.
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During the "hummus scene" Rachel sits on the couch and crosses her left leg over her right. In the next view, from the table, her legs appear reversed.
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When Ray first puts the blindfold on Rachel in the basement, the folds are crooked and bulged, in the subsequent shots the blindfold is perfect, it is evenly folded and the middle fold is uniform and flat.
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When Ray empties takes the bag of bread to make the peanut butter sandwiches, he dumps out all of the bread slices. Yet in the next shot, you can clearly see a few slices still in the bag.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Robbie runs to the back of the ferry and we get an over the shoulder shot of him looking over the boat and dock, there is a member of the film crew off on the dock on the right hand side with a flag (black material on a metal frame) fanning the fog/smoke machine. He's easy to miss in the chaos.
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When Ray is leaving his ex-wife's house after the tripods destroy it, you can see a crew member lean back behind the jet engine as the camera pans to the right.
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As Ray begins to leave the house after the plane crash, stopping to pick up Robbie, the reflection of the camera operator is visible between the passenger and sliding side doors.
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In the ferry boat scene, fleeing crowds are back lit by floodlights placed off the main street, not by the lights of the approaching tripods.
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While driving down the interstate the camera pans back and you can see red flashing lights on the opposite lanes. Presumably these are state troopers blocking the interstate for filming.
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Errors in geography 

When John runs from his home in 11 John F. Kennedy Blvd in Bayonne next to the Bayonne Bridge to 5 Corners on Ferry St in Newark he arrives as if he'd just ran around the block. This is impossible. The most direct route from his home to 5 Corners covers a distance of nine miles, and he would have had to run on the NJ Turnpike and Route 1&9.
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When Ray arrives to his ex-wife's house, you can see a flat forest behind all the houses in the street. After the Jumbo jet has crashed you can see a little hill behind the destroyed houses.
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When the tripod emerges Ray hides behind a building on Polk Street, but when he comes out he is on Van Buren Street. Then he is back on Polk Street coming out of the store.
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After the Bayonne Bridge blows up, you see them driving on "440/West Shore Expressway". This is on the other side of the bridge in Staten Island so this is not possible.
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The mountains where the second half of the movie takes place are nowhere near New Jersey (filmed in the mountains of Central Virginia).
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Passenger trains along the Hudson River run along the east bank of the Hudson, not the west bank, where the ferry was departing.
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Factual errors 

The Train (Acela) streams by while on fire. All trains have a "deadman" switch. They come to a full emergency stop if the engineer is incapacitated (as he/she would be if on fire).
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When they're exiting the home where the jumbo jet crashed, the cockpit window is broken with a hole in it. Cockpit windows do not break like windows in homes. They are in fact multiple layers of various materials including special glass, heating elements, bonding materials, etc, and when they break, they "spiderweb" into many, many small pieces. The window in this scene appeared to be a single pane of glass that looked like it had a rock thrown through it.
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If a large jumbo jet crashes into a house, and the house catches fire just as it it did as everyone got into the concrete utility room, it would have burned considerably more than shown. The basement had some charring, but there were plenty of clothes and other flammable debris scattered around, unburnt after the fireball supposedly engulfed the basement.
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The Master of the Hudson Ferry is wearing the U.S. Navy officer's insignia on his hat. In reality, if required to wear such a hat, it would have the insignia of a U.S. Merchant Marine officer.
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While Ray and his kids drive to his ex-wife's house you see a swing around shot of the van. The van's back windows are rolled down, when in fact on that model of Dodge van, you can't do that.
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The camcorder that is dropped when the aliens first arrive shows the horizon lined up with the base of the view-screen while the camera rests on an angle. The view-screen's horizon lined up with the horizon outside of the view-screen.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

After Ray throws the slice of bread at the window from the inside, it appears to be thrown from the outside. In fact you see the reflection of Ray in the window, shot from the inside.
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When Rachel tells Ray she won third place in walk/trot/canter, it appears that she is holding a green ribbon. Third place is gold/yellow for equestrian events and green is sixth place. Earlier in the film, at about the 12 min. mark, when they order food, Rachel has the ribbon laying on her leg and as the camera pans across it, you can see that it is gold and has a horses head on it. The ribbon appears to be green later in the film as it has become dirtied while they are on the run.
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It's a special Hollywood EMP that disables only the electronic equipment that the filmmakers want it to. While "technically" it's a factual mistake that, for instance, the camcorder is still working, it was clearly a deliberate decision by the filmmakers. We also only have a TV reporter's word for it that it's an "EMP" anyway, so it could be an alien weapon of which we know nothing.
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Plot holes 

In the part where the jet crashes into the house, it should have destroyed everything in sight, but the mini-van Ray was driving afterwards was unharmed.
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When Ray returns home after witnessing the first tripod emerge, his children ask what's going on as if they haven't seen or heard anything. With the level of destruction caused (and the fact that their TVs are off due to the power being out), they would have had to have heard or seen some activity, since Ray had to live within walking distance of the affected area, because he wasn't driving.
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Revealing mistakes 

Near the end of the film, a group of soldiers attack an alien drone with a Javelin shoulder-fired missile launcher. The firing effect in the film has a dramatic backblast complete with flames shooting out of the missile tube. The actual Javelin has a "soft-launch" feature where the missile weakly pops out of the tube and travels a certain distance before the main rocket motor ignites. It was designed to help mask the gunner's firing position.
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When Ray throws the baseball and Robbie lets it go past him and through the window, Ray does not actually have anything in his hand when he throws the ball.
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When Rachel goes running up to her mom and step-fathers house at night, the door is left open for them miraculously when they were on a vacation to Boston.
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When Ray and his neighbors are watching the lightning, there is a strong wind blowing, moving all the washing hanging out. But the trees behind them are still and not moving at all.
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When driving up to Boston in the minivan, the gear selector lever is in the park position.
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Robbie does not catch anything in his glove when Ray throws the ball at him, a second later a ball magically appears. This happens as Robbie says: "Is it OK with you if I laugh the first 500 times you tell that one?"
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When driving down the highway after all the cars have broken down, all of the cars are pushed aside making a path. The cars should have been where they were while driving, so Ray would be driving in the field.
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The opening scenes show a view of Paris' Champs-Élysées. The cars drive on the left-hand side of the avenue, indicating that the picture has been flipped.
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When Harlan Ogilvy first stands outside his house with his gun in the air, yelling to Ray to come over, you can see Ray and Rachel standing still in the background waiting for their cue to start running toward the house. They stand still until Harlan yells a second time, then they start running toward the house.
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When Ray is fleeing New Jersey in the stolen car to go to his ex-wife's house he jumps on the expressway. The expressway is jam packed bumper-to-bumper right before the point of the exit on ramp. The road from the point of the on ramp and after (where Ray is driving) while still cluttered with cars, is still very easy to navigate whipping in and out of each lane. There is no way a car could drive on the expressway before the point where Ray jumps on the expressway.
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When Ray comes out of the basement after the plane crashed near the house you can see most of the walls have been blown away by the explosion. Most of the items inside the house thought (photos, lamp) are still standing upright in their original position without being burned.
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When Ray, Rachel and Robbie are driving in the mini van out of town, through the interstate traffic, Ray's steering inputs don't always match the direction of the van as seen out of the van's rear window. At one point, Ray definitely steers to his right and the van obviously moves to the left.
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The same blue Chrysler appears three times on different roads at the start of the film. First it's on Ray's street when he steps out outside after the storm to find Robby, the second Ray runs past it on another street, and lastly it ends up where the tripod comes out of the ground and it's parked on a piece of moving earth when the gravel and dirt is raining down.
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When Harlan loads a round into his shotgun and racks the slide, he does not slide it nearly far enough to chamber a round.
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When the ferry sets off it generates a large wake, spraying many people with water. In the next couple of shots when Robbie helps the people on the closed ramp, there is no wake; indicating that the ferry is stationary when it should be moving.
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The water tripod tips the boat over. Ray, Robbie and Rachel fall in. Suddenly, a car comes towards them. If you look behind it you can see wires attached to the back.
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During the first attack, we see a Grand Cherokee coming out from the crater, falling down on a Ford Taurus on the left side of the screen. That car's left window was down before the camera pans up, and the same window is up (and stays intact) after the Cherokee comes down on it.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Boom mic visible 

A boom mic is visible, just after Robby runs away and gets "killed". As Harlan walks back into the basement after shutting the door, look above his head.
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Continuity 

At the end of the film, Mary Ann sighs on the glass in the door of her apartment, fogging it. We immediately cut to the reverse angle, and the fog has disappeared.
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When Ray is walking towards Mary Ann's parents' house in the final scene, the car closest to the house on his right hand side is a white or silver-colored car with its hood open, its front facing the house. But when his daughter runs off to meet Mary Ann, suddenly two other cars appear there, a dark blue station wagon and another car are parked with their fronts turned towards the pavement. When there is a shot of Ray near the house, all the cars in the background are parked in line behind the car with the hood open.
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Revealing mistakes 

Toward the end of the movie, when the crowd of people are herded into a tunnel, you can see red CGI reference marks in one of the shots on the wall of the tunnel behind Ray and Rachel. The reference marks are used to properly match the movements of CGI add-ins to the actual camera movements and should have been erased. (fixed in DVD release)
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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