Jack Hall, paleoclimatologist, must make a daring trek from Washington, D.C. to New York City to reach his son, trapped in the cross-hairs of a sudden international storm which plunges the planet into a new Ice Age.
An ordinary man has to protect his children against alien invaders in this science fiction thriller, freely adapted from the classic story by H.G. Wells. Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) is a dockworker living in New Jersey, divorced from his first wife Mary Ann (Miranda Otto) and estranged from his two children Rachel and Robbie (Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin), of whom he has custody on weekends. On one such visitation, looking after the kids becomes a little more difficult when, after a series of strange lighting storms hit his neighborhood, Ray discovers that a fleet of death-ray robotic spaceships have emerged nearby, part of the first wave of an all-out alien invasion of the Earth. Transporting his children from New York to Boston in an attempt to find safety at Mary Ann's parents' house, Ray must learn to become the protector and provider he never was in marriage.
During the filming of the underwater scenes (where the ferry capsizes), director Steven Spielberg played a prank on Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning by playing the dramatic music from Jaws (1975) (also one of Spielberg's films) through the massive underwater speakers on the sound stage. See more »
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. See more »
No one would have believed in the early years of the 21st century that our world was being watched by intelligences greater than our own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns, *they* observed and studied, the way a man with a microscope might scrutinize the creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency, men went to and fro about the globe, confident of our empire over this world. Yet across the gulf of space, intellects vast ...
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There are no opening credits after the title is shown. See more »
For the U.S. theatrical release, the Paramount logo appeared before the Dreamworks logo at the beginning of the film, and the poster credits said, "Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks Pictures present." Since the U.S. version's home video/DVD rights are owned by Dreamworks, the Dreamworks logo at the beginning of the movie appears before the Paramount logo, and the back of the box's cover art says, "Dreamworks Pictures and Paramount Pictures present." In the European version, the original order of the logos and studio names is preserved (and the DVD is released by Paramount). See more »
If this movie were a meal, it would be a very satisfying prime beef steak with a dollop of unnecessary cheese.
However it must be said that the majority of the meal is so perfectly cooked that you're able to swallow the cheese without much trouble.
Tom Cruise was good enough that even my fiancé, not normally a fan, was impressed... and despite some misgivings as the lights dimmed at the start, once the action started, not once did I think of Katie Holmes - I was simply too swept up in the action to think about anything other than what was on the screen. But no matter how good a job Tom did, it has to be said that Dakota Fanning blew everyone else away. And not in the same way Tom was upstaged by the gorgeous little boy in Jerry Maguire through sheer 'awww' factor, Dakota is both cute and one of the most talented actresses I've ever seen.
The special effects were amazing, (the first lightning storm was the PERFECT way to get the audience on the edge of their seats, the rest of the movie made sure we stayed there) the thrills were non-stop and executed brilliantly - I nearly broke my fiancé's arm during one particularly nerve-wracking scene - and whilst some of the characters were inevitable clichés - the rebellious teenage son, for example - the story evolved at a fast enough pace that you didn't have time to get irritated by them.
I thought the ending came a bit suddenly and with perhaps not quite enough explanation but overall I really enjoyed this movie - and I'm not usually a fan of alien blockbusters. I just want to know one thing - HOW COME THAT GUY'S CAMCORDER WAS WORKING???!!!
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