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.
A segment of a scene early in the film, in which people are seen fleeing from a tripod (panic-stricken crowd running along a street while buildings are being destroyed by a tripod in the background), recreates the subject-matter of the painting "Panic in the Streets" by Geoff Taylor, a print of which was included in the booklet accompanying the 1978 release of "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of The Worlds". See more »
As Ray says, "Next time you take my car with no driver's license..." he walks a good distance away from Robbie. Yet in the next close-up of Robbie, Ray's arm is still pointing up near Robbie's face. 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 »
A good take on the Wells story. Better than the 1953 classic in some ways
First - a quick rebuttal: The peanut butter sandwich which seemed to stick to the window impossibly. This was a very visually interesting scene. In fact, the scene was shot from inside the house, and Cruise was shot in reflection against the window - so there is no problem here other than the reviewer not thinking what they were seeing through.
Now on to the review...
This film follows Tom Cruise - playing a not-very-adult divorced father - and his two kids through the Wellsian version of The War of the Worlds. Despite the fact that the film focuses exclusively on the harrowing experiences of this somewhat dysfunctional family, in a very basic way it preserves the elements of the original novel. As with Wells' book, a science savvy viewer will pick up on the biological plausibility of the main plot and realize the brilliance of Wells original points. Scientifically educated viewers will also recognize the geological impossibility of it. Neither of these facts should detract from the entertainment value of this interesting and exciting film. After all, it is a testament to Wells' genius that a novel written nearly 100 years ago still holds our attention today, and is still regarded as an intelligent take on improbable events.
An alien species, about which nothing is really known, has been planning to take over and terraform earth for millenia, or perhaps much longer. Using unknown technology, they manage to emplace operatives in enormous tripod machines equipped with horrendous weapons that basically carbonize any life forms they take aim at. The tripods had been implanted deep in the earth long before the advent of our species. There simply is no stopping the invasion. Cruise, whose character is not really built for heroism, digs deep into his soul to protect his children as they attempt to make it to Boston to reunite with his estranged wife and her new family.
Before I discuss the technical merits of the film, and the lavish production values, I feel that I need to make a comment on Dakota Fanning. Ms. Fanning gives one of the best performances I have ever seen a sub-12 year old give in The War of the Worlds. She is a match for Cruise, and actually manages to steal several scenes from him. The acting in this film is uniformly good, but Fanning really stood out.
Spielberg and his team make seemingly impossible film visions come alive in a uniquely well realized manner. War of the Worlds is one of the most visually stunning films I have seen in a long time. Though I would not call the special effects innovative, they are, more importantly, convincing and never over-done. The nearly first person story telling technique is both original and effective, and the non-heroism of Cruise's character makes for a much more compelling plot than I expected to see. There are indeed some problems with believability, but let me ask - why would anybody go to this film expecting something more realistic than a fairy tale?
Recommended for Wells fans, fans of the original 1953 adaptation, and action sci-fi fans. Mildly recommended to the average cinema-goer.
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