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.
Some army troops used were from the 29th Division (Maryland Army National Guard), known as "The Blue and the Gray" from their yin-yang looking shoulder patch (visible when the day convoy passes by the Ferriers). See more »
When they stop so the kids can go to the toilet, in a long shot of Ray trying to persuade Rachel not to go too far, we see him start to open the boot (trunk) of the car. When it cuts to a closeup he's not. 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 »
Get ready for a wild ride with the Steven Spielberg "DreamWorks" production team, in this high quality revision of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds". For this invasion, the story has been updated to focus on the family changes which have become most dominant over the decades since the successful 1953 version. So, the central figure, Tom Cruise (as Ray Ferrier), is not a doctor, but a more ordinary New Jersey dock worker. And, the lead character played by Mr. Cruise is made much more interesting by the fact that he is a divorced man, who is somewhat estranged from his children . Instead of the expected "hot romance", you have the drama unfolding around the bonding of Cruise and his children.
Of course, a lot of disbelief suspension is required, especially in this type of film; but, the updated situation is refreshing, and believable. When the film begins, Cruise's ex-wife drops off the couple's two children while she goes off to spend some time with her new husband, and parents, in Boston. The children are played well, by Justin Chatwin (Robbie Ferrier) and Dakota Fanning (Rachel Ferrier). There is a point (foreshadowed twice) where Mr. Chatwin leaves the action; it seems like a flaw in the storytelling; but, it does work out quite well. The "son" is replaced by Tim Robbins (as Harlan Ogilvy), in some scenes which would not have worked with the original threesome.
Cruise deserves some particular praise, for his performance. He is especially good after suffering a loss, then taking refuge in Mr. Robbins' basement; observe his fight to overcome madness, and protect his daughter, in the bowels of the Earth. Cruise's tearful rendition of "Little Deuce Coupe" is one of the film's most memorable moments; and, it involves no observable "special effect". The alien "special effects" are fantastic. John Williams is outstanding. Reserving comments on minor difficulties which would reveal too much; (except, the narration was unnecessary); the "War of the Worlds" is excellent entertainment.
******** War of the Worlds (6/13/05) Steven Spielberg ~ Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwin, Tim Robbins
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