An alien invasion threatens the future of humanity. The catastrophic nightmare is depicted through the eyes of one American family fighting for survival.An alien invasion threatens the future of humanity. The catastrophic nightmare is depicted through the eyes of one American family fighting for survival.An alien invasion threatens the future of humanity. The catastrophic nightmare is depicted through the eyes of one American family fighting for survival.
Starting with what's good, the film looks fabulous, the atmosphere that the cinematography and lighting evoked is just incredible and the special effects are without complaint too. John Williams can be relied upon to compose a good score and he does here, being both rousing and spooky. Spielberg does an impeccable job directing the first half of the film, giving a lot of the first half thrills, suspense and genuine scares.
Tom Cruise does a good job in the lead and Tim Robbins is eerily eccentric. As said, the first half has many great moments and is filled with unnerving suspense and scary chills. Truly imaginative details like the burning train, the birds/tripod scene and the river of the dead bodies burn in the memory for a long while after.
However, the human drama was not as transfixing as it should have been, being hurt by the dysfunctional family subplot being rammed down the throat with no subtlety at all with nothing relatable at all and especially by the kids.
Spielberg has demonstrated before that he is capable of directing great child performances, prime examples being Haley Joel Osment in 'AI' and Christian Bale in 'Empire of the Sun', but the performances of both Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin are incredibly irritating. Not sure which is more so, Fanning's constant screaming or brattiness or Chatwin made to act throughout the film but especially the second half like an indecisively written character who makes stupid decisions and acts rebellious in the most insufferable of ways. The dialogue is often insipid.
After a lot of promise in the first half, 'War of the Worlds' is let down significantly by the second half where the pace slackens (a notable example being that overlong scene in the basement) and the suspense dramatically wilts (such as when the aliens are introduced, and they are not menacing in the slightest) and is replaced by ridiculousness, frustrating character decisions and sentimentality. The Hollywood schmaltz kicks in and keeps assaulting the viewer at full throttle, while the ending is up there as one of film's most false, cloying and anti-climactic.
In conclusion, a frustratingly uneven film that starts off quite well and then completely falls apart. 5/10 Bethany Cox
- Jan 20, 2017