Synopsis

An ordinary man has to protect his children against alien invaders in this science fiction action film 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.

Director

Steven Spielberg

Cast

Tom Cruise
as Ray Ferrier
Dakota Fanning
as Rachel Ferrier
Justin Chatwin
as Robbie Ferrier
Miranda Otto
as Mary-Ann
Tim Robbins
as Harlan Ogilvy
Camillia Sanes
as News Producer
John Scurti
as Ferry Captain

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Nigel St. Buggering 6 /10

A brilliant alien invasion film for the first two acts

What Spielberg, Cruise, and Koepp accomplish here in the first two acts is nothing short of revolutionary. They've made a big-budget summer blockbuster about massive destruction and action that manages to studiously avoid every cliché and expectation of such films. It stays resolutely on the characters' points of view, showing us almost nothing they don't see, even to the point of coming tantalizingly close to a raging battle, then avoiding showing it. It keeps its focus on character instead of spectacle. The "hero" of the piece remains decidedly unheroic, wanting only to escape, and trying to talk others out of fighting back. The purpose of every piece of action is to frighten and disturb rather than thrill, making ingenious use of familiar 9/11 imagery. At the end of the second act, it is hands-down the best alien invasion film ever made, and perhaps one of the best sci-films of all time.

Then something strange happens. The filmmakers lose their nerve, and remember that this is an extremely expensive summer film financed by two studios. Or perhaps it was the fact that it stars Tom Cruise, who up to this point has spent almost two hours doing nothing but run for his life. Suddenly, and tragically, the film changes, violating not only its carefully established tone, but its own internal logic. Suddenly, Cruise begins to act like a hero, and summer action clichés force their way into the story like a worm into an apple. The transition is jarring, and it creates a serious disconnect from the story.

While it's true that Wells' original ending creates a problem for a movie, here they try to remain faithful to it, while still shoehorning moments of triumph into the conclusion. Unfortunately, these moments come off as alternately false, unbelievable, and meaningless, since it isn't mankind that defeats the invaders in the end.

Is it recommendable? Well, I suppose that depends on what kind of viewer you are. If you feel that 75% brilliant material overshadows the 25% that falls apart, then you'll enjoy it. If, however, you're the kind of viewer who feels that the final impression a movie makes is its ultimate stamp on your memory, you may be in for a crushing disappointment. On the other hand, if you're the kind of viewer who just likes the cliché of the boom-boom summer action spectacle, you're likely to be bored and frustrated with the first two acts, and only engage in the end. It is confused about what audience it's trying to reach, and consequently, isn't likely to satisfy any of them.

Reviewed by jonathan-kistanis 10 /10

The IMDb Rating Doesn't Give This Film Justice

I'm a young fan of Steven Spielberg, and all his movies are wonderful and phenomenal. War of the Worlds (2005) is no exception. I don't know why it only got a 6.5/10 on IMDb. In my humble opinion, considering how intense and dramatic it was, it should've got a 7.0 minimum.

But hey, if I like a movie, then reviews don't matter to me.

Anyway, Steven Spielberg did it again with this bone-chilling, suspenseful, and INTIMIDATING movie. When you watch if, you feel as if you're a victim yourself of the Martians and their Tripods. They sealed a plan many years ago to destroy humanity and make our planet theirs. With their high-tech technology they can disintegrate a human- being in one nanosecond.

What made this film excellent was the acting. Tom Cruise plays a divorced man who, in the end, is the one who saves the day despite an estranged relationship with his children. You can tell he wants to protect his family at all costs, even if it means the end of the world, Dakota Fanning, being only 10-11 in the film, did a PHENOMENAL and convincing job as a terrified, anxious and innocent little girl. I could feel her shock and hysteria. I don't know any girl her age at the time who could've done a better job. Spielberg did a successful job at giving the atmosphere a claustrophobic, impacting-doom feeling. No one is safe; regardless at how well they protect themselves. Not even the US military. When you see one of those three-legged tripods all you want to do is sit at the edge of your seat!

I overall love the plot basis of how a dad can prove to his children how much he loves them during an alien invasion. I also love the comedic elements added in that were amongst Ray, Rachel, and Robbie; such as how when Ray says he's going to tattle on Mom every time they disobey him. Haha! It's a very simple plot yet dramatic, suspenseful, and TERRIFYING!

If I could choose, I would've given the main movie's rating an 8.0 out of 10. It's unique and never dull for a single moment. Wonderful movie with just the right amount scares, emotion, and triumph. You're amazing, Mr. Spielberg!

Reviewed by jeffstotler 3 /10

People were laughing after the screening

After the screening, some people cheered and clapped, others sat in disgust and laughed. I felt cheated. Spielberg was not even playing within his own rules. When the attack begins, every piece of electronic equipment stops working. There is even a nice shot of Tom Cruise's watch, stopped, of course. However, moments later when the Tripod rises from the earth, people are snapping pictures on digital cameras and one person is videotaping everything on a camcorder.

The movie does have some great effects but the storyline is seriously lacking. The part of the movie that left me feeling cheated is the end. We have just seen the destruction of millions of humans, but Cruise is able to make it to Boston, a large city, where the streets are deserted. We focus in on a row of Brownstones where a single family emerges. The family looks as if they are about to go to a wedding. Everyone is clean, well dressed, and Tom Cruise's ex-mother-in-law looks like she just had a manicure. We are supposed to believe that after this horrible attack, this one family is unscathed and reunited in a major city? Don't be ridiculous. I hoped this movie would be a blockbuster. Something to make me believe Hollywood is generating creative, and innovative stories to take me away from reality for a couple of hours. This movie was a serious disappointment.

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