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 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.
The wide shot of the bridge exploding, followed by a tanker crashing into a group of houses as the minivan escapes, was conceived of, and shot, only one month prior to its footage premiering during the SuperBowl spot, effects ready and all. See more »
When they leave Mary Ann's house in the minivan, Ray has Rachel in his arms, and the pink cord on Rachel's sweater disappears between shots. It's hanging on her arm, under Ray's chin, the first time he tells his son to get in the van, but it's not there the second time, and it's back on the third. 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 »
War of the Worlds marks the second collaboration between 2 of Hollywood's most influential figures, that of director Steven Spielberg and megastar Tom Cruise. In this updated adaptation of H.G. Well's classic, we revisit alien territory already familiar with Spielberg (with evergreens like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and E.T.), except that this time around, the aliens are not an iota friendly and wastes no time proving its point with its laser beams.
Cruise plays Ray, a middle class salaried worker whose ex-wife (Miranda Otto, in an underused role) leaves their estranged kids with for the weekend. Being the selfish carefree man that he is, it is no wonder why he doesn't get much respect, especially from his son. Before you can say move on with the melodrama, worldwide lightning phenomenon gets TV coverage, and soon enough, the horror begins, as the well known battle tripods rise from beneath the earth and annihilate everything on site.
The special effects are brilliant, and serves as an effective plot device for unspeakable, unexplainable horror. Spielberg teases you with indirect shots of the tripods, from mirrors and reflective surfaces, never letting you see from a first person's perspective for too long, keeping in pace with the initial suspense built.
Terrorist attacks were mentioned in conversation, and perhaps this movie also serves as a timely reminder of always being prepared, with emergency equipment, stashes of food, and familiarity with emergency procedures.
This film could take the easy way out and focus on the big explosions ala Independence Day, but since that was already done, we get to focus on the smaller picture, that of the survival of the family unit in crisis, and I applaud this approach. Conflicts arise and sometimes solved through unpopular decisions, and that's the way of life. Most times we do not have complete information, and need to make split second life determining decisions.
However, the pace slackens toward the end of the movie, and steers us back with reminders that this is after all a summer action blockbuster, with predictable endings, some plot loopholes and worse, rushed explanations.
Tom Cruise doesn't get to flash his pearly whites so often here, as we see a transformation from irresponsibility, and in his son's opinion, cowardice, to courageous dad whose children are his first priority. I'd dare say Cruise is in his element here, saving the day (in a not so direct manner).
Dakota Fanning shines as Ray's daughter Rachel, bringing forth a sense of vulnerability with her fear of enclosed spaces, and her love for her father and brother. Being the little damsel in distress, who wouldn't want to save her and ensure that she survives this horrible onslaught? Serves well as a Hollywood summer blockbuster, but not the "most anticipated" for this year as claimed by some.
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