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WAR OF THE WORLDS
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Reviewed by: Mike Catalano

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Starring:
Tom Cruise
Dakota Fanning
Justin Chatwin

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Aliens are taking over the world and Tom Cruise is trying to keep his family safe. While dodging the constant extraterrestrial attacks, he ends up learning a bit on why they are here and how to be a kick-ass survivalist.

Is it good movie?
I have always considered this movie the poison-tipped dart that ended Tom Cruise's career as a big-time box office draw. I almost want to say the same thing for Spielberg because his next two efforts (MUNICH and CRYSTAL SKULL) both didn't perform up to box office expectations. However, Cruise's fading star seems to be the bigger sting and clearly, WAR OF THE WORLDS has got to be the culprit. Remember, this was the movie that Tom was promoting when he jumped on Oprah's couch.

And after watching the movie again, the reason for the box office loser "poison theory" makes sense. It is just a bad film. Has Spielberg just gotten lazy with his non-Oscar-worthy flicks? Come on, man! The dude that once gave us E.T. seems to be content nowadays with merely setting up a production of thrilling amazement, and then cause it to all topple over by not supplying a satisfying conclusion. That's what I like to call lazy story-telling and it is inexcusable!

I should have known right from somewhere around the beginning that this blockbuster spaceship had a shot at sucking. I'm talking about the scene where the aliens first make their presence know from beneath? the Earth. They aliens start zapping random people, leaving nothing but their clothes behind. I've just gotta say that this looks absolutely ridiculous! It looks like people are turning into clothes! If you want to have a movie where people are being zapped by f*cking aliens, then the people better freakin' explode into bloody bits a la DISTRICT 9! Maybe Spielberg only did this to get a PG-13 rating, but last time I looked, DISTRICT 9 made a shitload of money and got nominated for an Oscar!

It's just so pathetic that so many talented film folks could blow what really should have been an INDEPENDENCE DAY-style hit. I mean, I did appreciate some of the action bits as well as the carnage-covered landscapes of the alien aftermath. However, this again brings up another confoundingly stupid point: why the f*ck are the aliens vaporizing (ie: turning people into clothes) in the beginning if their intentions are to harvest their bodies? See what I mean? It makes absolutely no friggin' sense! Plus, are you telling me that these aliens were intelligent enough to plant "spies" here on Earth way long ago, yet could easily be fooled by people hiding behind a mirror?!

And please, don't even get me started on the absolute cop out, action-less ending we're spoon-fed. Any chance this movie had at redeeming the crap that was the mid-section is completely destroyed by this ham handed, wussy of a conclusion. I was very insulted and I refuse to speak one more word on this movie.

Video / Audio
Video Widescreen 1.85:1 and it sure looks sweet!

Audio English 5.1 Dolby Digital definitely rockin' the house! Also in French, Spanish, Portuguese with subtitles for all.

The Extras
Oh, there are plenty of extras... just nothing new. All are from the DVD 2-disc special edition. You get:

Revisiting the Invasion which quickly compares Spielberg's crapfest to the 1953 original.

The H.G. Wells Legacy which features interviews with the visionary's family. Kinda boring, unless you're a big fan of the man.

Steven Spielberg and the Original War of the Worlds which compares the remake's effects with the old. This was cool.

Characters: The Family Unit which discusses the family relations in the flick. Blah.

Previsualization which shows a bit of the prep work done for shooting.

Four Production Diaries take us behind the scenes for a while.

Designing the Enemy: Tripods and Aliens which gives a nicely detailed account on the special effects.

Scoring War of the Worlds which gives brilliant composer John Williams a chance to shine.

We Are Not Alone which briefly touches on Spielberg's alien movies (E.T., CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, and WAR OF THE WORLDS).

Four Galleries showcasing costume and production sketches, production stills, and behind the scenes action.

Lastly, the Teaser Trailer in HD.

Last Call
An absolute blown opportunity in terms of a mega sci-fi blockbuster. Silly action, terrible plotting, and the precocious Dakota Fanning. Sure, the effects are quite crisp on Blu-Ray and the special features are abundant, but is that really a good enough reason to shell out $25 or more?

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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