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War of the Worlds (2005)
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Review Date: June 27, 2005
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: David Koepp
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Colin Wilson
Actors:
Tom Cruise as Ray
Dakota Fanning as Rachel
Justin Chatwin as Robbie
Plot:
A really bad father gets his son and daughter for the weekend and decides to crash in bed before taking them on as his chore. When he wakes up, he notices an odd lightning storm in his backyard. Checking it out a little closer, he notices that it isn’t an odd lightning storm after all, but rather, an alien invasion of our planet! For the next two hours, we follow this threesome as they attempt to survive this massive attack. PS: Tom Cruise loves Katie Holmes.
Critique:
Steven. Spielberg. Is. A. Great. Filmmaker. I used to love this guy as a kid, you know, he made a couple of cool flicks a la JAWS, E.T., RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK…a few others. Then, he grew up…well, sort of. Over the past few years, he’s delivered a more mature, different side of himself, with movies that kick ass in the darker vein a la SAVING PRIVATE DAMON, A.I., MINORITY REPORT and now, WAR OF THE WORLDS and wow…it’s yet another triumph in an amazing career of outstanding motion pictures. I mean, is there any other person in show-business with a greater filmography track record than Mr. Spielberg? Yeah okay…maybe Tom Cruise, right? Well, he stars in this movie and despite his very odd monologues and “love for Katies” in public of late, he comes through in character, once again, as a regular ol’ dad, who as the aliens invade, and the end of the world nears, gets his shit in gear, and recognizes some of the errors in his ways, the love for his family and all that fun stuff. Together, Cruise and Spielberg have created one great summer movie, as well as an amazing science-fiction adventure, packed with action a-plenty, highly impressive special effects, plenty of cool tripod alien ships and aliens, but also a lighter side, including a couple of choice laughs (“Like what…Europe?”) and a believable bond between the lead family, that starts off like many families in the world, but is infinitely changed by the tragic happenings around them. Yes, just like many of Spielberg’s previous films, this movie’s got a heart and that’s what takes it to that other level, such that you are further invested in the characters, and actually give a rat’s about whether or not they are zapped into oblivion.

That said, it’s to note that ultimately this is a very dark, creepy, thrilling and all-around science-fiction adventure that, unlike its teaser marketing campaign, does not hold back in terms of its visuals with plenty of “flying saucers”, aliens and zapping of human animals sprinkled throughout its plotline. The film contains at least 3-4 masterful sequences in which all hell is breaking loose, and you attempt not to blink as you don’t want to miss one of the extra-terrestrials blasting some asshole away. My favorite had to be the one in which some of the mechanism behind the tripods is revealed, or any of the wide shots of the bedlam occurring about town. Wow…you just look up in awe. Sure, there were a few points in the story during which I just had to roll my eyes up a little and allow the suspension of disbelief to wash itself all over me (They’re driving the car through a highway filled with stalled vehicles and they get through, no problem? Also…the “mirror scene”…c’mon!), but there really weren’t too many of those points, and in the end, I allowed the fact that it was a friggin’ movie about an alien invasion, to keep my concentration centered on the bigger picture, which between and you…looked awesome! One thing I cannot forgive, however, is one plot point that seems to indicate something pretty bad happening to someone pretty important, but this something, as per most Spielberg vehicles, ultimately turns out to be untrue. Again, I have to say…it’s a movie about an alien invasion…I don’t think the audience would mind if ONE FRIGGIN’ important person disappears here! I mean…c’mon man! Granted, most moviegoers will surely appreciate the heartfelt moment, but not me…I would have preferred to have experienced a greater death, but alas, I’m just some jerk writing movie reviews for a living, so just move on to the next paragraph.

Those small twinges of negativity aside, the film kicked my ass from its sharp opening, to its character development, to its quick pace, stupendous special effects, dark imagery and realistic environment. It had everything you’d look for in a summer blockbuster and more. My dad was recently quoted as saying that this film was gonna “suck” because of the glut of publicity behind it over the past month or so, but my dad appears to have been wrong in this case, as the film comes through gangbusters, tossing aliens, deaths, tripods, red stuff, Cruise in form, Fanning playing adorable and Spielberg at his best all over the big screen, and daring us not to like. Well…me likey. Me likey a lot.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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3:32AM on 04/19/2006

A close enocunter of the best kind

This is an amazing film. Not just for the cool effects and action sequences, but also for how complex and deep it is. Spielberg is on top of his game here. It's kind of sad that so many people didn't realize just how good this was when it was in theaters. This is way better than the 1953 version. Easily one of my three favorite summer movies from last year. THIS and MUNICH, both in the same year?! Spielberg has rarely been better.
This is an amazing film. Not just for the cool effects and action sequences, but also for how complex and deep it is. Spielberg is on top of his game here. It's kind of sad that so many people didn't realize just how good this was when it was in theaters. This is way better than the 1953 version. Easily one of my three favorite summer movies from last year. THIS and MUNICH, both in the same year?! Spielberg has rarely been better.
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2:18PM on 01/16/2006

Must See

This the perfect summer action movie right here. My favorite director with one of my favorite actors makes the best acting movie this year. The movie kept me interested through the whole thing. I loved the look of the alien tripods and loved the way they showed how they work and stuff. They looked pretty slick. And for those alien geeks out there, yes there are vaporizations and those look awesome. The action scenes had really good special effects and I have to say that the best part of the
This the perfect summer action movie right here. My favorite director with one of my favorite actors makes the best acting movie this year. The movie kept me interested through the whole thing. I loved the look of the alien tripods and loved the way they showed how they work and stuff. They looked pretty slick. And for those alien geeks out there, yes there are vaporizations and those look awesome. The action scenes had really good special effects and I have to say that the best part of the movie is the tripod parading through town. The ending was pretty slick also. I loved the scene where the alien tripod robot thing stalked them through the basement (reminded me of Jurassic Park). The negative points were that when Ray meets a survivor and stays in his basement they just talk and tat through me off track a little bit. There is also this part where Ray and his family in this big arse van and they somehow make it through parked cars all bunched together on the freeway. This is a very good movie and probably the best action movie of this year.
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11:51AM on 01/13/2006
Spielberg does it again. This guy definitely knows his stuff when it comes to directing movies. This flick has everything from suspense, horror, humor, and interesting characters. Whether you're mesmerized by the magnificence of the special effects that comes along with the tripods or horrified at the destruction and havoc they create, you're never bored or left hanging for a few seconds. If your mouth isn't open while you're in disbelief at some of the stuff that happens in this movie, I don't
Spielberg does it again. This guy definitely knows his stuff when it comes to directing movies. This flick has everything from suspense, horror, humor, and interesting characters. Whether you're mesmerized by the magnificence of the special effects that comes along with the tripods or horrified at the destruction and havoc they create, you're never bored or left hanging for a few seconds. If your mouth isn't open while you're in disbelief at some of the stuff that happens in this movie, I don't know what you're thinking about because it is amazing (and, again, horrifying). They're ripping and shooting apart neighborhoods, creeping around basements looking for human survivors, and blowing away any kind of resistance the humans have to offer - freakin' awesome; the aliens and their "rides" are really cool to watch, scary to think about, and make for an excellent thrill ride at the movies.

And you've also got a great cast. Tom Cruise, when he isn't jumping around on Oprah's furniture and calling dumbasses - "jerks," is impressive (again - see Collateral and The Last Samurai) as a divorced father who's kind of neglectful towards his children - so much so that his son resents him and wants nothing to do with him. He's thrown into this predicament where aliens are trying to kill them and he runs for his life, trying to protect his kids in the process. Now, while the character development is nothing spectacular, you do sense that this guy does care for his kids and is doing everything in his power to protect them. Dakota Fanning plays his daughter - adorable. And Tim Robbins' cameo or small part is definitely memorable. He plays this "commando"-esque guy who's lost his family and plans a revolution against the attackers. His part comes off both comedic and a little creepy. It fits in perfectly with the rest of the movie.

But the thing that probably stands out more than anything is the visual spectacle. Not only the special effects, but the way Spielberg presents it through all kinds of angles, panning, dollying, and colors and so forth. While the ending - as far as the characters are concerned - is a little too easy, the story's ending does stay true to the book. All in all, a visually spectacular summer movie that both Spielberg fans and Cruise fans should have no trouble enjoying.
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10:36PM on 01/10/2006

A Truer adaptation on H.G. Wells novel.

In the old version of War of the Worlds it had lousy actors, lousy visual effects, but managed to be a great science fiction flick. I really did love the original, but the new version really packs a punch. Spielberg is possibly the best filmaker of all time. His motivations to make his films more realistic are so well balanced and are brought forth so visually outstanding you can't deny this film. H.G. Wells, who is my favorite author, wrote War of the Worlds and was published in 1897.
In the old version of War of the Worlds it had lousy actors, lousy visual effects, but managed to be a great science fiction flick. I really did love the original, but the new version really packs a punch. Spielberg is possibly the best filmaker of all time. His motivations to make his films more realistic are so well balanced and are brought forth so visually outstanding you can't deny this film. H.G. Wells, who is my favorite author, wrote War of the Worlds and was published in 1897. Wow! That was a long time ago. I was very impressed with all the visual effects. They didn't even look computer generated, so maybe War of the Worlds will get an academy award for best visual effects. Well, some people were disappointed with this awesome film, maybe they were looking for more alien action and less Tom Cruise crying. But hey! That's what happened in the novel.
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2:57AM on 11/27/2005

Expectations WAY too High

This really isn't a bad film, but I guess I set my expectations a bit high. But can you really blame me? It's Steven Spielberg!

As some peeps on here have stated, the film's biggest issue was its' story. I didn't buy Tom Cruise or his family for a single minute. Secondly, the ending was quite ridiculous. Birds are here to save the day! WOOHOO!...A big thumbs down to that. The special effects, however, were beyond awesome, and definitely kept my interest for most of the way. But I was
This really isn't a bad film, but I guess I set my expectations a bit high. But can you really blame me? It's Steven Spielberg!

As some peeps on here have stated, the film's biggest issue was its' story. I didn't buy Tom Cruise or his family for a single minute. Secondly, the ending was quite ridiculous. Birds are here to save the day! WOOHOO!...A big thumbs down to that. The special effects, however, were beyond awesome, and definitely kept my interest for most of the way. But I was certainly disappointed overall. This doesn't mean I'm not a Spielberg fan anymore, though. He will continue to make great movies, as he always has.
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12:29AM on 07/28/2005

Decent, but to hyped

Pros:
Directing
Special Effects
Sweet tripods (special effects)
Always cool alien invasion theme

Cons:
Tom Cruise
Way to rushed ending (Tom: Hey look, birds. We're all going to be ok now!)
Plot holes
Tom Cruise

*Spoiler*


Even though I saw it coming a mile away, the son was alive at the end. I mean, come on.

And the aliens died of Earths good ol' bacteria. Way to go geniuses, like we haven't seen that one end almost every single alien invasion movie.


*END OF
Pros:
Directing
Special Effects
Sweet tripods (special effects)
Always cool alien invasion theme

Cons:
Tom Cruise
Way to rushed ending (Tom: Hey look, birds. We're all going to be ok now!)
Plot holes
Tom Cruise

*Spoiler*


Even though I saw it coming a mile away, the son was alive at the end. I mean, come on.

And the aliens died of Earths good ol' bacteria. Way to go geniuses, like we haven't seen that one end almost every single alien invasion movie.


*END OF SPOILERS*

Quick Review: A decent movie, doesn't deserve the hype it's getting. But great special effects. Still, it's no JAWS.
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7:33PM on 07/27/2005

Instant Classic

Although it's not the best film of 2005, it is one of the best. Spielberg puts ID4 to shame on this one. Although it's not Spielbergs story, he sure knew how to tell it. This story is an easy story to mess up but Spielberg nailed it. This movie is a more realistic look at mankinds reactions if all of a sudden we were being attacked. ID4 was all about humans holding hands and wanting to fight back and they defeat the aliens in a yeah fucking right sort of way. War of the Worlds however is about
Although it's not the best film of 2005, it is one of the best. Spielberg puts ID4 to shame on this one. Although it's not Spielbergs story, he sure knew how to tell it. This story is an easy story to mess up but Spielberg nailed it. This movie is a more realistic look at mankinds reactions if all of a sudden we were being attacked. ID4 was all about humans holding hands and wanting to fight back and they defeat the aliens in a yeah fucking right sort of way. War of the Worlds however is about survival and escape while humans turn on each other for their own safety. This time the aliens are brought down by a more realistic way, although a lot of people dislike it, it's more beleivable.(I liked it though, plus it's what the original story was)
Some things however did stick out that I thought were stupid. One was the fate of the son. It really would have been stronger if Spiel went the other way with that. The other was the stupid defense shield on the tripods. I hate those stupid green defense shields that all alien movies have. Figure out another way to make the tripods indestructable.
I'm not gonna let those few things ruin my movie though. I thought Spielberg did a great job. My favorite part of this film is the beginning with the narration. Excellent touch, it sent shivers down my spine.
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2:10AM on 07/27/2005

Best Film of 2005

Steven Spielberg is a master of technique and camera movements. It's not hard to see how his style has influenced young marvels such as M. Night Shyamalan. He's provided mass entertainment that moves the viewer or puts audiences at the edge of their seat. He's an overgrown child (a good thing), still able to instill the wonders of a child's eyes into our eyes.

The wonders have not ceased; rather, they have been replaced by an awe of horrific proportions. The massive global scale
Steven Spielberg is a master of technique and camera movements. It's not hard to see how his style has influenced young marvels such as M. Night Shyamalan. He's provided mass entertainment that moves the viewer or puts audiences at the edge of their seat. He's an overgrown child (a good thing), still able to instill the wonders of a child's eyes into our eyes.

The wonders have not ceased; rather, they have been replaced by an awe of horrific proportions. The massive global scale annihilation of the human population in War of the Worlds is not simply an exercise in popcorn entertainment; when we see people being incinerated by beams, their ashes floating over the others who are screaming for their lives, we have entered a darker view of human existence than Spielberg has provided lately. He remains the optimist, but several sequences in the film contain brutal power to show otherwise: the floating bodies in the river, the herding of people onto a ferry and disregarding others, and, most shockingly, the carjacking scene. This isn't just an annihilation -- it goes into a fight for survival. And we see this through the eyes of the 3-person Ferrier family.

Tom Cruise gives one of the year's best leading male perfomances, outside of Terrence Howard in Hustle and Flow. There's something about Cruise that makes you buy him in his various roles, and this particular one is his best because it is the simplest character he can play. Ray Ferrier is a bit of a deadbeat, not really knowing what to do to be involved in the lives of his kids. The rate of survival following the attacks is nil to zero, and this is as good a chance as any for him to prove his worth, and in turn show a newfound love for his kids that maybe he didn't know how to express prior to the invasion. The beautiful scene where he admits to not knowing a lullaby to sing is the most moving in the film. Dakota Fanning is a young actress who is on the cusp of straddling two worlds: the precocious, wise beyond her years child and the mature adult. This is a simple role (she's just a normal kid), but she makes if effortless in her ability to communicate fear and terror, while at the same time being headstrong. Justin Chatwin has the more difficult role of Robbie; he has to find the right balance between sullen resentment and fervent retaliation. Tim Robbins' extended small role makes a lasting impression, despite what people thought was a lugubrious portion of the movie.

The characters matter throughout the film -- we see the awesomely large tripods, but the family is kept in the foreground during these scenes. When the end comes, Spielberg has not in any way diminished the appreciation of the final product. Most people deride the ending, but I find it important because it doesn't let us forget the importance of life, and how much humanity has been cost in this war (bringing echoes of 9/11 and the war in Iraq?). The family is reunited, but this does not belittle the tragedy of others. There isn't any need for Will Smith to spout one-liners before destroying an alien vessel -- War of the Worlds succeeds by putting humanity back into perspective, and making us realize that our survival rate depends on the reality that we are not the only ones in the world.
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2:40PM on 07/26/2005
shit i dont understand the hate on this film and all the nip ticking first off we dont see the son in the middle of the explosion we only assume he was there since he wentthe soilders so who knows if he was in the middle or in the corner so dont take pionts of for that and the happy ending or the way the aliens die read the book first cuz it adapts the book goddamnit. People arent being fair with this movie i can niptick every movie made to death to the piont where i dont like it.
shit i dont understand the hate on this film and all the nip ticking first off we dont see the son in the middle of the explosion we only assume he was there since he wentthe soilders so who knows if he was in the middle or in the corner so dont take pionts of for that and the happy ending or the way the aliens die read the book first cuz it adapts the book goddamnit. People arent being fair with this movie i can niptick every movie made to death to the piont where i dont like it.
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1:01PM on 07/25/2005

War of the Worlds

There are going to be spoilers in this review, so take caution!

A couple of things went through my head while watching War of the Worlds. Those were, Steven Spielberg is an amazing director; Most of the CGI was good; Plot was a little lacking. The Story is that Tom Cruise has to take care of his estranged kids while his ex-wife and her husband go to Boston. After she leaves strange phenomena start to happen. When Ray and the rest of the town go to check it out the ground caves in and
There are going to be spoilers in this review, so take caution!

A couple of things went through my head while watching War of the Worlds. Those were, Steven Spielberg is an amazing director; Most of the CGI was good; Plot was a little lacking. The Story is that Tom Cruise has to take care of his estranged kids while his ex-wife and her husband go to Boston. After she leaves strange phenomena start to happen. When Ray and the rest of the town go to check it out the ground caves in and reveals a giant alien machine that starts to evaporate everyone in site. Ray races, grabs his kids, gets in the only working car and proceeds to trek to Boston to find his wife.

The biggest problem with this movie is the plot. First were supposed to believe that the aliens put there spaceships underground millions of years ago and have now just decided the time is right to attack the inhabitants of our planet. If they wanted our plant why not take it a million years ago. How would they know that we would eventually come to be.

Second, the son ends up leaving his father and sister about halfway through the movie to help fight the aliens. After they get separated a giant tripod blows everything up. The only people left are Ray, his daughter, and Tim Robbins who is great as the paranoid psycho. The son should probably be dead but he of course survives and somehow makes it to Boston alone.

The Last thing I didn't like was sometimes the CGI felt off to me, especially in the hiding scene in Tim Robbins basement. The end also felt a little rushed and just kind of happened without to much build up.

That's out to say everything about this movie is bad. The directing is some of the best this year, and the acting is well done. As far as big budget Sci-Fi action movies go this one is overall a good experience, but should be seen in the theaters.

Pros
+ Directing
+ Action
+ Tim Robbins

Cons
- Lackluster plot
- Too fast of an ending
- CGI lacking in some parts

Favorite scene
Tim Robbins' off scene death.
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