War of the Worlds (2005)

PG-13   |    |  Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller


War of the Worlds (2005) Poster

As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival in this sci-fi action film.


6.5/10
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29 June 2005 | DICK STEEL
7
| A Nutshell Review: War of the Worlds
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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Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Adventure | Sci-Fi | Thriller

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