"War of the Worlds"
Tom Cruise. Dakota
Fanning. Sci-fi / Action.
first wave of an alien invasion, planned long ago, is temporarily
misdiagnosed as bizarre lightning storms.
and suspense-filled. A great Fourth of July weekend movie.
Ray Ferrier (Cruise)
has just arrived home to realize that he is 30 minutes late to receive
his children from his ex-wife. He is watching them over the weekend,
and his ex-wife is not impressed - with Ray or the state of his
The next morning brings
with it mysterious storm clouds and repetitive lightning strikes,
the likes of which no one has ever seen. As Ray goes out into the
city (like everyone else, except his two children who have been
instructed to stay at home), he soon finds that the lightning strikes
have resulted in more than craters in the streets and the disabling
of every electrical device, including all cars and trucks - a huge,
mechanical vehicle rises from beneath the Earth's surface, and begins
destroying everything around it.
Just before this occurs,
Ray mentions to a mechanic friend trying to fix a mini-van that
he should replace the solenoid. This works (of course) and after
Ray retrieves his daughter Rachel (Fanning) and his son Robbie (Justin
Chatwin), Ray proceeds to steal the mini-van so that he has the
only working vehicle in New Jersey. Don't fret for the owner of
the mini-van - it is highly unlikely that he or she would have survived
the initial attack. And if he or she did, there will soon be more
than enough problems of much larger magnitude on which to focus.
The trio escapes to the
suburbs, only to find that Ray's ex-wife and husband must have already
left for her parents' house in Boston.
After encountering more
cataclysmic events, Ray begins the trek to Boston. To divulge any
more of the film's plot would be unfair, except that they run into
a survivalist (Tim Robbins) hiding out in a farmhouse. The survivalist
is convinced that he can take out one of the machines if given the
The film generates a
significant amount of suspense and tension, most of which occurs
while the small unit is holed up in the basement of the farmhouse.
And even though these scenes worked, the sequences are reminiscent
of some of Spielberg's earlier films.
There are also a lot
of similarities between the initial attack and 9/11. People are
covered in ash, running hysterically from the point of impact. In
fact, rather than postulate that the attacks might be of an alien
and Robbie ask their father if this is the work of "the terrorists."
I 'm not certain if the similarities mean anything, or if they are
simply just similarities.
You will be captivated
for the first two-thirds of the movie, particularly as you witness
Tom Cruise portraying a definitely un-heroic character, one step
away from being labeled a dead-beat dad.
But then an event occurs that changes the complexion of the film,
and Spielberg falls back to a less aggressive position, which is
Still, it is interesting
to watch these towering machines laying waste to the city, the countryside,
A warning - if you' re
a fan of the dumbed-down, cheesy, "Go America" flick that
was Independence Day, then steer clear of War of the Worlds.