Jul 102005

War of the Worlds (2005)

As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.

Directed by
Steven Spielberg

Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwin, Tim Robbins, Rick Gonzalez, Yul Vazquez, Lenny Venito, Lisa Ann Walter, Gene Barry, David Alan Basche, Michael Brownlee, Camillia Sanes, Marlon Young, John Eddins, Peter Gerety

I know a lot of people are not Tom Cruise fans, and I’ve heard that a lot, but I thought the movie was better than I expected.

The film screams Spielberg. It transitions seamlessly from giant action to little moments. If you plan to see this movie, be warned: it is much more about the family unit than it is about the invasion (we’re not even given a reason for it) or how the world reacted to it. But that’s not to say that there’s no action. The first half of the film plus is pretty much non-stop edge-of-your-seat big-time action scenes. You want death rays? You got ’em! Giant lumbering robots? Check! Earthquakes? Explosions? Massive body count? Check, check.

If you’ve seen commercials or trailers, you’ve probably gathered that Ray (Tom Cruise) is trying to get himself and his two kids away from this. And that’s where the film stays. It’s very straightforward and linear, with nothing to steer the plot off-track. The characters are sidelined for a little bit while hiding out with a crazy man, played by Tim Robbins.

But while the son was interesting, the daughter (Dakota Fanning) had little more to do during the first half than scream. And WOW does she have a set of lungs. Sometimes I wished that Cruise had turned around to the backseat and smacked her and said “SHUT UP! YOU ARE NOT HELPING!” But then she probably would’ve screamed more, so, oh well. At one point during the film, the son, Robbie, tells Ray that his only motivation in going to Boston is to dump them (the kids) off on their mom so he can worry about himself. I gotta tell ya, I wouldn’t blame him.

Overall, it’s a fun flick. Is it a great film? Nah. There’s nothing new, nothing innovative, and nothing to make you think (except maybe how to plan against an alien invasion). If you plan to see it, understand that it really is just a summer popcorn flick. With that in mind, you probably won’t be disappointed.

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