War of The Worlds review

Steven Spielberg this modern update on a classic story by H.G. Wells, centred on humanitys reaction and one family in particular, as they fight to survive against an alien force, the film stars Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwin, Miranda Otto.

Yes this film was directed by Spielberg, a fairly straightforward alien invasion story that already has an existing film adaptation, we get a close look at how a family (the Ferriers) tries to survive with action man Tom Cruise playing Ray Ferrier who does a fair bit of his signature action running. From the offset, things are going at 100 miles per hour, much like Cruises running and it makes for an engaging and thrilling plot, though critics of the film would say there isn’t much story here with the plots visceral nature, the premise hooked me and what followed did keep my interest.

Cruise gives a solid performance and is one of the better things about the film, shining in the physical scenes as well as in the more emotional ones, this is a story about survival ultimately and going against the odds and that type of of story is one that will never quite get old, especially in sci-fi as things turn out. With the family relationship of the Ferriers being a central thing here as we see things from their point of view, dealing with the fallout of alien contact. Giving us just their perspective was a nice touch and I think it paid off, grounding events and giving you relatable characters to follow, though they are a tad cliché, Robbie (Justin Chatwin) is the thrill seeking teen son who wants to see action and get out there, while Rachel (Dakota Fanning) is losing it a bit and wants normalcy, while Ray (Tom Cruise) is trying to manage the situation and his kids as best he can.

Understandably the family dynamic can also get a bit annoying with Rachels naivety and… screaming, but it’s something that grounds the story as a whole and brings a sympathetic edge to the characters.

Spielberg uses his experience and vision to bring you more into the events, bringing shots right in among crowds as they view strange machines, bringing you right into the action as people get zapped, it all feels very in your face and uncensored as we see the fallout of the alien invasion. And the visuals do look good with explosions galore, general mass destruction and the eerie effect of people effectively getting turned into dust, with the later scenes on a red looking earth sticking out as being quite striking.

Alien invasion films are straightforward usually either great or pretty bad but War of The Worlds again defies convention and stands as a film that’s good, not spectacular but far from terrible, it has an interesting plot, some effective camera work and Cruise puts in a good shuffle, the ending may seem a bit out of the blue but I feel it’s a decent conclusion to one of the more solid alien invasion films out there.

7/10

. Plot flows well, stays engaging and interesting

. Has some good visuals, effective use of shots to engage

. Has some good slower, emotional moments too though the family moments can be annoying

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7 thoughts on “War of The Worlds review

  1. What I like about War of the Worlds is it is just a man and his family trying to get somewhere. This isn’t Tom Cruise versus the Aliens! Apart from one silly moment with a grenade belt, I think that aspect helps keep this movie different.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same here, he’s not the action hero or anything but just a regular family man caught up in it, it helps you empathise with his family and follow the story along.

      One of the things that makes WOTW a bit different and memorable.

      Like

  2. I quite liked this, a bit more than you did. It had big impressive moments, (the initial invasion scenes and the river crossing) and it had more intimate moments, (the basement), and it also had purely human horror, (the van take over scene with the mob). As much a I like the original film (1953), these machines were closer to what HG Wells described in his story.

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    • Yeah that’s fair enough, it’s very memorable as far as alien invasion films go for me (pretty much any moment with the tripods), the basement scene was also great.

      And that’s a good point, the martians are bad guys clearly but extreme situations brought out the ugly side of people which was interesting, there’s quite a lot of good to the film.

      Like

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