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War of the Worlds Review

Published June 30, 2005 in Movie Reviews
By Ryan Parsons | Image property of Paramount
War of the Worlds Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds
In the film War of the Worlds, Steven Spielberg drops all the friendly extra-terrestrial formulas noted in ET and Close Encounters of the Third Kind and instead throws us some of the baddest mother-f*@ckers in the galaxy.

War of the Worlds- Synopsis

War of the Worlds is about a dead-beat dad who needs something as horrific as an alien invasion to finally assume the responsibilities of fatherhood. By watching the events occur through the eyes of Ray Ferrier [Tom Cruise], we discover that even the worst fathers love their kids and will do anything to protect them.

What started as an extremely cool looking lightning storm behind Ray's house later developed into the beginning of a massive alien invasion, or should I say human extermination, on planet Earth. Considering no weapons can stop what seems to be technology far more advanced then our own, Ray is forced to go on his own to protect his children from the alien slaughter.

War of the Worlds- Movie Review

Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise are one of the rare Hollywood pairs that guarantee great movies each time they meet. The duo first surprised us with the film Minority Report, which offered a story of a unique future where murder and crime could be stopped. Teaming up again, Spielberg and Cruise have created a film so cool, so intense, and so hold - on - to - your - seat, that it would be hard to imagine any film outdoing War of the Worlds this summer.

War of the Worlds Aliens have come to exterminate humans, and feed their red weed.
War of the Worlds is the perfect high-octane science-fiction adventure that does everything a summer blockbuster should. Spielberg is a genius when it comes to making the most chaotic of scenes look realistic. When you watch the first alien attack in War of the Worlds you should get a little déjà vu of Saving Private Ryan with the intense explosions, shaky camera, and even the film stock that was used. The opening alien attack remains to be my favorite scene in the entire run of War of the Worlds. No other part of the film, nor probably any other film during this summer, has any chance of outdoing that opening attack. Watching the panicked humans flee as they get toasted by alien death rays is something that should have been hard to create, but Spielberg makes it look as real as life.

That said, I want to point out how amazing the special effects are in War of the Worlds. Watching machine tripods cruise through city streets with destructive mechanical rhythm was something to see, and there isn't a second where you could call Spielberg on overuse of cheap CGI [a problem in some of today's films]. While the realism to the film did add a good portion to the suspense, it was the characters themselves who drove the film and kept us tied to our seats.

One nice thing about Spielberg, and Cruise for that matter, is that he knows how to bring any story back to the individual. Let me start by saying that the plot for War of the Worlds is thin. The story that carries the film follows a lets - keep - running - from - the - aliens' formula, which usually wouldn't bode well in your standard movie. The only way Spielberg is able to carry a plot such as this is through two channels. The first is the intense special effects and action sequences, which are nothing short of top-notch. The second driving element is the characters played by Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, and Justin Chatwin. These three make up the essential family set that we follow throughout War of the Worlds as they continuously attempt to avoid extermination.

Tom Cruise proves once again that he is a terrific actor and has no problem adjusting to any character. Playing the role of dead-beat dad, we follow Cruise's character as his attachment, and love, for his children is continuously tested. Some of the greatest scenes come from when Cruise's character breaks down into shaking and in tears after highly intense and stressful situations. There is a scene where the family almost gets lynched by a mob of people for their vehicle; something that not only emotional strains the characters but the moviegoers as well..

War of the Worlds The actors play on their characters emotional distress beautifully.
While Tom is great, it is Dakota Fanning who steals the spotlight in War of the Worlds. This girl is an amazing actress, and her emotions played on film were so real and astounding that you can't help to feel that you are watching real emotional distress placed on this little girl. Let me say that I hope she gets nominated for some type of award for her role in War of the Worlds. I don't want to go farther into details with her, as her most emotional moments seem to arise out of some of the best scenes in the film.

One of the coolest aspects of the film is that it does not waste any time to get the story rolling and the alien invasion kicking [within fifteen minutes the aliens strike], having one of the quickest starts I have seen in films of late. The only problem with War of the Worlds is that it ends just as quickly, leaving the final ten minutes to be the weakest part of the entire film. It seemed that after all the intense situations thrown at us through the viewing of War of the Worlds, Spielberg wanted to end the film softly. Therefore, you begin to feel slightly awkward by the end of the showing as everything begins to come apart. I hate knowing when an end is coming, and with the final few segments in War of the Worlds hurried through, the film ended on a slight downhill. However, right before I got disappointed about the change of pace I remembered the first hour and forty minutes of the movie and left the theatre thinking what an amazing movie I had just watched.

Definitely count me in for a second viewing of War of the Worlds in theatres.


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Ryan Parsons
Sources: Image property of Paramount

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