War of the Worlds Reviews

Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
June 8, 2007
Spielberg's calculations turn out to be more prominent than any effects they could possibly produce, and the less pretentious 1953 version by producer George Pal emerges as more likable.
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Jessica Winter
Time Out
June 24, 2006
The film succeeds as pure sensation, an exacting distillation of fear.
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Ken Tucker
New York Magazine/Vulture
May 12, 2006
Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds is huge and scary, moving and funny-another capper to a career that seems like an unending succession of captivations.
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
September 26, 2005
There likely won't be a more gripping film this year than Spielberg's War Of The Worlds, which at its best glides along like choreography with a camera, slowly parsing out information while shrouding the rest in shadow and suggestion.
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
July 14, 2005
Overall, the film is too lacking in feeling to provide a recognizably human experience.
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 7, 2005
It's a thrilling ride...[but] this bountiful pot of signifiers leaves a caustic aftertaste.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
July 7, 2005
War of the Worlds is taut, gripping and surprisingly dark filmmaking.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
July 7, 2005
H.G. Wells wouldn't recognize his 1898 alien-invasion novel, The War of the Worlds, in Steven Spielberg's updated film version. But Wells could probably relate to the ensuing fear and panic.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
July 7, 2005
There's stuff to make you go 'Wow!' but nothing you'll remember the next day.
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David Denby
New Yorker
July 5, 2005
It's as if the aliens landed and everyone died so that Tom Cruise could grow up one more time.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
July 5, 2005
[B]y far the biggest, loudest and most elaborate adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic.
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Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
June 30, 2005
The imagery is startling not just for its symbolic resonances, but for the breathless intensity with which it sears the screen.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
June 29, 2005
War of the Worlds may not stand up well to careful inspection and it may not be the smartest science fiction film brought to the screen, but it is an intense, visceral experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
June 29, 2005
War of the Worlds is an attack-of-the-aliens disaster film crafted with sinister technological grandeur -- a true popcorn apocalypse.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
June 29, 2005
Extravagant in movie terms but stingy in emotional ones, it embodies all of Spielberg's bad impulses and almost none of his good ones.
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Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
June 29, 2005
War of the Worlds' is a picture without a thought in its pretty head: the Tom Cruise movie to end all Tom Cruise movies.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
June 29, 2005
An important film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
June 29, 2005
Meticulously detailed and expertly paced and photographed, with sights so spectacular and terrible that viewers will have to consciously remind themselves to close their mouths when their jaws drop open.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
June 29, 2005
Urgent and pungent.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
June 29, 2005
Its exploitation of tragic iconography -- just to amp up the screams, tug some tears and sell a few more million movie tickets -- should be deplored.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
June 29, 2005
When it comes to searing and iconic visual imagery, Spielberg is still the best filmmaker around.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
June 29, 2005
Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds is a close encounter of the blurred kind, an orchestration of chaos and panic and destruction as visceral as it can get.
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
June 29, 2005
In terms of sheer spectacle alone, War of the Worlds is a winner. If this movie doesn't help stop or turn around the box-office slide of the past few months, then Hollywood really is in big trouble.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
June 29, 2005
Spielberg is pretty much incapable of making a terrible movie anymore. But he has plainly forgotten a lot of what makes a good popcorn movie since his Jurassic period. Where's the fun?
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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V.A. Musetto
New York Post
June 29, 2005
This disappointing War of the Worlds limps to a conclusion that mercifully insures there will not be a sequel.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
June 29, 2005
The movie is no fun. There's none of the spirited adrenaline you expect from a bang-up blockbuster. I've docked it a star or so because it is nasty and mean-spirited, and plays on shocking allusions to 9/11 imagery.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
June 29, 2005
It is nerve-wracking and gripping and draws specific parallels, both dramatically and visually, to 9/11, but never in a way that seems anything but natural.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
June 29, 2005
Much is destroyed in Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds, but the movie never quite delivers an emotional knockout blow.
| Original Score: C+
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Tom Long
Detroit News
June 29, 2005
In his latest science-fiction epic, director Steven Spielberg shows he's better at blowing up the world than anyone else alive. Unfortunately, he also shows he has no idea how to put the world back together.
| Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
June 29, 2005
This is B-movie material all the way, yet it's not only watchable, it's engrossing. That's because the material is in the hands of an A-talent director, who knows, as few of his contemporaries do, how to manipulate the plastic qualities of a film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
June 29, 2005
Wow, indeed.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
June 29, 2005
War of the Worlds can be a nightmarish trip, but it's a terrific film, a blockbuster that lives up to its billing.
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
June 29, 2005
A first-class pop entertainment packed to the brim with astounding effects and near-non-stop action and suspense.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
June 29, 2005
War of the Worlds pushes some of the right buttons and enough of the wrong ones to make you wish that Spielberg would move on from aliens already and use his unparalleled talents to focus once more on earth.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
June 28, 2005
War of the Worlds is a big, clunky movie containing some sensational sights but lacking the zest and joyous energy we expect from Steven Spielberg.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
June 28, 2005
Drawbacks aside, with War of the Worlds, Hollywood is calling on Spielberg to deliver this summer's blockbuster, and he accomplishes the task. The movie is solid all the way around, and Spielberg's touches are everywhere.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
June 28, 2005
Steven Spielberg's meticulous, thrilling and chilling War of the Worlds is a testimony to tension.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
June 28, 2005
Spielberg seems to have resigned himself to the fact that he'll never match the impact of the radio show, but he's making no bones about going after that FX Oscar.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
June 28, 2005
With War of the Worlds [Spielberg] has made what is arguably one of the best 1950s science fiction films ever.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
June 28, 2005
Steven Spielberg's reasonably entertaining rendering of the 1898 H. G. Wells novel is an elemental story of predator and prey.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
June 28, 2005
It's the human struggle that makes this a sci-fi masterpiece.
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
June 28, 2005
War of the Worlds reinvigorates the pulse-racing thrill and unalloyed paranoia of vintage '50s sci-fi.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
June 28, 2005
Steven Spielberg returns to the scary territory of Jaws and Jurassic Park and once again proves himself to be the most gifted movie entertainer of his generation.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
June 28, 2005
We knew Spielberg had action chops, but didn't know he had this in him. This anti-E.T. is so rigorously realized it makes Independence Day look like Finding Neverland.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Bob Longino
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
June 28, 2005
When it's in full throttle, there's not been and probably won't be a better action movie out there this summer.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
June 28, 2005
Exploring the dark side of his old films E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Spielberg more than does justice to the granddaddy of all alien-invasion tales, H.G. Wells' still terrifying novel published in 1898.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
June 28, 2005
A gritty, intense and supremely accomplished sci-fier about some distinctly unbenign alien invaders.
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Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
June 28, 2005
It's a rare thing -- a summer movie that demands to be taken as a serious emotional experience.