War of the Worlds Reviews
War of the Worlds is loosely based on the H.G. Wells novel of the same name, about a father and his children trying to cope with a global alien invasion. There have been so many of these alien invasion films over the years, so it's difficult for any of them to feel fresh and stick out to me. I think the one thing that separates this film from others is that Tom Cruise or any of the other actors aren't playing characters that fight the aliens, or "tripods" as they call them. It only makes up a matter of a few days following the first attack and the immediate aftermath.
Because of that, Cruise is given more to do dramatically than per usual. He gets a few stunts and an action scene or two (because why wouldn't you take advantage of his talent) but it's much more about family than it is about anything else. In that regard, the film works most of the time. Cruise plays Ray Ferrier, father to both Rachel and Robbie. Not to intentionally quote another Cruise movie, but it's really (k)night and day with these kids. Dakota Fanning is perfectly cast as Rachel, a pre-teen who is terrified of the apocalyptic world she now lives in. However, I just couldn't get behind Justin Chatwin's performance and the character of Robbie. There were too many times in which I either felt the character was entirely unnecessary to the plot, or he kept the plot from moving forward in frustrating ways. Why does he all of a sudden feel the need to leave his family and join the Army's fight against the tripods? Makes no sense whatsoever.
Unsurprisingly, Spielberg's visual flare is probably the film's biggest asset. Whether it's the endless amount of long takes, explosive and visceral alien action, or the impressive CGI and green screen work, War of the Worlds is a gorgeous film to look at. If every aspect of the film was as good as the visuals, this could have been quite the adaptation. Bottom line, I like everything visually and some of the performances very much, but the last 20 minutes is a bit of a letdown, as is the constant annoyance of the Robbie character.
+Dakota is magnificent
-Annoying older brother
Just saw it on tv in 2017 agin. really liked it.