To the modern eye, the 1954 original of War of the Worlds must conjure up ideas of shaky not-so-special effects and creaking dialogue. Well thankfully, that's simply not the case here.
Without researching the background of the movie further, I suspect the creators of the movie understood the limitations of the special effects and instead produced something that is truly remarkable.
To the modern eye, between the excellent, purposeful and judicious use of special effects and the dialogue, War of the Worlds holds its own, and then some.
Emerging on the back of Cold War tensions of the era, this film was probably much more "real" in its depiction of abandoned city streets and the wavering hand over the button to deploy the atom bomb.
War of the Worlds is a thought experiment of how we humans would deal with an aggressive, hostile alien species, and not some slam, bang, crash cinema seat filling science fiction action thriller.
Yes, they took liberties with the original designs for the alien vessels, but even that was a very clever idea -- using some kind of anti-gravity beam as the three "legs" instead of the tendril-like limbs we're more familiar with.
Spielberg came close in 2005 with hi version, but the view point was more personal and less cerebral, and it's this latter perspective, which for me at least, is what makes the 1954 original so remarkable.
All in all, the original War of the Worlds is a blazing, shining example of how excellent films older than your parents can be.