4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
War of the Worlds is not among Spielberg's very best work and it does suffer initially from a necessarily bland opening and Cruise's unbelievability as a working Joe, but it does go to far darker places than you'd expect from a Summer blockbuster: whereas in the novel the hero causes the death of the curate hiding with him by accident, Spielberg goes much further here in a scene that makes surprisingly chilling use of Hushabye Mountain. The scenes of destruction are genuinely apocalyptic, with the chaos unravelled in surprisingly long and ambitious takes that don't draw excessive attention to their technique. Spielberg offers some nice emotional touches, not least the look of pride on Cruise's face as his son helps people struggling onto the ferry (not overplayed or highlighted, just there) and even pulls off the ending, always a problem but here solved by visually referencing The Searchers (although I could have done without Gene Barry and Anne Robinson's clumsy cameo or Morgan Freeman's lacklustre narration).
For all its many changes from the novel, this succeeds surprisingly well as an adapatation (Wells himself felt the novel out of date by the time the various proposed earlier film versions from silent cinema through to the 40s were proposed): it may not have quite the 50s Technicolor appeal of George Pal's classic version nor anywhere near as iconic alien hardware, but it's got more than enough going for it to stand on its own three tripods.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Initially I was quite cautious about this film, whilst I respect Tom Cruise I'm not a huge fan in general. I was also worried that the CGI SFX would take precedence over the story, and it might not work set in a modern day environment (the novel was published around 1898) Don't expect a line for line faithful reproduction of the book (neither was the 1953 film), but it does follow the general story effectively.
Fortunately the film is good, and the performances of the cast are solid on every level. Cruise does a decent job as Ray Ferrier the divorced Dad who take his two children for the weekend when the invasion begins. We get just about the ideal narrator in the form of Morgan Freeman. Supporting cast has Dakota Fanning playing daughter Rachel Ferrier, it's nice to see Tim Robbins as Harlan Ogilvy the insane man whom the Ferriers end up hiding out with. No complaints with any of the cast strong all round.
Steven Spielberg provides strong direction, no doubt his experience pays off, and this time he's resisted the urge to tone things down too much. It's not super violent by any means, but the invasion itself and subsequent destruction of people and buildings can't be avoided due to the story.
SFX are excellent with some good camera work and the tripods are convincing in their appearance. Some of the lasers turning people into dust is very well done and the film is visually strong. One of the reasons it works for me is the screenplay and script holds up well, it would be easy to slip into ho hum acting and dialogue, trying to distract the audience with gloss and shine but lacking depth. Thankfully that's been avoided here the CGI adds to the film rather than propping it up. John Williams provides the soundtrack another pair of safe experienced hands.
H.G. Wells has provided the backbone story which is clever and satisfying in the conclusion. The invasion by the aliens is overpowering and devastating, just like the novel. The humans are seemingly at the mercy of the invaders their technology unable to even slow down the attacks, but they have overlooked something very simple which ultimately will wield the most powerful blow.
I'm a huge fan of the book, it's a well deserved Science Fiction masterpiece by a forward thinking author. Both films do take some liberties with the conversion to screen, however I think both are also deserving of a viewing. I enjoyed the film (as I do the older film) in their own right.
A solid view for sci-fi fans, and a good family film.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2015
FOR THOSE WHO STILL THINK SPIELBERG IS JUST A MAINSTREAM DIRECTOR
A very underrated film that is not only a fantastic adventure full of drama, tension, thrill and scary moments, but a deep analysis of human nature, whose dark side, when it comes to survival and danger, often prevail on the values of civilization.
War of the worlds is not about fighting against Aliens, but against ourselves.
And despite Spielberg's reputation as being a mainstream reassuring director, here he recall the audience that he was the same guy who made some of the darkest and most unsettling films of the seventies, so no wonder that this film, almost down to the end, it's a kind of constant descent to hell (you can tell it by many scenes, from all the Tim Robbins sequence in the basement, to the struggle to get hold of the car, etc...).
A DARK FAIRY TALE
But it's also a thrilling and action-packed drama, with a fantastic first part where you are slowly introduced in the characters life and settings, and suddenly thrown into an adrenalinic and wonderful escape sequence on a car (where Spielberg manages to make the camera flow around it, and then enter the vehicle like there were no physical barriers for his cinema) and then along a dramatic path to survival.
All in all, it is a dark fairy tale (see the impressing scene when with the blood-cover landscape) with not much hope and trust in humanity, but only in chance and nature (see the resolution of the story), beautifully painted by SPileberg and his director of photography, and presented on an excellent hd transfer on this very good blu ray
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Unusual to see Tom Cruise playing an "ordinary" guy,compleate with generation-gap issues with his children.He excelled in the role,bringing a vulnerability to his performance not often seen as he is mostly cast as the tough-guy action hero.
The film has all the superb special effects and cgi"s you would expect from a Spielberg production: he uses the tools that are available to a film-maker to optimium effect.
An enthralling version of H.G.Wells classic sci-fi novel.
P.S. It was clever of Speilberg to include in a walk-on part two of the original stars from the 50"s versionWar Of The Worlds - Dvd .
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The film has since it's release attracted mixed reviews many 'slate it' some love it,....myself, I
love special-effect spectacles and watch films to be entertained, this 'Steven Spielberg' offering
does just that, a story of blind panic and intense fear......what if ?
'Ray Ferrier' (Tom Cruise) a dock worker lives on his own these days, every so often he has his
two children over to stay, 'Robbie' (Justin Chatwin) who doesn't really want to be there, and 10
year-old 'Rachel' (Dakota Fanning)
A strange phenomenon occurs in the sky's that is totally unexplainable, lightning strikes (lightning
never strikes in the same place 'Ray' tells his Daughter....til' now that is) power fails, holes are
appearing in the ground, a loud rumble causes earthquake like conditions.
Panic quickly sets in, people are running around like headless chickens but have no escape from
what is happening, buildings and fly-overs are collapsing, all of a sudden, giant machines surface,
the 'World' is under attack.
'Ray's' priority has to be his 'Kids' as the machines begin to exterminate all human life seemingly
and destroy structures.
There's only one thing to do - 'run' - 'Ray' sets off with his children in an attempt to find a safe haven,
however they will soon discover a place of safety doesn't exist as the 'invaders' broaden their assault.
The temporary safety they thought for a short while they had found is quickly no longer so, a plane
has been brought down in their location leaving devastation in it's wake.
Widespread demolition is happening at the 'will' of the machines, where had they come from, is it really
possible they had been planted below ground century's ago awaiting the return of their creatures.
'Ray' and his children have to fight their way through the fleeing hoards as they seek a safe haven, but
the situation is becoming increasingly more desperate for them.
Young 'Rachel' is terrified by the sights that are confronting her -.'Robbie' is desperate to join the military's
Things are beginning to turn far more sinister as it becomes clear what the 'Aliens' need those they capture
The three are separated as 'Ray' now with just 'Rachel' in tow continue to battle for survival...
What on Earth will stop the 'Aliens' and their Machines from enforcing their intent upon the planet ?
Will 'Ray' and Daughter 'Rachel' ever re-unite with 'Robbie' or has he become a casualty of War ?
The film brings futuristic writer 'H,G.Wells' late 19th century story to life.
I believe with the special-effects harboured in this version would have received the writers approval.
I like to re-visit films such as this now and again because of the visual impact they bring to the screen.
SPECIAL FEATURES -
* Revisiting the invasion.
* Steven Spielberg and the original 'War of the Worlds'
* Characters - The family unit.
* The 'H.G.Wells' Legacy.
* Designing the Enemy. 'Tripods' and 'Aliens'
* Production Diaries.
* Scoring - War of the Worlds.
* We are not Alone.
* Theatrical Teaser Trailers,.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2012
The sound quality on blue-ray is amazing, not a great picture quality but this is how it was filmed / intended, overall a great movie, def get the blue-ray version
on 17 November 2013
Ray Ferrier is a divorced dockworker and less-than-perfect father. When his ex-wife and her new husband drop off his son Robbie and young daughter Rachel for a rare weekend visit, a strange and powerful lightning storm suddenly touches down.
What follows is the battle for the future of humankind through the eyes of one American family fighting to survive it in......
Easily the best summer film of 2005, its one of Cruises last memorable blockbusters, and its a blast from start to finish. What really sets the mood for the film is Freemans phenomenal narration at the beginning of the movie, it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand when he says 'slowly, but surely'.
Spielberg again puts the emphasis on the nuclear family, and the attack is the turning point or Ray and his children. Its clear from the beginning that Ray is estranged form his children, and that he may be the most immature of the three, but he soon becomes the mature one, making sure they are staying together and avoiding any terror or aftermath as they progress.
The visuals are spectacular, from the initial attack, to the amazing Tripod scene after the boat attack. The Tim Robbins scene is bizarre and takes you away from the film, but Spielberg amps it up with the probe investigating.
Its a great movie by Spielberg, very dark compared to his usual summer fare, but despite some flaws, and blatant references to 9/11, it still holds up well eight years later.
on 17 July 2012
The War of the Worlds is probably my favourite book, I first read it when I was at school in the 1960's and could not put it down. I have always liked the turn of the century setting in Victorian England and remember getting an old map and looking at the places where the action was supposed to take place. I latter came to appreciate the various plot devices. I like this story so much that I was even willing to forgive the change of location for the 1950"s movie and although the Martians didn't walk they where still other worldly. The Tom Cruise film is not all bad and I have read that Steven Spielberg read this book at college and he wanted to do it justice. With the terrorist attack on the twin towers he didn't want to show scenes of the martians destroying america. This is fully understandable, but we don't see half as much of the martians as we should and this for me and many others is a major drawback with the film. Distance, supposed news reel shots are no substitute to seeing the colossal fighting machine striding across the land. Also they should have come to earth as in the book, its a film its not real, so why worry about people saying we would have known if there really was martians living on Mars. There is much to like about this film though, the suspense builds and the noises that the machines make add to this. Watch this film for what it is' a reasonably good modern rendition of the H G Wells classic. I have just bought a facsimile of the original book with illustrations published in 1906, superb. It encapsulate the strange otherworldliness of the Martians that is hard to recreate in a world that has seen many science fiction films. I suppose until someone makes a good quality film thats close to the original than that will have to do. The Lord of the rings was almost true to the book, why not the War of the Worlds?
"No one would have believed, in the last years of the 19th century, that this world was being watched keenly and closely by an intelligence greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own..." H. G. Wells
The actual HG Wells story is more closely aligned with Nevil Shute's book "On the Beach." A man realizing this is possibly the end of the world observes how other people handle the possibility that this is the end of the world. There is no family conflict with nerdy kids.
The 1953 version of this film also included a love interest that was not in the original story. This later version contains several attempts for us to negotiate with the aliens and or understand from the aliens' point of view what was going on.
This latest rendition is more a family feud meets the aliens. It was not all bad; there were attempts to keep some of the original story and included some of the designs from the 1954 film. We are also treated to a bloodsucking scene reminiscent of the original story. Of course Stephen Spielberg didn't want to copy the book or the original movie so the aliens pop up instead of fly down, six of one half dozen of another.
The graphics were fairly decent and did not look like the cheat CGI that you usually see on quick movies. The background music stayed in the background where it belongs.
This is not the easiest presentation to rank as for people that like bloodsucking fast action nerdy kids stories this could be a five star out of five stars; however for anybody seeking any kind of depth or relationship to the original story or relationship to the original movie this is more of a two star Phil. Therefore, you will understand when I give it three stars for watch ability and standing on its own merit.
The War of the Worlds (Penguin Classics)
on 27 May 2008
This isn't one of Spielberg's classics & is an opportunity missed to present the 1898 novel as it was originally written by Wells. The 1953 movie had financial/technological constraints that necessitated it's(then) modern day, American setting but come on, Spielberg hardly needed to raid the piggy bank!!! So why set it in 2005 America?? Look no further than 9/11 for this as it is VERY edgy & pessimistic. A noble cause admittedly.
Basically the only things retained are the gigantic Tripods which I have to admit are probably the most photo realistic CG creations yet seen & also the story's biological salvation. Otherwise it's a Tom Cruise movie. Seriously, Cruise over dominates the movie, his features in 99.9% of every frame!! All this when you really want to see the annihilation of our cosy little world!
This is half the problem, Spielberg goes for a less is more approach, obviously keen to avoid comparisons with 1996 popcorn sci fi, Independence Day. It has to be stressed that the two films are completeley different with ID having far more OTT alien action & WOTW at least, offering us better acting & production values, especially cinematography & visual FX.
The aliens themselves ( It's NEVER explicitly stated that they are from Mars) are well executed in their brief onscreen appearance but are not faithful to the gelatinous cephalopods of Wells's vision. A little bit similiar to ID actually - although much better realised. And vicious, cunning creatures they are too with an appetite for human blood!
I will say that the first wave of the alien attack is absoluteley incredible in its spectacle & ruthlessness as buildings, cars & people are vaporised by the deadly, alien death rays. Prior to this, the tension is built up unbearably as it's revealed that it's not going to be just another day...
Vintage Spielberg! Somehow, the following setpieces while still decent, fail to recapture this intensity. But the tripods with their lethal weapons, probing tentacles and the chilling noise that they make are damned, damned cool! And genuineley scary...
I think what dissapoints most is that this an ok/good movie with some serious talent onboard, with AMAZING CGI (that never even looks CG) that could have been a real, out & out classic. It's very unlikely that any major studio will ever greenlight another big budget movie that does justice to the source in setting it in early 20th Century England :-(
We have to look to Jeff Wayne's upcoming fully CGI feature to realise this. Until then check out the 1978 album, the Live musical DVD of the same album or the really entertaining 1953 War Of the Worlds movie (Loads of US Army v Martian Warship action & great FX for the '50s).
Oh yes, I forgot, Morgan Freeman narrates the movie's opening/closing scenes. I like Freeman a lot and he's ok here, but not a patch on Richard Burton's definitive 1978 narrative!