54 of 67 people found the following review helpful
The War to end All Wars...,
Synopsis: Ray Ferrier (Cruise) is blue-collar, working class Dock Worker in New Jersey. Estranged from his wife (Otto) and to kids Rachel (Fanning) and Robbie (Chatwin), Ray reluctantly agrees to look after his kids one weekend. But, during a freak lightning storm, all electrical items stop work, and a hole has appeared in the middle of a busy street. Suddenly, the ground caves in, and a 200ft Tripod emerges from the ground, and begins to incinerate everything and everyone in its path. It's a fight for survival, as Ray tries desperately to get his kids to safety.
Review: After following this movie, from its initial production, to release, one could say I was almost obsessed. That may be so. But the wait was well and truly worth it. Spielberg considers this the third in his "trilogy". First he have us "Close Encounters" back in the 70's, "E.T" in the eighties, and now, he's bringing us the War to end all Wars! No cute and cuddly aliens phoning home here. Based on the classic sci-fi novel by H.G Wells, the setting has moved from Victorian england, to New Jersey, USA today. Most people would think that would be highly ridiculous. I did. But after seeing it, I was left breathless.
This isn't your conventional alien invasion movie. The film is told through the eyes of Ferrier and his family, and surprisingly, the special effects take a back seat. Altho, the set pieces are dazzling, and the special effects ARE incredible. As soon as the first fighting machine emerges from the ground, you know you are about to experience a white-knuckle ride of emotions, fear and danger. The Tripods are huge, armed with heat-rays, and truly look like some huge mechanical animal. They stomp and blast their way across america, causing chaos, death and destruction. The scene involving a Ferry, and an underwater tripod is heart-stopping, and you see just how savage these invaders are. The designs are amazing, and you will be left breathless!
Which brings me to how graphic this movie actually is. This has to be, the most violent and disturbing film Spielberg has done. The body count is enough to rival a stallone movie, with countless deaths happening towards the beginning. I would definately advise a screening before you consider taking children to see it. Seeing dead bodies floating down a river in dozens is enough to frighten anyone, especially a child.
There are several elements of the book still kept in, so we do get to see some red weed! However, for the new movie, it has a grotesque way of being fertilised! I shall say no more.
My only Gripe, is Tim Robbins. Usually, a fantastic actor, I felt he was totally wasted in this movie. Firstly, he was called Ogilvy (who is an astonomer in the novel), who is an ex-paramedic/security guard who has gone mad and is lurking in his basement as the war wages on outside. But, it felt as though Spielberg had tried to cram so many elements of the book in, he came across as three characters in one! The Curate, The Artilleryman, and of course, Ogilvy. This made the character annoying, unbearable, but somehow, managed to capture the essence of insanity in a crisis.
There are plenty of nods to the 1953 George Pal "War of the Worlds" with a creepy basement scene involving a martian camera! And the ending is lifted straight from the original movie! Those who have read the book, or seen the '53 movie, will know how the film ends. It did feel rather rushed. One minute, we were faced with an exciting, action packed sequence, then it was all over. Fan's won't be disappointed, but for new-comers, the ending might feel a bit tacked-on, and not really do the rest of the movie any justice.
Over all, Spielberg has not disappointed, and Fans and newbies are sure to love the top-notch special effects, explosive action sequences, and the human emotion as refugees flee across the states to safety.