War of The Worlds

Quick Take: They`re already here.

Spielberg, Steven

116 minutes
running time

year released

Science Fiction


Phantomís Rating...

Phantomís review: It appears that The Remake is big business in Hollywood this year. The theaters are currently screening new renditions of King Kong, Herbie, The Longest Yard, Bewitched, the first and final segment of the Star Wars continuing saga, and yet another Batman called Batman Begins (technically not a remake, but you get the point). Finally, there is War of the Worlds. The 1953 original War of the Worlds is one of my favorite films and I must confess to being enticed to see this version because of a curiosity about how the director, Steven Spielberg, would interpret the H.G. Wells' story.

The lead role is filled by Tom Cruise playing Ray Ferrier, a divorced dad who thinks he's going to have just another weekend with the kids (played by Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin). The glitch in his "not-at-all-special" plans reveals itself with the appearance of alien invaders, who arrive on Earth and waste no time undertaking the extermination of all mankind. Ray quickly determines that he must travel across New England to take the kids to their mother, which sets up the remainder of the film as an obstacle course of murder and mayhem that Ray, the kids, and all townspeople along the way must traverse.

Dakota Fanning does a good job in her role. Her character suffers from all types of physical and mental ailments, and Fanning comes across as being both funny (playing the film's comic relief, a pleasant surprise) and terrified (but enough screaming already!).

At times I felt that things were going a little over the top. In fact, about halfway through the film I commented, "This is Mission Impossible" (as in MI2), but if you know this story, you already know how it ends and of the aliens' demise. And not a moment too soon: newly-written scenes depict that just as the aliens run out of steam, the roving gang safely makes it to their destination.

Other supporting players include Tim Robbins as a crazed vigilante out to stop the aliens at all costs, Morgan Freeman as the narrator who tells the story, and Gene Barry, lead actor in the original film, who makes an "all-of-five-seconds" cameo here as grandfather of the Ferrier children. The special f/x provided by ILM are brilliant, but as good as this War of the Worlds is and as much as I enjoyed it, this film still isn't as good as Minority Report. Heck, it isn't even as good as the original War of the Worlds that was made 50 years ago. They just don't make movies like they used to. Better luck next time, Team Spielberg!

Cruise, Tom
Fanning, Dakota
Chatwin, Justin
Robbins, Tim
Otto, Miranda
Basche, David Alan
Barry, Gene
Vazquez, Yul
Venito, Lenny
Freeman, Morgan

Emmanuel Lopez

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