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Critics Consensus:Steven Spielbergs adaptation of War of the Worlds delivers on the thrill and paranoia of H.G. Wells classic novel while impressively updating the action and effects for modern audiences.

Critics Consensus:Steven Spielbergs adaptation of War of the Worlds delivers on the thrill and paranoia of H.G. Wells classic novel while impressively updating the action and effects for modern audiences.

Critic Consensus:Steven Spielbergs adaptation of War of the Worlds delivers on the thrill and paranoia of H.G. Wells classic novel while impressively updating the action and effects for modern audiences.

This is a contemporary retelling of H.G. Wells seminal sci-fi classic. The adventure/thriller reveals humankinds extraordinary battle against an extra-terrestrial invasion fleet, as seen through the eyes of one American family. Located somewhere in the New England United States, the family — like millions of others around the globe — is forced to take refuge from the aliens highly advanced weapons and impenetrable shields, which are unstoppable against anything that mankind can throw at them. Unable to fight back and finding it more and more difficult to remain hidden from the aliens, the human race faces the end of its existence.

PG-13 (for frightening sequences of sci-fi violence and disturbing images)

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Spielbergs calculations turn out to be more prominent than any effects they could possibly produce, and the less pretentious 1953 version by producer George Pal emerges as more likable.

The film succeeds as pure sensation, an exacting distillation of fear.

Steven Spielbergs War of the Worlds is huge and scary, moving and funny-another capper to a career that seems like an unending succession of captivations.

There likely wont be a more gripping film this year than Spielbergs War Of The Worlds, which at its best glides along like choreography with a camera, slowly parsing out information while shrouding the rest in shadow and suggestion.

Overall, the film is too lacking in feeling to provide a recognizably human experience.

Its a thrilling ride…[but] this bountiful pot of signifiers leaves a caustic aftertaste.

The story is affecting, the action scenes are thrilling, the issues are resonant.

An unstoppable juggernaut of action and anxiety that will have you blundering from the cinema in a state of nervous exhaustion. Dont expect any soft drink promotional tie-ins with this summer blockbuster.

War of the Worlds is that most rare of screen adaptations – a film that is faithful to its origins and at the same time, its own separate creature. The first half is better than the second, but what a first half.

Alien invasion thriller too scary for young kids.

so impressive in so many ways that it makes the frustration over its miserable final moments that much harder to bear

August 17, 2010 Rating: 3/4Full ReviewJay AntaniCinema Writer

Its a better film than you might think with loads of Spielbergian action sequences, and more character and plot development than a blockbuster deserves. Cruise elicits sympathy as a guy learning to be a father while pitted against two consciously been-there-done-that children, and under the worst possible scenario, an alien invasion. Although it apruptly drops off in the final quarter its better than the original, better than many similarly themed works.

Fantastic! Special effects are amazing. The story was good as well. A few drawbacks in some parts (why not leave angsty teenagers out of these sort of movies?) but these are minor flaws compared to the whole package.

Get ready for a wild ride with the Steven Spielberg DreamWorks production team, in this high quality revision of H.G. Wells War of the Worlds. For this invasion, the story has been updated to focus on the family changes which have become most dominant over the decades since the successful 1953 version. So, the central figure, Tom Cruise (as Ray Ferrier), is not a doctor, but a more ordinary New Jersey dock worker. And, the lead character played by Mr. Cruise is made much more interesting by the fact that he is a divorced man, who is somewhat estranged from his children . Instead of the expected hot romance, you have the drama unfolding around the bonding of Cruise and his children. Of course, a lot of disbelief suspension is required, especially in this type of film; but, the updated situation is refreshing, and believable. When the film begins, Cruises ex-wife drops off the couples two children while she goes off to spend some time with her new husband, and parents, in Boston. The children are played well, by Justin Chatwin (Robbie Ferrier) and Dakota Fanning (Rachel Ferrier). There is a point (foreshadowed twice) where Mr. Chatwin leaves the action; it seems like a flaw in the storytelling; but, it does work out quite well. The son is replaced by Tim Robbins (as Harlan Ogilvy), in some scenes which would not have worked with the original threesome. Cruise deserves some particular praise, for his performance. He is especially good after suffering a loss, then taking refuge in Mr. Robbins basement; observe his fight to overcome madness, and protect his daughter, in the bowels of the Earth. Cruises tearful rendition of Little Deuce Coupe is one of the films most memorable moments; and, it involves no observable special effect. The alien special effects are fantastic. John Williams is outstanding. Reserving comments on minor difficulties which would reveal too much; (except, the narration was unnecessary); the War of the Worlds is excellent entertainment. 3 Stars Updated 9-5-13

This contemporary update of War of the Worlds is a lot better than most people say it is. 2/3 of the movie is some of the most atmospheric,suspenseful, and intense stuff that Spielberg has made in quite a long time. The problems come during the final 40 or so minutes. The movie does such an excellent and effective job of channeling 9/11 and War on Terror fears, paranoia, and anxiety, and then remembers that its supposed to be a summer action blockbuster and jarringly becomes a cliched actioner with a schmaltzy and sentimental ending typical of almost all of Spielbergs work. Seeing as how much and love and respect the man, I cant bring myself to hate on him too much for this, but thankfully what is done right still manages to save the movie from totally sucking. With Munich Spielberg (for once) made a movie that was completely adult and serious, and avoided sentimentality-and that movie was absolutely brilliant. This came so damn close to reaching that same level, and was so close to being a masterpiece….and I dont know why it was deemed necessary to not stick with it. I only just realized that this came out a bit before Munich, but still…. Anyways, this film does feature some spectacular moments..especially the action scenes. That I used to own a van that looked 99.9% just like the one Cruise drives around in makes me like this movie in spite of its faults. The acting is better than average, and the camera work is top notch. Give this one a chance. Its really good, which normally is fine, but it should have been excellent.

From the moment the invaders arrived, breathed our air, ate and drank, they were doomed. They were undone, destroyed, after all of mans weapons and devices had failed, by the tiniest creatures that God in his wisdom put upon this earth. By the toll of a billion deaths, man had earned his immunity, his right to survive among this planets infinite organisms. And that right is ours against all challenges. For neither do men live nor die in vain.