War Of The Worlds
Ray (Tom Cruise) lives in a New York City blue-collar neighborhood. As a divorced father of two, 10-year-old Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and teenager Robbie (Justin Chatwin), he is basically a loser. His ex-wife (Miranda Otto) has remarried and clearly upgraded to a better, more comfortable lifestyle. The kids visit Ray in his ill-kept small house on weekends, constantly reminding him of the luxuries they enjoy at their new home. Soon after Rachel and Robbie’s arrival for another boring time with an indifferent Ray, a strange storm begins with lightning striking in the same place repeatedly with no accompanying thunder. Then, as neighbors gather down the street, the earth erupts, releasing a huge three-legged monster from another world. The nightmarish events escalate to unbelievable horror as Ray and his children, along with the whole Northeast coast, face what appears to be certain doom. Director Steven Spielberg pulls out all the stops in creating mind-boggling special effects to entertain with relentless horror and suspense.
I have four words for this film—“Special effects” and “Dakota Fanning!” The special effects carry the new War of the Worlds film by far. Spielberg does a great job with the machines that the aliens use. The aliens themselves are believable, and the alien fire power is awesome. But like many films these days, this one is a bit too graphic. The theme of this remake is basically the same as the original film and radio broadcast except that we follow the war through the lives of Ray, his son Robbie, and his daughter Rachel. Cruise plays the very unlikable man, Ray, who is not only easy to hate at the beginning, but is also a terrible father. As the aliens start the war between the worlds, mankind rapidly sinks to survival of the fittest mode with every man for himself. Even Ray is forced to do the unthinkable when the chips are down, and he and his daughter find themselves in danger. I didn’t find myself relating to the characters at all though. I thought Dakota Fanning did a marvelous job as Ray’s daughter, Rachel, but that alone doesn’t save the film. I didn’t find myself rooting for one side or the other. I was just a casual observer not drawn into the story. The only thing that kept it interesting was the special effects. This war was left unfought and the film would have been better off unmade.