War Of The Worlds (2005)

From director Steven Speilberg comes the 2005 science fiction disaster film War Of The Worlds, a loose adaptation of H. G. Wells’s novel The War of the Worlds. There has also been a 1953 film of the same name as well as a tv series in the 1980s which is sort of a sequel to the events of the book. The film stars Tom Cruise with Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwick and Tim Robbins.

Ray Ferrier, a divorced crane operator working at the docks in New Jersey is estranged from his two kids teenager Robbie and 10 year old Rachel. One weekend his ex-wife Mary Anne drops of their kids at his house in the morning as she & her current husband are on their way to visit her parents in Boston. A little later strange storm clouds form over the city, similar to ones in Ukraine (as shown on the news) with violent lightning seemingly striking the same points in the area. Almost all electrical activity is affected with cars, tv, power, watches all stopping. Ray goes to check one of the spots where the lightning has hit several times, leaving Robbie & Rachel in the house. As the road breaks up from underneath a massive three-legged or tripod machine emerges and with alien weaponry, incinerates most of the witnesses.People are blown into dust and their clothes scatter in the wind. Ray rushes back home doging the laser beams and packs his kids into a car, that works, he finds at a garage and heads to Mary Anne’s home; it is empty so they spend the night there.

The next morning Ray wakes up to find a large plane crashed into the street and a news crew that shows his clips of other cities under attack from similar tripods and they also show him that the aliens entered the machines in capsules via the lightning. Which means that the pods have been there for so long and this was all planned, perhaps 1000s of years ago! Ray decides to take the kids to Boston but Robbie is causing problems as he wants to leave and join the US army vehicles in the fight against the aliens. On the way to the ferry their car is attacked by a mob and Ray is forced to give it up. As they walk to the ferries, another attack by the tripods kills several humans and causes a ferry to sink. During a desperate battle between the U.S. Marines and the aliens, Ray is forced to choose between being separated from Rachel and preventing Robbie from joining the fight; Ray lets him go with the soldiers and disappears. But the soldiers are being overwhelmed as the tripods have a shield around them that proves to be difficult to penetrate. Ray picks up Rachel and runs into Harvey (Tim Robbins) who offers them shelter in his underground bunker. Harvey tells Ray that the aliens must have planted their tripods in the ground eons ago and says that from the bunker they can observe the aliens as it is right in the middle of one of their camps.

They hide out for 2 days even as a long probe and a group of aliens (who look a lot like the aliens in Independence Day) explore the bunker. Harvey however goes nuts when he sees a tripod harvesting human blood and tissue to fertilize a red weed. Fearing his mental breakdown rantings will attract the aliens, Ray is forced to murder him. Later as father & daughter sleep, a second probe finds them and Ray attacks it with an axe as Rachel runs screaming outside and is caught by a tripod. Ray runs outside to see the landscape being changed by alien plants that are growing and picks up a grenade belt from a fallen soldier and lets himself be captured by the tripod and is placed into a basket with Rachel and some other humans. He uses the grenade to blow up the trip from the inside, freeing the humans. Ray & Rachel make their way to Boston with a group of other humans and find a battalion of soldiers. In a devastated Boston Ray sees the red plants dying and the tripods collapsing. Seeing birds landing on the tripods Ray signals a soldier and the army attacks the tripod and it is destroyed. Ray & Rachel finally reach Mary Anne’s parents house where they are reunited with her as well as Robbie, who has made his way there as well. Robbie hugs his dad apologizing for leaving as the movie ends with the narrator stating that the aliens succumbed to the bacteria on earth as they have no immunity to it and hence the sudden defeat as they crumbled.

Brilliant movie with some fantastic special effects. The storm, lightning, the tripods, the aliens and their technology all looked amazing. Hated the nonsense about god’s “wisdom placing the bacteria on earth to defeat the aliens (what a load of crap!). Made on a budget of $132 million the movie made over $591 million at the box office. One for the ages although the aliens defeat was too sudden. 8.5 outta 10!

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