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War of the Worlds (2005) - A Sci-Fi Action Film by Steven Spielberg




War of the Worlds is a 2005 American science fiction action film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Josh Friedman and David Koepp, based on H. G. Wells' 1898 novel, The War of the Worlds. It stars Tom Cruise in the main role, Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto and Tim Robbins, with narration by Morgan Freeman. It follows an American dock worker who must look after his children, from whom he lives separately, as he struggles to protect them and reunite them with their mother when extraterrestrials invade Earth and devastate cities with giant war machines.



The film's production companies include Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, and Cruise/Wagner Productions. The film was shot in 73 days, using five different sound stages as well as locations in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. It was surrounded by a secrecy campaign so few details would be leaked before its release. Tie-in promotions were made with several companies, including Hitachi. War of the Worlds was released theatrically by Paramount Pictures on June 29, 2005, and received generally positive reviews. It was praised for effectively capturing the thrilling and suspenseful elements of Wells' novel while modernizing the action and effects to resonate with contemporary audiences. The film was also a commercial success, grossing over $603 million worldwide, making it the fourth most successful film of 2005. It earned Academy Awards nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.


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Plot Summary




A narrator opens the film stating that extraterrestrials with immense intelligence have grown envious of humanity's dominion of Earth, and are therefore plotting against them. Divorced longshoreman Ray Ferrier works as a crane operator at a dock in Brooklyn, New York, and is estranged from his children: 10-year-old daughter Rachel, and teenage son Robbie. Ray's pregnant ex-wife, Mary Ann, drops the two off at his house in Bayonne, New Jersey on her way to visit her parents in Boston, Massachusetts.


Later, a strange thunderstorm occurs during which lightning strikes multiple times into the middle of a nearby intersection, causing an EMP that instantly disables almost all electronic devices such as vehicles, phones, watches and even mains electricity. Ray goes to investigate the scene and witnesses a massive "Tripod" war machine emerge from beneath the ground and use its heat-ray to incinerate most of the witnesses. Ray collects his children and drives to Mary Ann's home in suburban New Jersey to take refuge.


The next morning, Ray discovers that a Boeing 747 has crashed in the street. He also finds out that the Tripods are protected by an impenetrable shield that makes them invulnerable to human weapons. They also release a swarm of probe tentacles called "mobs" that capture and harvest humans for unknown purposes. Ray decides to take his kids to Boston to reunite with Mary Ann. Along the way, they are attacked by both Tripods and mobs but manage to escape.


They stop at a diner where they meet a news reporter who tells them that there are multiple Tripod attacks worldwide. They also learn that some people have formed resistance groups to fight back against the invaders. Ray meets a man named Harlan Ogilvy who offers them shelter in his basement. There they witness the Tripods spraying a strange red weed that grows rapidly over human structures and bodies.


Ogilvy becomes increasingly paranoid and unstable as he believes that they can kill a Tripod by digging underground and planting explosives. He also reveals that he has a working shotgun hidden in his basement. Ray fears that Ogilvy's loud behavior will attract the attention of the Tripods and tries to calm him down but fails. Ray eventually kills Ogilvy off-screen to silence him.


Later, a Tripod's probe discovers the basement and captures Rachel. Ray and Robbie chase after the Tripod and see a group of soldiers preparing to launch a rocket-propelled grenade at it. Ray hands Robbie the shotgun and tells him to take care of Rachel while he distracts the Tripod. Ray is captured by the Tripod but manages to destroy its probe with a hand grenade.


Inside the Tripod, Ray sees hundreds of humans being drained of their blood and used to fertilize the red weed. He also finds Rachel alive and frees her from a cage. They escape from the Tripod when it is destroyed by the soldiers' RPG.


Ray and Rachel arrive in a devastated Boston where they find that the Tripods are dying and their shields are failing. They also see that the red weed is withering and dying. They reach Mary Ann's parents' house where they are reunited with Mary Ann and Robbie who somehow survived.


The narrator explains that the Tripods were not killed by humans but by bacteria and viruses that they had no immunity to. He also states that humanity was saved by the smallest creatures that God had put upon Earth.


Reviews and Ratings




War of the Worlds received mostly positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. It has a 76% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 267 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Steven Spielberg's 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."


On Metacritic, the film has a score of 73 out of 100 based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[4]( On IMDb, the film has a rating of 6.5 out of 10 based on over 464,000 user votes.[5](


The film was praised for its intense and realistic depiction of an alien invasion, its stunning visual effects and sound design, its faithful adaptation of Wells' novel, and its performances by Cruise, Fanning, and Robbins. Some critics also noted the film's allegorical references to contemporary issues such as terrorism, post-9/11 trauma, and family dynamics. However, some critics and viewers criticized the film's ending as being too abrupt, optimistic, and inconsistent with the tone of the rest of the film. Some also found the characters to be unlikable, irrational, or underdeveloped.


Conclusion




War of the Worlds is a sci-fi action film that offers a thrilling and terrifying experience for fans of the genre. It is a faithful adaptation of H.G. Wells' classic novel that updates it for modern audiences with spectacular effects and sound. It also features strong performances by Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, and Tim Robbins as a family trying to survive an alien invasion. The film has received mostly positive reviews from critics and audiences alike, although some have criticized its ending as being too happy or rushed. War of the Worlds is a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.


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