The next episode of Top Five Movies features the movies of Tom Cruise. Researching films for the list, War of the Worlds was selected as it is directed by Steven Spielberg. The film is entertaining and well acted, but the ending wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been. This may be a result of the source material, but either way it left something to be desired.
War of the Worlds is a solid Sci-fi movie
Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) is divorced and is getting his kids, Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie (Justin Chatwin), for the weekend. Their relationship is strained enough, but when a freak lightning storm shuts down all electronics across the city things get worse. The biggest result of the storm is a tripod type monster that comes from underground and begins killing people mercilessly. Ray takes his kids and the only working car and flees the city heading towards Boston.
Cruise is playing a jerk in this movie, and that seems slightly unusual. He is the hero, but he is constantly selfish and continually shows how little he knows about his own kids. It’s an interesting performance and, if you like Cruise, his charm works to make you still root for him. Coupled with Dakota Fanning’s performance the film has quite the impact. She is terrified for large chunks of this film and plays it very well.
Spielberg is a master of storytelling, and this film works rather well in that regard. The tension is built and the story moves at a pace that makes sense. There are a few moments that felt unlikely. Their van gets swarmed by a bunch of people who want a ride. The way the crowd reacts is both believable given the situation, but also feels too orchestrated. There isn’t a real sign of logic in their actions. It could be argued that logic goes out the window when robot monsters are vaporizing your neighbors, but it still felt more dramatic than it likely would have been.
Overall, War of the Worlds was much better than I gave it credit. I wrote this movie off when I saw the trailer back in 2005. Recently, I’d read that it had good reviews and decided to give it a shot. It’s enjoyable, but not my favorite film for Spielberg or Cruise. War of the Worlds earns the Decent Watch rating.