My Rating: 8/10
Rotten Tomatometer: 74%

PLOT: As Earth is invaded by tripod fighting machines from another world, one family fights for survival.

WHY IT’S HERE:
Spoiler alert: This ain’t “Close Encounters” or “Contact”. This is a B movie with an A-list budget. Any criticisms leveled at this movie, proclaiming “It’s not REAL science-fiction”, or “It wouldn’t happen that way”, are entirely missing the point. Comparing this movie with “real” science-fiction is like comparing a roller-coaster ride with a TED talk. They both have their merits. And “War of the Worlds” is a SENSATIONAL roller-coaster ride. This is the kind of movie electronics stores used to play on their home audio systems to show off what they can do. The first appearance of the alien fighting machine is one of the greatest thriller sequences I’ve ever seen, expertly edited and assembled, from the bombastic sound effects to the awesome visuals of the machine heaving up slowly from under the street. And there are some interesting tidbits in the screenplay that are only apparent upon a second (or third) viewing. Before the extraterrestrial poop hits the fan, Tom Cruise’s school-age son in the film says he’s working on a paper on the French occupation of Algeria…an occupation that failed. Tom Cruise’s daughter (Dakota Fanning) gets a splinter, and tells her father that, when her body is ready, it’ll just push the splinter out on its own. SPOILER ALERT, am I right? (Also be on the lookout for Easter eggs referring back to the original 1953 classic film.) When you’re looking for great escapist fun, when you want a thrill ride instead of a lecture…this is the movie for you.

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