Rating: 2/4 (Disappointing, especially coming from Spielberg)
Starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning, War of the Worlds is loosely based on the novel of the same name by H. G. Wells. Tom Cruise plays Ray, a crane operator who is left in charge of his daughter Rachel (Dakota) and his teenage son for a weekend by his long estranged wife. Strange things start happening near his place that weekend. Earth is struck my EMPs and there is lots of lightning. Huge tripods break out of the earth and start destroying people with their heat rays. We learn that they are aliens who are now terminating humans.
With the screaming Rachel calling on his attention every minute, Ray takes charge and drives her and his son over to Boston. On the way they stopover at his wife’s place which is now empty. They spend a terror filled night only to be greeted by more destruction by the tripods. A 747 has crashed in their frontyard. The destruction of the tripods and Ray running away from them continues on and on forever. During this time, we learn that the aliens are using the blood of humans to spread their red weed! In the end, all bodes well and the aliens go weak and die. They are killed by microorganisms, the same germs for which we have gained immunity in the process of evolution over millions of years.
I guess Spielberg did not have much freedom with an old novel like this and also since it has been adapted so many times on TV and radio. He seems to be evoking feelings of 9/11 in this movie by putting Ray into save-the-family situations. Spielberg shines in these family and emotions department, but other than that this movie is disappointing. Barely worth a watch for Spielberg fans.