So this summer Tom Cruise is once again kicking Alien butt in fine fashion in Edge of Tomorrow so I thought it was about time that I watched his Spielberg collaboration, War of the Worlds. This is a film that I have always seen clips of when it’s on TV however I have never devoted myself to watching it from start to finish, that has now all changed.
Firstly I actually noticed quite a few similarities to Edge of Tomorrow but I won’t discuss them here for any of you who haven’t seen it yet. War of the Worlds, great title. Tom Cruise, great leading man. Steven Spielberg, great director. Surely that must be the formula for a 10/10 sci-fi blockbuster? Well not quite, it’s nearly there but I wanted more in some places. I think my main problem with this movie was the mindset that I went into it with. I had decided I was going to be watching a Cruise movie where he goes badass on the alien enemies and ends up blowing up their mother ship, however War of the Worlds is more a disaster/survival movie than a Tom Cruise Vs Aliens outing. This is my own fault and I can’t criticise the movie for having a different plot although it goes without saying which of the two approaches is more entertaining. For me one of the main elements to any alien movie has to be how the aliens look, are they scary or do they just make you laugh? The aliens featured here did neither of these things, their tripod ships were pretty cool but the aliens themselves were a little disappointing. Despite the lack of fear here, there most certainly was terror provided at other points and very well done too. Several scenes portrayed this brilliantly, namely the scene where the Ferrier family are awoken in the basement and then when they are attacked by other civilians in order to obtain their vehicle.
Tom Cruise does great as always, and plays a more interesting character than some of his other more straightforward roles. Here he plays flawed Father Ray Ferrier and is simultaneously involved in a battle for survival and for his children’s approval. I liked this character as he was most definitely an everyday hero, he didn’t have everything together but he came through when it mattered making this film that bit more believable. Despite this success I was confused by another scene, the one in which Robbie decides to join the fight and leave his sister and father. Due to the nature of his relationship with his sister up to this point I found it strange that he left her side without even so much as a goodbye, I didn’t think this fitted his character and I thought it was a poor way to get rid of him for half the film. In the end the finale is a little disappointing too but I have to remember that this is first and foremost a survival movie and it was never intended to be an epic face off. Spielberg does direct this movie well and it certainly has its moments. It is solid and never loses pace, I think it is a fine film however undoubtedly it is neither Cruise or Spielberg’s best work, however if you have a look at their entire work it would be a struggle to achieve that kind of status.
War of the Worlds is a really enjoyable sci-fi flick however there are better ones out there but also much much worse, I’d be surprised if you were a fan of the genre and didn’t enjoy this movie – it will definitely give you your sci-fi fix for a couple of hours.
BIGGEST FLAW – The aliens themselves were a bit of a let down
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – Those scenes where terror is portrayed
Rating – 8/10