War of the Worlds (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

War of the Worlds (2005)



Critic Consensus: 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.

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This is a contemporary retelling of H.G. Wells' seminal sci-fi classic. The adventure/thriller reveals humankind's extraordinary battle against an extra-terrestrial invasion fleet, as seen through the eyes of one American family. Located somewhere in the New England United States, the family -- like millions of others around the globe -- is forced to take refuge from the aliens' highly advanced weapons and impenetrable shields, which are unstoppable against anything that mankind can throw at them. Unable to fight back and finding it more and more difficult to remain hidden from the aliens, the human race faces the end of its existence.

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Tom Cruise
as Ray Ferrier
Dakota Fanning
as Rachel Ferrier
Justin Chatwin
as Robbie Ferrier
Miranda Otto
as Mary Ann
Tim Robbins
as Harlan Ogilvy
Gene Barry
as Grandfather
Lenny Venito
as Manny the Mechanic
Lisa Ann Walter
as Bartender
Ann Robinson
as Grandmother
Roz Abrams
as Herself
Michael Brownlee
as TV Reporter
Camillia Sanes
as News Producer
Marlon Young
as News Cameraman
John Eddins
as News Van Driver
Peter Gerety
as Hatch Boss/Load Manager
David Harbour
as Dock Worker
Miguel Antonio Ferrer
as Brazilian Neighbor
January LaVoy
as Brazilian Neighbor's Wife
Stephen Gevedon
as Neighbor with Lawnmower
Marianni Ebert
as Hysterical Woman
Rafael Sadina
as Mechanic's Assistant
Amy Ryan
as Neighbor with Toddler
Morgan Freeman
as Narrator, the Narrator
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Critic Reviews for War of the Worlds

All Critics (262) | Top Critics (50)

Spielberg's calculations turn out to be more prominent than any effects they could possibly produce, and the less pretentious 1953 version by producer George Pal emerges as more likable.

June 8, 2007 | Full Review…

The film succeeds as pure sensation, an exacting distillation of fear.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds is huge and scary, moving and funny-another capper to a career that seems like an unending succession of captivations.

May 12, 2006

There likely won't be a more gripping film this year than Spielberg's War Of The Worlds, which at its best glides along like choreography with a camera, slowly parsing out information while shrouding the rest in shadow and suggestion.

September 26, 2005
Top Critic

Overall, the film is too lacking in feeling to provide a recognizably human experience.

July 14, 2005

It's a thrilling ride...[but] this bountiful pot of signifiers leaves a caustic aftertaste.

July 7, 2005 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for War of the Worlds

It's a better film than you might think with loads of Spielbergian action sequences, and more character and plot development than a blockbuster deserves. Cruise elicits sympathy as a guy learning to be a father while pitted against two consciously been-there-done-that children, and under the worst possible scenario, an alien invasion. Although it apruptly drops off in the final quarter it's better than the original, better than many similarly themed works.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Fantastic! Special effects are amazing. The story was good as well. A few drawbacks in some parts (why not leave angsty teenagers out of these sort of movies?) but these are minor flaws compared to the whole package.

Wildaly M
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer


Get ready for a wild ride with the Steven Spielberg "DreamWorks" production team, in this high quality revision of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds". For this invasion, the story has been updated to focus on the family changes which have become most dominant over the decades since the successful 1953 version. So, the central figure, Tom Cruise (as Ray Ferrier), is not a doctor, but a more ordinary New Jersey dock worker. And, the lead character played by Mr. Cruise is made much more interesting by the fact that he is a divorced man, who is somewhat estranged from his children . Instead of the expected "hot romance", you have the drama unfolding around the bonding of Cruise and his children. Of course, a lot of disbelief suspension is required, especially in this type of film; but, the updated situation is refreshing, and believable. When the film begins, Cruise's ex-wife drops off the couple's two children while she goes off to spend some time with her new husband, and parents, in Boston. The children are played well, by Justin Chatwin (Robbie Ferrier) and Dakota Fanning (Rachel Ferrier). There is a point (foreshadowed twice) where Mr. Chatwin leaves the action; it seems like a flaw in the storytelling; but, it does work out quite well. The "son" is replaced by Tim Robbins (as Harlan Ogilvy), in some scenes which would not have worked with the original threesome. Cruise deserves some particular praise, for his performance. He is especially good after suffering a loss, then taking refuge in Mr. Robbins' basement; observe his fight to overcome madness, and protect his daughter, in the bowels of the Earth. Cruise's tearful rendition of "Little Deuce Coupe" is one of the film's most memorable moments; and, it involves no observable "special effect". The alien "special effects" are fantastic. John Williams is outstanding. Reserving comments on minor difficulties which would reveal too much; (except, the narration was unnecessary); the "War of the Worlds" is excellent entertainment. 3 Stars Updated 9-5-13

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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