REVIEW: WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005)

CAST

Tom Cruise (Minoity Report)
Dakota Fanning (Man on Fire)
Justin Chatwin (Dragonball Evolution)
Miranda Otto (I, Frankenstein)
Tim Robbins (Green Lantern)
Rick Gonzalez (Arrow)
Yul Vazquez (The Ex)
Lenny Venito (The Neighbors)
Lisa Ann Walter (Killers)
Ann Robinson (Imitation of Life)
Gene Barry (The Atomic City)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3)
Daniel Eric Gold (Ugly Betty)
Columbus Short (The Losers)

A narrator explains how humans were unaware that a race of extraterrestrials was making plans to occupy Earth. Ray Ferrier is a divorced crane operator longshoreman who works at a dock in Brooklyn, New York and lives in Bayonne, New Jersey. Ray is estranged from his children. His former wife, Mary Ann, later drops off the children, 10-year-old daughter Rachel and teenage son Robbie, at Ray’s house on her way to visit her parents in Boston. Unexplained changes in the weather occur, including lightning that strikes multiple times in the middle of an intersection and disrupts all electricity.

Ray joins the crowd at the scene of the lightning strikes, and witnesses a massive “Tripod” war machine emerge from the ground and use alien weaponry to incinerate most of the witnesses, zapping them out of existence, turning them to a grey dust and the remains of their clothes fluttering down. Ray collects his children, steals a car and drives to Mary Ann’s home in suburban New Jersey to take refuge. The next morning, he discovers that a Boeing 747 has crashed in the street. A news team scavenging for food explain that there are multiple Tripods that have attacked major cities including New York City, Paris, Washington, D.C., and London, and have force shields to protect them from human weapons. They also explain that the lightning was how the aliens were able to enter the Tripods. Ray decides to take the kids to Boston to be with their mother. The three are forced to abandon the stolen car after a mob takes it by force. They later survive a Tripod attack which causes a Hudson River ferry to sink. During a desperate battle between U.S. Marines and the aliens, Ray is forced to choose between being separated from Rachel and preventing Robbie from joining the fight; he lets Robbie go with the Marines, who are overwhelmed. While escaping, Ray and Rachel are offered shelter by Harlan Ogilvy, who presumes that the aliens had buried their technology on Earth millions of years ago and has delusions that they can fight against the aliens themselves by observing their operations, as they are right next to their camp.

The three remain undetected for two days, even as a probe and a group of the aliens themselves explore the basement. The next morning, Ogilvy suffers a mental breakdown while witnessing a Tripod harvesting human blood and tissue to fertilize an alien vegetation. The tripod’s inject a tube into the humans and drain out their blood, in a very vicious manner. Convinced that Ogilvy’s mad shouting jeopardizes his daughter’s life, Ray reluctantly kills him. The basement hideout is exposed when a second probe catches them sleeping. Rachel is soon abducted by a nearby Tripod; Ray immediately allows himself to be abducted, being placed in the same cage with Rachel and other prisoners. As the aliens select him for harvesting, Ray takes a belt of grenades into the machine, having pulled out the pins. The Tripod is destroyed and releases the cage, with Ray and Rachel, and a number of other prisoners, making it out alive.

Ray and Rachel arrive in a devastated Boston, where the vegetation is dying and most of the Tripods have collapsed. Ray notices birds landing on an active Tripod, indicating that its shields are off. Ray alerts the soldiers escorting his refugee group and they shoot it down. As the soldiers advance on the downed Tripod, a hatch opens releasing a liquid; a sickly alien struggles halfway out, and then dies immediately. Ray and Rachel reach Mary Ann’s parents’ house, where they are reunited with Mary Ann and, to their surprise, Robbie. The closing narration reveals that the aliens were immune to man’s machines but they and their vegetation were not immune to the microbes present on Earth and that “from the moment the invaders arrived, breathed our air, ate and drank, they were doomed,” finally quoting Wells himself, that given mankind’s birthright “neither do men live nor die in vain”.A loose adaptation of H. G. Wells’s novel of the same name, ‘War of the Worlds’ directed by Cinema Giant Steven Spielberg is a Magnificent Watch. Compelling, Shocking, Solid & Unforgettable, This 2005 Box-Office Blockbuster holds tremendous repeat viewing value!

Advertisements

REVIEW: THE WAR OF THE WORLD (1953)


CAST

Gene Barry (The Purple Mask)
Ann Robinson (Gun Brothers)
Les Tremayne (The Racket)
Robert Cornthwaite (Futureworld)
Lewis Martin (The Wild North)
Paul Frees (The Shaggy Dog)
Carolyn Jones (The Addams Family)

war-of-the-worlds-1953-martian-hand-on-shoulder-sylvia-van-buren-ann-robinsonIn southern California, Dr. Clayton Forrester, a scientist who had worked on the Manhattan Project, is fishing with colleagues when a large object crashes near the town of Linda Rosa. At the impact site, he meets Sylvia Van Buren and her uncle, Pastor Matthew Collins. Later that day, the “cylinder” opens and the inhabitants of the ship kill a welcoming party, simultaneously shutting down all technology in the town with an electromagnetic pulse. The United States military surround the crash site in battle formation as reports pour in of identical objects landing all over the world and destroying cities. Collins attempts to make peace with the Martians before being killed himself. The Martian war machines effortlessly defeat the military with a “Heat-Ray”.
war-of-the-worlds-1953-martians-attack-humansAttempting to escape, Forrester and Sylvia hide in an abandoned farm house. They begin to develop romantic feelings for each other before the house is buried by yet another cylinder. They encounter and dismember an “electronic eye” from the Martian machine, and collect a blood sample from a Martian wounded by Forrester to protect Sylvia. They manage to sneak away from the aliens without being seen. Many of the major capitals of the world are destroyed in the attacks and the United States government makes the decision to use nuclear weapons against the invaders. Forrester brings the Martian camera and blood samples to his team at Pacific Tech, with hope they can study the technology. An attempt to destroy a camp of Martians by nuclear strike fails due to the integrity of their shields, but Forrester remains hopeful they can fight the Martians by studying the blood samples and finding a biological weakness.
ww-53As the Martians advance on Los Angeles, with nothing left to fight them, the city is evacuated and many of the inhabitants are forced to live in the wilderness. Forrester, Sylvia and the Pacific Tech team are split apart by looters and their scientific equipment is stolen or destroyed. Forrester searches for Sylvia in the city while the Martians cause widespread destruction. Based on a story she had told him earlier, he deduces that she would be hiding in a church. After searching through a couple of churches, he finds Sylvia in the third among many praying survivors. Just as the Martians strike the church, their machines suddenly crash. Forrester finds the pilot of one such machine dead, and notes that they were “all praying for a miracle”. It is revealed that while the Martians were impervious to humanity’s weapons, they had no immunity to Earthly bacteria, and began to die from common illness all over the world.war-of-the-worlds-deus-ex-machinaThis film is easily one of the Top Ten of the Sci-Fi genre. Producer George Pal and director Byron Haskin certainly reached a creative plateau back in 1953 that is seldom attained even now in the current age of CGI effects and ear-splitting soundtracks. Simply the best ‘alien invasion’ type film ever made – bar none!