War of the Worlds
Review by Ross Anthony

Smashing to the screen with thunderless lightening, cracking blacktop, brick-breaking and glass-shattering special effects, "War of the Worlds" also sets spinning a strong family plot line. Carefully, methodically, the filmmakers crawl the film under your skin. After ohhing and ahhing at the first twenty minutes, you'll sigh to yourself: "Oh this is going to be such a great film."

You'll be wrong.

True, the first half is excellent: great direction, great acting, a great family story, and large drama backed by wowing special effects. But just at the moment the film should explode, blossom world wide, break into larger territory -- geography, instead, it burrows into a basement with Tim Robbins. Far overstaying its welcome at this location, the story does not progress. Rather, the writers struggle for something for the characters to do. I found myself struggling to endure these scenes.

Finally, our heroes emerge from the depths of that cellar. Whew. Very quickly, too quickly, interesting and meaningful events transpire, then in a heart beat the film ends. My friend and I shook our heads at each other... did we miss something? Is this really the end of the picture?

A word on the ending of this picture -- terrible. Perhaps there are many pieces of film on the cutting room floor that would have made the ending make sense, or given it meaning. As it stands, this ending has no purpose, no emotional weight, and very little logic. In fact, as a blatant admission of failure, the narrator explains what just happened as a sort of epilogue.

In sum, a really splendid first act, stalls then tailspins into a mess.

(Suggestion: rent "Independence Day")

  • War of the Worlds. Copyright © 2005.
  • Starring Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto, Tim Robbins.
  • Directed by Steven Spielberg.
  • Screenplay by Josh Friedman and David Koepp. Based on the novel by H.G. Wells.
  • Produced by Kathleen Kennedy at DreamWorks/Paramount.

Grade..........................B- (1.5/4)

Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:49:47 PDT