I am not a Tom Cruise fan –can this guy show emotions of any kind?-- but this is not why War of the Worlds is only a halfway decent movie. Decent performances are marred by Steven Spielberg’s ham fisted direction. Case in point, Dakota Fanning forced to compete with Jamie Lee Curtis for the Scream Queen title. If you want a good version of War of the Worlds, Orson Welles’ classic is available on mp3 just about everywhere on the net.
Cruise plays divorced dad Ray Ferrier who gets his teenage son and young daughter the day the creatures from outer space decide to attack earth. The creatures wipe out a bit of New York City before Ray and the kids drive to the ‘burbs where his ex-wife lives. There’s nobody there but the space creatures show up soon after. It seems the only reason Ray went to his ex’s is so the viewer can be told once again how bad a father he has been.
The family then decides to drive to Boston (HUH?) where the ex-wife, new husband, and former mother-in-law are perfectly safe of course. It is hard to figure out if this is because Ray wants to lose the kids or prove he is a good dad and return them to their mother.
I have no idea why Spielberg decided to saddle War of the Worlds with a sultry teenage boy and an easily unhinged apt to scream six-year-old. The kids really, really get in the way. There is also the unfortunate fact the Tripods have but cameo roles for most of the first hour.
There area couple of decent moments in War of the Worlds such as the mob scene in the small village or the raining clothes. These kind of make up for some crappy sfx like the migrating birds scene just before the Tripods show up in the countryside.
War of the World with Tom Cruise is purely a rental DVD.