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War of the Worlds (2005 film)

War of the Worlds (2005 film)

Overview
War of the Worlds is a 2005 American science fiction film adaptation
Film adaptation
Film adaptation is the transfer of a written work to a feature film. It is a type of derivative work.A common form of film adaptation is the use of a novel as the basis of a feature film, but film adaptation includes the use of non-fiction , autobiography, comic book, scripture, plays, and even...

 of H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells
Herbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...

' novel of the same name
The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds is an 1898 science fiction novel written by H. G. Wells.The War of the Worlds may also refer to:- Radio broadcasts :* The War of the Worlds , the 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles...

, directed by Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 and written by Josh Friedman
Josh Friedman
Josh Friedman is an American screenwriter best known as screenwriter of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and as the writer of the 2005 film adaptation of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds....

 and David Koepp
David Koepp
-Career:As a writer, Koepp has worked on such blockbuster Hollywood films as Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible, and Spider-Man. Koepp had a cameo as the "Unlucky Bastard" in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, in which he was serving as Writer and Second Unit Director.His work as a director has not had...

. It is one of three film adaptations of War of the Worlds released that year, alongside The Asylum's version
H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds (2005 film)
H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds is a science fiction horror mockbuster by The Asylum. It is one of three 2005 film adaptations of H. G...

 and Pendragon Pictures' version
H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (2005 film)
H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds is one of three film adaptations of H. G. Wells' classic novel released in 2005, about a Martian invasion of Earth...

. It stars Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

 as Ray Ferrier, a divorced dock worker estranged from his children and living separately from them. As his ex-wife drops their children off for him to look after for a few days, Earth is invaded by aliens (loosely based on H.
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Quotations

[last lines] From the moment the invaders arrived, breathed our air, ate and drank, they were doomed. They were undone, destroyed, after all of man's weapons and devices had failed, by the tiniest creatures that God in his wisdom put upon this earth. By the toll of a billion deaths, man had earned his immunity, his right to survive among this planet's infinite organisms. And that right is ours against all challenges. For neither do men live nor die in vain.

[to Robbie] Okay, hey, enough of the "Ray" shit, alright! It's Dad, Sir, or, if you want, Mr. Ferrier. It sounds a little weird to me, but you decide.

[to Robbie] You can hate me, but I love you!

Two for you, two for Robbie, two for me... One for the house.

[looking out at the teleporter's bolt of lightning] Where's the thunder...?

Robbie, you wanna head in that direction?! There's nothing living in that direction, Robbie!

We're gonna leave this house in 60 seconds.

Can you think of a plan that doesn't involve your 10-year-old sister joining the army?

Get in the car, Manny, or you're gonna die!

Encyclopedia
War of the Worlds is a 2005 American science fiction film adaptation
Film adaptation
Film adaptation is the transfer of a written work to a feature film. It is a type of derivative work.A common form of film adaptation is the use of a novel as the basis of a feature film, but film adaptation includes the use of non-fiction , autobiography, comic book, scripture, plays, and even...

 of H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells
Herbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...

' novel of the same name
The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds is an 1898 science fiction novel written by H. G. Wells.The War of the Worlds may also refer to:- Radio broadcasts :* The War of the Worlds , the 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles...

, directed by Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 and written by Josh Friedman
Josh Friedman
Josh Friedman is an American screenwriter best known as screenwriter of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and as the writer of the 2005 film adaptation of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds....

 and David Koepp
David Koepp
-Career:As a writer, Koepp has worked on such blockbuster Hollywood films as Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible, and Spider-Man. Koepp had a cameo as the "Unlucky Bastard" in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, in which he was serving as Writer and Second Unit Director.His work as a director has not had...

. It is one of three film adaptations of War of the Worlds released that year, alongside The Asylum's version
H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds (2005 film)
H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds is a science fiction horror mockbuster by The Asylum. It is one of three 2005 film adaptations of H. G...

 and Pendragon Pictures' version
H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (2005 film)
H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds is one of three film adaptations of H. G. Wells' classic novel released in 2005, about a Martian invasion of Earth...

. It stars Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

 as Ray Ferrier, a divorced dock worker estranged from his children and living separately from them. As his ex-wife drops their children off for him to look after for a few days, Earth is invaded by aliens (loosely based on H. G. Wells' Martians) driving Tripods
Tripod (The War of the Worlds)
Tripods or fighting-machines are a type of fictional three-legged walker from the H. G. Wells' classic science fiction novel The War of the Worlds, used by Martians to invade Earth.-Novel:...

 and the earth's armies are defeated, and Ray tries to protect his children and flee to Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

 to rejoin his ex-wife.

War of the Worlds marks Spielberg and Cruise's second collaboration, after the 2002 film Minority Report
Minority Report (film)
Minority Report is a 2002 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg and loosely based on the short story "The Minority Report" by Philip K. Dick. It is set primarily in Washington, D.C...

. The film was shot in 73 days, using five different sound stages as well as locations at Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, Staten Island
Staten Island
Staten Island is a borough of New York City, New York, United States, located in the southwest part of the city. Staten Island is separated from New Jersey by the Arthur Kill and the Kill Van Kull, and from the rest of New York by New York Bay...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, and New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

. The film was surrounded by a secrecy campaign so few details would be leaked before its release. Tie-in promotions were made with several companies, including Hitachi
Hitachi
Hitachi is a multinational corporation specializing in high-technology.Hitachi may also refer to:*Hitachi, Ibaraki, Japan*Hitachi province, former province of Japan*Prince Hitachi and Princess Hitachi, members of the Japanese imperial family...

. The film was released in United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 on 29 June and in United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 on 1 July. The film generally received positive reviews, and attained a 73 percent "fresh" rating on the film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

, based on 240 reviews. War of the Worlds was also a box office success, and was 2005's fourth most successful film both domestically, with $234 million in North America, and worldwide, with $591 million overall.

Plot


The film begins with the novel's narration (provided by Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman is an American actor, film director, aviator and narrator. He is noted for his reserved demeanor and authoritative speaking voice. Freeman has received Academy Award nominations for his performances in Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Invictus and won...

), which reflects on how mankind was so busy with their own concerns that they had not noticed they were being watched by aliens
Martian (War of the Worlds)
The Martians, also known as the Invaders, are the fictional race of extraterrestrials from the H.G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds. They are the antagonists of the novel, and their efforts to exterminate the populace of Earth and claim the planet for themselves drive the plot and present...

 with superior intellects and sinister intentions.

In Cold Winter Day, Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

) is a dock worker residing in Bayonne, New Jersey
Bayonne, New Jersey
Bayonne is a city in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. Located in the Gateway Region, Bayonne is a peninsula that is situated between Newark Bay to the west, the Kill van Kull to the south, and New York Bay to the east...

. One day, his ex-wife, Mary Ann (Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto is an Australian actress. The daughter of actors Lindsay and Barry Otto and the sister of actress Gracie Otto, she began acting at age eighteen, and has performed in a variety of independent and major studio films....

), drops off their children, Rachel (Dakota Fanning
Dakota Fanning
Hannah Dakota Fanning , better known as Dakota Fanning, is an American actress. Fanning's breakthrough performance was in I Am Sam in 2001. As a child actress, she appeared in high-profile films such as Man on Fire, War of the Worlds, and Charlotte's Web...

) and Robbie (Justin Chatwin
Justin Chatwin
Justin Chatwin is a Canadian film actor. He played the son of Tom Cruise's character in the Steven Spielberg-directed War of the Worlds, a leading role in the 2007 mystery/thriller The Invisible, and Goku in Dragonball Evolution...

), at his house as she is going to Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

 to meet with her parents. Meanwhile a series of unexplainable lightning storms hits Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, later hitting other parts of the world. While Ray sleeps, Robbie takes Ray's car out of the house without his permission. When Ray wakes up, he goes out to search for his son, and notices a strange wall cloud
Wall cloud
A wall cloud is a large, lowering, and rotating base of a cumulonimbus cloud that potentially forms tornadoes. It is typically beneath the rain-free base portion of a deep cumulus cloud , and indicates the area of primary and strongest updraft which condenses into cloud at altitudes lower than...

, which starts to send out electromagnetic pulse
Electromagnetic pulse
An electromagnetic pulse is a burst of electromagnetic radiation. The abrupt pulse of electromagnetic radiation usually results from certain types of high energy explosions, especially a nuclear explosion, or from a suddenly fluctuating magnetic field...

s in the form of lightning
Lightning
Lightning is an atmospheric electrostatic discharge accompanied by thunder, which typically occurs during thunderstorms, and sometimes during volcanic eruptions or dust storms...

 in the nearby area, which disables all working electronic devices in the area, including cars. Ray then leaves to investigate, along the way telling Manny, the local mechanic, to replace the solenoid
Starter solenoid
A starter solenoid is the part of an automobile which relays a large electric current to the starter motor, which in turn sets the engine in motion...

 on a dead car. Ray and other numerous people are then attracted to a small hole in the ground caused by the lightning strikes. The ground then starts to rip open and a massive machine standing on three long legs appears. After emerging, the Tripod
Tripod (The War of the Worlds)
Tripods or fighting-machines are a type of fictional three-legged walker from the H. G. Wells' classic science fiction novel The War of the Worlds, used by Martians to invade Earth.-Novel:...

 makes a loud blaring sound, then opens fire with destructive heat-rays
Heat-Ray
The Heat-Ray is the primary offensive weapon used by the Martians in H. G. Wells' classic science fiction novel The War of the Worlds and its offshoots.- In the novel :...

, vaporizing bystanders and destroying everything in its path. Ray manages to escape and return to his house. Knowing it is no longer safe, Ray packs up his kids and leaves. He then manages to steal the vehicle Manny repaired, and along with Robbie and Rachel leave as the tripod destroys the town around them.

Ray drives to Mary Ann and her new husband's house to take refuge that night. The next morning he discovers that the tripods have caused a Boeing 747
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

 to crash into the houses. Upon walking upstairs, he sees a jet engine
Jet engine
A jet engine is a reaction engine that discharges a fast moving jet to generate thrust by jet propulsion and in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. This broad definition of jet engines includes turbojets, turbofans, rockets, ramjets, pulse jets...

, still spinning, right in the house. Ray meets a small news team searching the wreckage, who show him footage of Tripods destroying other cities, and also that aliens apparently "rode" down the lightning into the ground where the Tripods were located, showing that they have been preparing this invasion for a long time. After hearing the siren
Siren
In Greek mythology, the Sirens were three dangerous mermaid like creatures, portrayed as seductresses who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on an island called Sirenum scopuli...

 of an approaching Tripod, the news crew leaves, and Ray, along with his children, flee to join with Mary in Boston. While driving along NY 385, they are witnesses to a slew of bodies being carried in a river, a sign of the high casualties. They are then forced to leave their car after a mob
Flash mob
A flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, artistic expression...

 attacks them in order to take the vehicle, and survive a Tripod attack while navigating the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

 on a ferry
Ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

, which is later capsized by another alien Machine under water.

The family then encounters the U.S. military
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 preparing to mount an attack on the Tripods and slow down their advance on a hill top. Robbie, obsessed with joining the fight against the hostile aliens, leaves with the military after Ray goes to stop a couple who were carrying Rachel away. As Ray retrieves Rachel, the tripods overwhelm the military and begin to open fire on the refugees. The tripods are protected by some kind of energy shield that makes them completely invulnerable to all forms of attack. While escaping from the tripods, Ray and Rachel are offered shelter and protection by a stranger, Harlan Ogilvy (Tim Robbins
Tim Robbins
Timothy Francis "Tim" Robbins is an American actor, screenwriter, director, producer, activist and musician. He is the former longtime partner of actress Susan Sarandon...

), who vows revenge on the aliens after his family was killed upon their arrival. He plans to begin a resistance against the aliens, believing that more and more waves of Tripods are on their way. While hiding in Harlan's basement, they witness the Tripods spreading a strange red weed
Red weed
The red weed is a fictional plant native to Mars in the novel The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. It is this plant that supposedly gives Mars its dull red colour...

 substance over the ground, and avoid detection by both a metallic snake-like probe and four aliens who arrive to explore the basement, although Ogilvy shows his desire to kill one of the aliens. They use a mirror to fool the probe by hiding behind it. The following morning, Ogilvy suffers a mental breakdown
Mental breakdown
Mental breakdown is a non-medical term used to describe an acute, time-limited phase of a specific disorder that presents primarily with features of depression or anxiety.-Definition:...

 after witnessing a Tripod harvesting blood and tissue from a human to fertilize the weed. Concerned that Ogilvy's yelling and ranting will attract the Tripods, Ray kills Ogilvy to silence him. Ray and Rachel's hideout is exposed however when another probe catches them while they sleep. Ray cripples the probe using an axe, but Rachel is so scared she flees the house, eventually being caught by a Tripod.

While pursuing the Tripod, Ray finds several hand grenades
M67 grenade
The M67 grenade is a fragmentation hand grenade used by the United States Military and Canadian Forces, where it is referred to as the C13. The M67 is a replacement for the M61 grenade used during Vietnam and the older Mk 2 "pineapple" grenade used since World War II.-Composition:The M67 Grenade...

 in a destroyed Humvee and detonates one of them to attract the Tripod's attention, intending to be captured to try and rescue Rachel. After Ray is captured and put into a basket with Rachel and several other prisoners, the aliens try to pull Ray inside the Tripod to be used as fertilizer for the red vine, but the other prisoners manage to pull him back out of the Fertilizer. The grenades left by Ray inside the Tripod's cabin then detonate, causing the Tripod to collapse and freeing all the captives.

Soon afterward, Ray and Rachel arrive in Boston, where they notice the red weeds are starting to dry up and die, and the Tripods appear to be dying also. They witness a Tripod acting strangely, struggling to keep balance and taking little notice of the soldiers and refugees. Ray notices a cluster of birds are circling and landing on the hood of the machine, indicating the Tripod's force field
Force field
A force field, sometimes known as an energy shield, force shield, or deflector shield is a concept of a field tightly bounded and of significant magnitude so that objects affected by the particular force relating to the field are unable to pass through the central axis of the field and reach the...

s are no longer functioning. Ray alerts nearby soldiers by yelling "Look at the goddamn birds!" who attack and destroy the Tripod with two FGM-148 Javelin
FGM-148 Javelin
The FGM-148 Javelin is a United States-made man-portable third generation anti-tank missile fielded to replace the Dragon antitank missile.-Overview:Javelin is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance...

s and a Carl Gustav recoilless rifle
Carl Gustav recoilless rifle
The Carl Gustav is the common name for the 84 mm man-portable reusable multi-role recoilless rifle produced by Saab Bofors Dynamics in Sweden...

, leaving it crashing through a warehouse and onto the ground. Approaching the downed Tripod, a hatch opens, revealing an alien pilot that lets out a final growl and dies. Ray and Rachel reach Mary Ann's parents' house and find her and, to their surprise, Robbie, who has somehow survived the attack on the hilltop. As the camera zooms back to overview the wrecked city and downed Tripods, the narrator reveals the aliens were dying because they were suffering from an infection which they contracted from consuming the germs that inhabited Earth's food, water, and humans for which they had no immunity
Immunity (medical)
Immunity is a biological term that describes a state of having sufficient biological defenses to avoid infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion. Immunity involves both specific and non-specific components. The non-specific components act either as barriers or as eliminators of wide...

.

Cast


  • Tom Cruise
    Tom Cruise
    Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

     as Ray Ferrier
  • Dakota Fanning
    Dakota Fanning
    Hannah Dakota Fanning , better known as Dakota Fanning, is an American actress. Fanning's breakthrough performance was in I Am Sam in 2001. As a child actress, she appeared in high-profile films such as Man on Fire, War of the Worlds, and Charlotte's Web...

     as Rachel Ferrier
  • Justin Chatwin
    Justin Chatwin
    Justin Chatwin is a Canadian film actor. He played the son of Tom Cruise's character in the Steven Spielberg-directed War of the Worlds, a leading role in the 2007 mystery/thriller The Invisible, and Goku in Dragonball Evolution...

     as Robbie Ferrier
  • Miranda Otto
    Miranda Otto
    Miranda Otto is an Australian actress. The daughter of actors Lindsay and Barry Otto and the sister of actress Gracie Otto, she began acting at age eighteen, and has performed in a variety of independent and major studio films....

     as Mary Ann Davis
  • Tim Robbins
    Tim Robbins
    Timothy Francis "Tim" Robbins is an American actor, screenwriter, director, producer, activist and musician. He is the former longtime partner of actress Susan Sarandon...

     as Harlan Ogilvy
  • Rick Gonzalez
    Rick Gonzalez
    Rick Gonzalez is an American actor. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Timo Cruz in the motion picture Coach Carter, and as Ben Gonzalez on the CW supernatural drama television series Reaper.-Early life:...

     as Vincent
  • Lenny Venito
    Lenny Venito
    Lenny Venito is an American actor who has made appearances in movies such as Gigli, Men in Black II, and War of the Worlds.Starting in 2006, Venito has been featured in The Sopranos as the character nicknamed "Murmur," who helped shake down actor Ben Kingsley and violently mug actress Lauren Bacall...

     as Manny the Mechanic
  • Lisa Ann Walter
    Lisa Ann Walter
    Lisa Ann Walter is an American actress, comedienne, writer and film producer. She has appeared in such films as the 1998 version of The Parent Trap, Bruce Almighty, Shall We Dance, and War of the Worlds as Cheryl. Walter also created and starred in the short-lived 1996-1997 sitcom, Life's Work...

     as Cheryl
  • Ann Robinson
    Ann Robinson
    Ann Robinson is an American actress and stunt horse rider, perhaps best known for her work in the film, The War of the Worlds and in the 1947 to 1970 radio and television series, Dragnet, in which she starred opposite Jack Webb....

     as Grandmother, played a lead role in the 1953 film.
  • Gene Barry
    Gene Barry
    Gene Barry was an American stage, screen, and television actor. Barry is best remembered for his leading roles in the films The Atomic City and The War of The Worlds and for his portrayal of the title character in the TV series Bat Masterson, among many roles.-Personal life:Barry was born...

     as Grandfather, played a lead role in the 1953 film.
  • David Alan Basche
    David Alan Basche
    -Life and career:Basche was born in Hartford, Connecticut. His first acting role was in a school production of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer when he was in the sixth grade at West Hartford's Norfeldt Elementary School...

     as Tim
  • Roz Abrams as Herself
  • Camillia Sanes
    Camillia Sanes
    Camillia Sanes is an American actor and film producer. In television, she has played recurring roles on shows such as The Shield and Saving Grace.-Career:...

     as News Producer


Development


After collaborating in 2002's Minority Report
Minority Report (film)
Minority Report is a 2002 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg and loosely based on the short story "The Minority Report" by Philip K. Dick. It is set primarily in Washington, D.C...

, Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 and Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

 were interested in working together again. Spielberg stated about Cruise, "He's such an intelligent, creative partner, and brings such great ideas to the set that we just spark each other. I love working with Tom Cruise." Cruise met with Spielberg during the filming of Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can is a 2002 American biographical comedy-drama film based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before his 19th birthday, successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars by posing as a Pan American World Airways pilot, a Georgia doctor, and a Louisiana parish prosecutor...

 (2002) and gave three options of films to create together, one of them being an adaptation of The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds is an 1898 science fiction novel written by H. G. Wells.The War of the Worlds may also refer to:- Radio broadcasts :* The War of the Worlds , the 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles...

. Spielberg chose The War of the Worlds and stated, "We looked at each other and the lights went on. As soon as I heard it, I said `Oh my God! War of the Worlds - absolutely.' That was it."

The film is Spielberg's third on the subject of alien visitation, along with Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg. The film stars Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban, and Cary Guffey...

 and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Melissa Mathison and starring Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, and Peter Coyote...

. Producer and longtime collaborator Kathleen Kennedy notes that with War of the Worlds, Spielberg had the opportunity to explore the antithesis of the characters brought to life in E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. "When we first started developing E.T., it was a much edgier, darker story and it actually evolved into something that was more benign. I think that the edgier, darker story has always been somewhere inside him. Now, he's telling that story." Spielberg stated that he just thought it would be fun to make a "really scary film with really scary aliens", something which he had never done before. Spielberg was intent on telling a contemporary story, with Kennedy stating the story was created as a fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

, but depicted in a hyper-realistic
Hyperreality
Hyperreality is used in semiotics and postmodern philosophy to describe a hypothetical inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from fantasy, especially in technologically advanced postmodern societies...

 way.
"For the first time in my life I'm making an alien picture where there is no love and no attempt at communication."
— Steven Spielberg

Josh Friedman
Josh Friedman
Josh Friedman is an American screenwriter best known as screenwriter of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and as the writer of the 2005 film adaptation of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds....

 delivered a screenplay, which was then rewritten by David Koepp
David Koepp
-Career:As a writer, Koepp has worked on such blockbuster Hollywood films as Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible, and Spider-Man. Koepp had a cameo as the "Unlucky Bastard" in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, in which he was serving as Writer and Second Unit Director.His work as a director has not had...

. After re-reading the novel, Koepp decided to do the script following a single narrator, "a very limited point of view, from someone on the very periphery of events rather than someone involved in events", and created a list of elements he would not use due to being "cliché
Cliché
A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. In phraseology, the term has taken on a more technical meaning,...

", such as the destruction of landmark buildings. Some aspects of the book were heavily adapted and condensed: Tim Robbins' character was an amalgalm of two characters in the book, with the name borrowed from a third. While changing of the setting from 19th century to present day, Koepp also tried to "take the modern world back to the 1800s", with the characters being devoid of electricity and modern techniques of communication.

Spielberg accepted the script after finding it had several similarities to his personal life, including the divorce of his parents (Ray and Mary Ann's divorce), and because the plight of the fictional survivors reflects his own uncertainty after the devastation of the September 11 attacks. For Spielberg, the characters' stories of survival needed to be the main focus, as they featured the American mindset
American way
The American way of life is an expression that refers to the lifestyle of people living in the United States of America. It is an example of a behavioral modality, developed from the 17th century until today...

 of never giving up. Spielberg described War of the Worlds as "a polar opposite" to Close Encounters, with that movie featuring a man leaving family to travel with aliens, while War of the Worlds focused on keeping the family together.

Although accepting the script, Spielberg asked for several changes. Spielberg had been against the idea of the aliens arriving in spaceships, since every alien invasion movie used such a vehicle. The original Martian
Martian (War of the Worlds)
The Martians, also known as the Invaders, are the fictional race of extraterrestrials from the H.G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds. They are the antagonists of the novel, and their efforts to exterminate the populace of Earth and claim the planet for themselves drive the plot and present...

 cylinders were discarded, where Spielberg replaced the origins of the Tripod
Tripod (The War of the Worlds)
Tripods or fighting-machines are a type of fictional three-legged walker from the H. G. Wells' classic science fiction novel The War of the Worlds, used by Martians to invade Earth.-Novel:...

s with stating they were buried underground in the Earth long ago. Koepp fitted in an homage to the cylinders and the unscrewing of the lid.

Filming


Filming took place in Virginia, Connecticut, New Jersey, California, and New York. The film shooting lasted an estimated 72 days. Originally, Spielberg would shoot War of the Worlds after Munich
Munich (film)
Munich is a 2005 historical fiction film about the Israeli government's secret retaliation attacks after the massacre of Israeli athletes by the Black September terrorist group during the 1972 Summer Olympics. The film stars Eric Bana and was produced and directed by Steven Spielberg...

, but Tom Cruise liked David Koepp's script so much that he suggested Spielberg to postpone that project, while he would do the same with Mission: Impossible III
Mission: Impossible III
Mission: Impossible III is a 2006 spy film, the third based on the spy-themed television series Mission: Impossible starring Tom Cruise who reprises his role of IMF agent Ethan Hunt....

. Most of Munichs crew was brought in to work on War of the Worlds as well. In 2004, the production crews quickly were set up on both coasts to prepare for the start date, scouting locations up and down the Eastern Seaboard
Eastern seaboard
An Eastern seaboard can mean any easternmost part of a continent, or its countries, states and/or cities.Eastern seaboard may also refer to:* East Coast of Australia* East Coast of the United States* Eastern Seaboard of Thailand-See also:...

 and preparing stages and sets which would be used when the company returned to Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 after the winter holiday. Pre-production
Pre-production
Pre-production or In Production is the process of preparing all the elements involved in a film, play, or other performance.- In film :...

 took place in only three months, essentially half the amount of time normally allotted for a film of similar size and scope. Spielberg notes, however, "This wasn't a cram course for War of the Worlds. This was my longest schedule in about 12 years. We took our time." Spielberg collaborated with crews at the beginning of pre-production with the use of previsualization
Previsualization
Previsualization is a function to visualise complex scenes in movie before filming. It is also a concept in still photography...

, considering the tight schedule.

The scene depicting the first appearance of the Tripods was filmed in Newark, New Jersey
Newark, New Jersey
Newark is the largest city in the American state of New Jersey, and the seat of Essex County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Newark had a population of 277,140, maintaining its status as the largest municipality in New Jersey. It is the 68th largest city in the U.S...

. Later, Spielberg filmed several scenes in Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. The continuous scene was filmed in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

.

The ferry
Ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

 scene was filmed in the New York town of Athens
Athens (town), New York
Athens is a town in Greene County, New York, USA. The population was 4,089 at the 2010 census.The Town of Athens has a village also called Athens...

, and Mary Ann's parents house was located in Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

 (but was featured in the film in Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

). For the scene involving a crashed Boeing 747
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

, the production crew bought an out-of-use airplane, with transportation costs of $2 million, broke it into pieces and built houses around them. The destroyed plane was kept for the Universal Studios
Universal Studios
Universal Pictures , a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, is one of the six major movie studios....

 back-lot tour. Ray's house was filmed in Bayonne, New Jersey (with a soundstage doubling the interior); meanwhile, the valley war sequence was filmed in Lexington
Lexington, Virginia
Lexington is an independent city within the confines of Rockbridge County in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The population was 7,042 in 2010. Lexington is about 55 minutes east of the West Virginia border and is about 50 miles north of Roanoke, Virginia. It was first settled in 1777.It is home to...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 and Mystery Mesa in California. The scene where the tripod is shot down and crashes through a factory was filmed in Naugatuck, Connecticut.
The film used six sound stages, spread over three studio lots.

Design and visual effects


Industrial Light & Magic was the main special effects company for the movie. While Spielberg had used computers to help visualize sequences in pre-production
Pre-production
Pre-production or In Production is the process of preparing all the elements involved in a film, play, or other performance.- In film :...

 before, Spielberg said, "This is the first film I really tackled using the computer to animate all the storyboards." He decided to employ the technique extensively after a visit to his friend George Lucas
George Lucas
George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, and director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones...

. In order to keep the realism, the usage of computer-generated imagery
Computer-generated imagery
Computer-generated imagery is the application of the field of computer graphics or, more specifically, 3D computer graphics to special effects in art, video games, films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media...

 shots and bluescreen was limited, with most of the digital effects being blended with miniature and live-action footage. The design of the Tripods was described by Spielberg as "graceful," with artist Doug Chiang replicating aquatic lifeforms. The visual effects crew tried to blend organic and mechanical elements in the Tripods depiction, and made extensive studies for the movements of the vehicle to be believable, considering the "contradiction" of having a large tank-like head being carried by thin and flexible legs. Visual effects supervisor Pablo Helman considered depicting the scale of the Tripod as challenging, considering "Steven wanted to make sure that these creatures were 150 feet tall". The aliens themselves had designs based on jellyfish
Jellyfish
Jellyfish are free-swimming members of the phylum Cnidaria. Medusa is another word for jellyfish, and refers to any free-swimming jellyfish stages in the phylum Cnidaria...

, with movements inspired by red-eyed tree frogs
Agalychnis callidryas
The Red-eyed Treefrog is an arboreal hylid native to Neotropical rainforests in Central America.- Description :...

. Spielberg did not want any blood or gore during the Heat-Ray deaths; in the words of Helma, "this was going to be a horror movie for kids". So the effects crew came up with the vaporization of the bodies, and considering it could not be fully digital due to both the complexity of the effect and the schedule, live-action dust was used alongside the CGI ray assimilation and particles.

During the scene where Ray's minivan is attacked by a mob, Janusz Kaminski and Spielberg wanted a lot of interactive lights, so they added different kinds of lights, including Coleman lamps, oil lantern
Oil lamp
An oil lamp is an object used to produce light continuously for a period of time using an oil-based fuel source. The use of oil lamps began thousands of years ago and is continued to this day....

s, flashlight
Flashlight
A flashlight is a hand-held electric-powered light source. Usually the light source is a small incandescent lightbulb or light-emitting diode...

s and Maglights. The IL&M crew admitted that the destruction of the Bayonne Bridge
Bayonne Bridge
The Bayonne Bridge is the fourth longest steel arch bridge in the world, and was the longest in the world at the time of its completion. It connects Bayonne, New Jersey with Staten Island, New York, spanning the Kill Van Kull. Despite popular belief, it is not a national landmark.The bridge was...

 was the toughest scene to be made with heavy usage mix of CGI effects and live action
Live action
In filmmaking, video production, and other media, the term live action refers to cinematography, videography not produced using animation...

 elements, and a four-week deadline so the shot could be used in a Super Bowl
Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League , the highest level of professional American football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to identify each game, rather...

 trailer. The scene originally had only a gas station exploding, but then Spielberg suggested blowing up the bridge as well. The scene involved Tripods shooting a Heat-Ray towards the minivan and minivan escapes from it involved a lot of CGI layers to work out. Over 500 CGI effects were used in the film.

Costume designer
Costume Designer
A costume designer or costume mistress/master is a person whose responsibility is to design costumes for a film or stage production. He or she is considered an important part of the "production team", working alongside the director, scenic and lighting designers as well as the sound designer. The...

 Joanna Johnston created 60 different versions of Ray's leather jacket, to illustrate the degrees to which he is weathered from the beginning of the journey to the end. "He begins with the jacket, a hoodie
Hoodie
A hoodie is a sweatshirt with a hood. The characteristic design includes large frontal pockets, a hood, and a drawstring to adjust the hood opening. They are sometimes worn with sweatpants. Some hoodies have zippers on them to allow easy removal much like a jacket...

, and two t-shirts," explains Johnston. One piece of Dakota Fanning
Dakota Fanning
Hannah Dakota Fanning , better known as Dakota Fanning, is an American actress. Fanning's breakthrough performance was in I Am Sam in 2001. As a child actress, she appeared in high-profile films such as Man on Fire, War of the Worlds, and Charlotte's Web...

's costume that takes on a special importance is her lavender horse purse: "I wanted her to have something that made her feel safe, some little thing that she could sleep with and put over her face," Johnston notes. "That was the lavender horse purse. We tied it up on a ribbon
Ribbon
A ribbon or riband is a thin band of material, typically cloth but also plastic or sometimes metal, used primarily for binding and tying. Cloth ribbons, most commonly silk, are often used in connection with clothing, but are also applied for innumerable useful, ornamental and symbolic purposes...

 and Dakota hung it on her body, so it was with her at all times." Johnston dressed Robbie for an unconscious emulation of his father, "They're more alike than they realize, with great tension on the surface," Johnston says.

Music


Longtime Spielberg collaborator John Williams
John Williams
John Towner Williams is an American composer, conductor, and pianist. In a career spanning almost six decades, he has composed some of the most recognizable film scores in the history of motion pictures, including the Star Wars saga, Jaws, Superman, the Indiana Jones films, E.T...

 composed the music score of War of the Worlds. He considered the score "a very serious piece," which had to combine "necessary frightening atmosphere" with "propulsively rhythmic drive for the action scenes." A soundtrack album was released by Decca Records
Decca Records
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

, that featured the film's music and Morgan Freeman's opening and closing narration. The songs "Little Deuce Coupe
Little Deuce Coupe (song)
"Little Deuce Coupe" is a song written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian. The song first appeared as the b-side to The Beach Boys' 1963 single "Surfer Girl"...

" and "Hushabye Mountain
Hushabye Mountain
"Hushabye Mountain" is a ballad by the songwriting team Robert and Richard Sherman. It appears twice in the 1968 Albert R. Broccoli motion picture Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: first as an idyllic lullaby by Caractacus Potts to his children; and later when the children of Vulgaria have lost all hope of...

" are also featured in the movie, the former sung by Tom Cruise, and the latter by Dakota Fanning.

Themes


The film was described as an anti-war
Anti-war
An anti-war movement is a social movement, usually in opposition to a particular nation's decision to start or carry on an armed conflict, unconditional of a maybe-existing just cause. The term can also refer to pacifism, which is the opposition to all use of military force during conflicts. Many...

 film, as civilians run and only try to save themselves and their family instead of fighting back the alien Tripods. Debra J. Saunders
Debra Saunders
Debra J. Saunders is a conservative columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Syndicated by Creators Syndicate, her thrice weekly column is also carried by newspapers throughout the country and on townhall.com. Saunders also blogs for the Chronicle under the moniker Token Conservative...

 of San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
thumb|right|upright|The Chronicle Building following the [[1906 San Francisco earthquake|1906 earthquake]] and fireThe San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California, but distributed throughout Northern and Central California,...

 described the film as "If aliens invade, don't fight back. Run." Saunders compared the film to Independence Day
Independence Day (film)
Independence Day is a 1996 science fiction film about an alien invasion of Earth, focusing on a disparate group of individuals and families as they converge in the Nevada desert and, along with the rest of the human population, participate in a last-chance counterattack on July 4 – the same...

, where the civilians do run, but they support the military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 efforts. Many reviewers considered the film tried to recreate the atmosphere
Mood (psychology)
A mood is a relatively long lasting emotional state. Moods differ from emotions in that they are less specific, less intense, and less likely to be triggered by a particular stimulus or event....

 of the September 11 attacks, with bystanders struggling to survive and the usage of missing-persons displays. Spielberg declared to Reader's Digest
Reader's Digest
Reader's Digest is a general interest family magazine, published ten times annually. Formerly based in Chappaqua, New York, its headquarters is now in New York City. It was founded in 1922, by DeWitt Wallace and Lila Bell Wallace...

 that beside the work being a fantasy, the threat represented was real: "They are a wake-up call to face our fears as we confront a force intent on destroying our way of life." Screenwriter David Koepp stated that he tried not to put explicit references to September 11 or the Iraq War, but said that the inspiration for the scene where Robbie joins the army were teenagers fighting at the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 - "I was thinking of teenagers in Gaza throwing bottles and rocks at tanks, and I think that when you're that age you don't fully consider the ramifications of what you're doing and you're very much caught up in the moment and passion, whether that's a good idea or not."

Release


War of the Worlds premiered at the Ziegfeld Theatre
Ziegfeld Theatre
The Ziegfeld Theatre was a Broadway theater located at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and 54th Street in Manhattan, New York City. It was built in 1927 and, despite public protests, was razed in 1966....

 on June 23, 2005. There, Tom Cruise revealed his relationship with Katie Holmes
Katie Holmes
Katherine Noelle "Katie" Holmes is an American actress who first achieved fame for her role as Joey Potter on The WB television teen drama Dawson's Creek from 1998 to 2003. Her movie roles have included the blockbuster Batman Begins along with art house films such as The Ice Storm and thrillers...

. Six days later, on June 29, the film was released in approximately 3,908 theaters across America.

Secrecy


Spielberg kept most of the parts secret in the filmmaking
Filmmaking
Filmmaking is the process of making a film, from an initial story, idea, or commission, through scriptwriting, casting, shooting, directing, editing, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a theatrical release or television program...

, as the cast and crew were left confused about how the aliens look. When asked about the secrecy of the screenplay, David Koepp answered, "[Spielberg] wouldn't give [the screenplay] to anybody". Koepp explained he would e-mail it to him, and he would give a section of the script that was relating to whatever somebody was doing. Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto is an Australian actress. The daughter of actors Lindsay and Barry Otto and the sister of actress Gracie Otto, she began acting at age eighteen, and has performed in a variety of independent and major studio films....

 thought of not even discussing the story with her family and friends. Otto said, "I know some people who always say, 'Oh, everything's so secret.' I think it's good. In the old days people didn't get to know much about movies before they came out and nowadays there's just so much information. I think a bit of mystery is always really good. You don't want to blow all of your cards beforehand."

Spielberg admitted after keeping things secret for so long, there is in the end the temptation to reveal too much to the detriment of the story at the press conference of War of the Worlds. So, Spielberg only revealed the hill scene, where Ray tries to stop his son from leaving, stating "to say more would reveal too much." The secrecy caused The Sun
The Sun (newspaper)
The Sun is a daily national tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and owned by News Corporation. Sister editions are published in Glasgow and Dublin...

 to claim the film would surpass Titanic
Titanic (1997 film)
Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. A fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson, Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater and Billy Zane as Rose's fiancé, Cal...

s 200 million budget, which at the time held the record for the most expensive film ever made. The actual budget of the film was US$132 million.

Marketing and home media releases


Paramount Pictures Interactive Marketing
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

 debuted a human survival
Survival skills
Survival skills are techniques a person may use in a dangerous situation to save themselves or others...

 online game
Online game
An online game is a game played over some form of computer network. This almost always means the Internet or equivalent technology, but games have always used whatever technology was current: modems before the Internet, and hard wired terminals before modems...

 on its official website
Website
A website, also written as Web site, web site, or simply site, is a collection of related web pages containing images, videos or other digital assets. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet...

, waroftheworlds.com, on April 14 to promote the film. Hitachi
Hitachi
Hitachi is a multinational corporation specializing in high-technology.Hitachi may also refer to:*Hitachi, Ibaraki, Japan*Hitachi province, former province of Japan*Prince Hitachi and Princess Hitachi, members of the Japanese imperial family...

 collaborated with Paramount Pictures for a worldwide promotional campaign, under the title of “The Ultimate Visual Experience”. The agreement was announced by Kazuhiro Tachibana, general manager
General manager
General manager is a descriptive term for certain executives in a business operation. It is also a formal title held by some business executives, most commonly in the hospitality industry.-Generic usage:...

 of Hitachi’s Consumer Business Group. Kazuhiro stated, "Our ‘The Ultimate Visual Experience’ campaign is a perfect match between Spielberg and Cruise’s pursuit of the world’s best in film entertainment and Hitachi’s commitment to the highest picture quality through its digital consumer electronic products."

The film was released on VHS and DVD on November 22, 2005, with both a single-disc edition and a two-disc special edition featured production featurettes, documentaries and trailers. The film grossed $113,000,000 in DVD sales, bringing its total film gross to $704,745,540, ranking tenth place in the 2005 DVD sales chart.

Although Paramount had the worldwide theatrical rights, the US DVD rights were with DreamWorks, while Paramount had international DVD rights. War of the Worlds was one of the last DreamWorks DVD releases to be distributed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Universal Studios Home Entertainment is the home video division of Universal Pictures...

, since Paramount would announce its acquisition of DreamWorks a mere few weeks after the DVD release (it was completed in February 2006, though DreamWorks would later become independent again). Because of the Paramount/DreamWorks merger, Paramount now has inherited the rights originally with DreamWorks, and future re-releases on any media will be distributed by Paramount (which had produced the 1953 version alone). Paramount released the film on Blu-Ray on June 1, 2010.

Box office


On , the film grossed approximately US$21 million worldwide, and earned the thirty-eighth biggest opening week gross with grossing $98,826,764 in 3,908 theatres, averaging $25,288 in each theater. Meanwhile, on Independence Day
Independence Day (United States)
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain...

 weekend, War of the Worlds grossed $64,878,725 in 3908 theatres also, giving an average of $16,601. This is the third-biggest film opening on Independence Day weekend. The film earned $200 million in 24 days, ranking thirty-seventh place in the list of fastest films to gross $200 million. The film has grossed an estimated $592 million worldwide, making it the fourth highest grossing film of 2005, and the sixty-fourth highest grossing film worldwide.

Reviews


The film received largely positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Metacritic
Metacritic
Metacritic.com is a website that collates reviews of music albums, games, movies, TV shows and DVDs. For each product, a numerical score from each review is obtained and the total is averaged. An excerpt of each review is provided along with a hyperlink to the source. Three colour codes of Green,...

 gave it an average score of 73 based on 40 reviews. On another website, Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

, War of the Worlds currently garners an 74% "fresh" rating based on 244 reviews and the critical consensus stating [that] "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." Among Rotten Tomatoes' Top Critics, which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs, the film's reception was more ambivalent with a score of 68% based on 41 reviews.

James Berardinelli
James Berardinelli
James Berardinelli is an American online film critic.-Personal life:Berardinelli was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey and spent his early childhood in Morristown, New Jersey. At the age of nine years, he relocated to the township of Cherry Hill, New Jersey...

 praised the acting and considered that focusing the narrative on the struggle of one character made the film more effective, but described the ending as weak, even though Spielberg "does the best he can to make it cinematically dramatic". Total Film
Total Film
Total Film is a British film magazine published 13 times a year by Future Publishing. The magazine was launched in 1997 and offers film, DVD and Blu-ray news, reviews and features...

s review gave War of the Worlds 4 out of 5 stars, considering that "Spielberg finds fresh juice in a tale already adapted for film, TV, stage, radio and record", and describing the film as having many "startling images", comparing the first Tripod attack to the Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach is the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during World War II...

 landing from Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American war film set during the invasion of Normandy in World War II. It was directed by Steven Spielberg, with a screenplay by Robert Rodat. The film is notable for the intensity of its opening 27 minutes, which depicts the Omaha Beach assault of June 6, 1944....

.

Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

Kenneth Turan
Kenneth Turan
Kenneth Turan is an American film critic and Lecturer in the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California.-Background:...

, who felt the special effect
Special effect
The illusions used in the film, television, theatre, or entertainment industries to simulate the imagined events in a story are traditionally called special effects ....

s were unusual, stated that Spielberg may actually have done his job in War of the Worlds "better than he realizes", showing how fragile the world is. Turan claimed Spielberg raised a most provocative question: "Is the ultimate fantasy an invasion from outer space, or is it the survival of the human race?" However, Broomfield Enterprise
Broomfield Enterprise
The Broomfield Enterprise is the city newspaper for Broomfield, Colorado, USA, and is published twice weekly on Thursdays and Sundays. It is published by Prairie Mountain Publishing, which is owned by MediaNews Group.-External links:*...

s Dan Marcucci and Nancy Serougi did not share Berardinelli and Turan's opinion. They felt the Morgan Freeman's narration was unnecessary, and that the first half was "great" but the second half "became filled with clichés, riddled with holes, and tainted by Tim Robbins".

Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and the flagship publication of the Tribune Company. Formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper" , it remains the most read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region and is...

 gave the film three and a half stars (out of four), saying "War of the Worlds definitely wins its battle, but not the war." Wilmington stated the film brought the viewers on a wild journey
Adventure
An adventure is defined as an exciting or unusual experience; it may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome. The term is often used to refer to activities with some potential for physical danger, such as skydiving, mountain climbing and or participating in extreme sports...

 through two sides of Spielberg: the dark and the light. He also said the film contained a core sentiment similar to that of Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Melissa Mathison and starring Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, and Peter Coyote...

. About.com
About.com
About.com is an online source for original information and advice. It is written in English, and is aimed primarily at North Americans. It is owned by The New York Times Company....

's Rebecca Murray gave a positive review, stating, "Spielberg almost succeeds in creating the perfect alien movie", with criticism only for the ending. Jonathan Rosenbaum
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Jonathan Rosenbaum is an American film critic. Rosenbaum was the head film critic for the Chicago Reader from 1987 until 2008, when he retired at the age of 65...

 of Chicago Reader praised the special effects and Cruise's performance. Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 criticized the "retro design" and considered that despite the big budget, the alien invasion was "rudimentary" and "not very interesting", regarding the best scenes as Ray walking among the airliner wreckage and a train running in flames, declaring that "such scenes seem to come from a kind of reality different from that of the tripods."

The French film magazine Cahiers du cinéma
Cahiers du cinéma
Cahiers du Cinéma is an influential French film magazine founded in 1951 by André Bazin, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze and Joseph-Marie Lo Duca. It developed from the earlier magazine Revue du Cinéma involving members of two Paris film clubs — Objectif 49 and...

 ranked the film as 8th place in its list of best films of the 2000s.

Awards


War of the Worlds was nominated for three Academy Awards
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing (Andy Nelson
Andy Nelson (sound engineer)
Andy Nelson is an Australian sound engineer. He won an Academy Award for Best Sound and has been nominated for fourteen more in the same category...

, Anna Behlmer
Anna Behlmer
Anna Behlmer is an American sound engineer. She has been nominated for ten Academy Awards in the category Best Sound. She has worked on over 120 films since 1987.-Selected filmography:* Braveheart * Evita * L.A...

 and Ron Judkins
Ron Judkins
Ron Judkins is an American sound engineer. He has won two Academy Awards for Best Sound and has been nominated for another two in the same category...

), and Sound Editing, losing all to King Kong
King Kong (2005 film)
King Kong is a 2005 fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson. It is a remake of the 1933 film of the same name and stars Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody. Andy Serkis, through performance capture, portrays Kong....

. The film was nominated for six Saturn Award
Saturn Award
The Saturn Award is an award presented annually by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films to honor the top works in science fiction, fantasy, and horror in film, television, and home video. The Saturn Awards were devised by Dr. Donald A. Reed in 1972, who felt that films within...

s, and won Best Performance by a Younger Actor
Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor
The following are a list of Saturn Award winners for Best Performance by a Younger Actor:- References :* , Saturn Awards...

 (Dakota Fanning). The film won a Golden Reel Award
Motion Picture Sound Editors
Founded in 1953, Motion Picture Sound Editors is an honorary society of motion picture sound editors. The society's goals are to educate others about and increase the recognition of the sound editors, show the artistic merit of the soundtracks, and improve the professional relationship of its...

 for Sound Effects & Foley, an World Soundtrack Award
World Soundtrack Academy
The World Soundtrack Academy , launched in 2001 by the Flanders International Film Festival Ghent, is aimed at organizing and overseeing the educational, cultural and professional aspects of the art of film music, including the preservation of the history of the soundtrack and its worldwide promotion...

 for Best Original Soundtrack, and three VES Awards for its special effects, and was nominated for three Empire Awards, three Satellite Awards, and an MTV Movie Award. In a less positive light, Cruise's performance was nominated for Worst Actor at the Razzie Awards.

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