War of the Worlds is a 2005 science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Indiana Jones franchise, Saving Private Ryan, Ready Player One, & Jurassic Park 1/2). It’s loosely based on the 1898 novel by H. G. Wells. It was written by David Koepp (Toy Soldiers, Death Becomes Her, Jurassic Park, Carlito’s Way, & Spider-Man) & Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Chain Reaction, Snowpiercer, & Emerald City). It was produced by Kathleen Kennedy (Gremlins 1/2, The Goonies, Back to the Future franchise, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, & Cape Fear) & Colin Wilson (Jurassic Park franchise, Suicide Squad, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, & The Mandalorian). The budget was $132 million & it grossed $603.9 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
Divorced longshoreman Ray Ferrier (played by: Tom Cruise from the Mission Impossible franchise, Days of Thunder, Interview with the Vampire, Magnolia, Top Gun, & Collateral) works at a dock in Brooklyn, he is estranged from his children: 10-year-old daughter Rachel (played by: Dakota Fanning from Man on Fire, The Alienist, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, & The Runaways) & teenage son Robbie (played by: Justin Chatwin from Shameless, Dragonball Evolution, American Gothic, & Taking Lives). Ray’s pregnant ex-wife Mary Ann (played by: Miranda Otto from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, 24: Legacy, Annabelle: Creation, & Homeland), drops them off at his house in New Jersey, on her way to visit her parents in Boston. Later, a strange storm occurs during which technology stops working & lightning strikes multiple times into the middle of a local intersection which disrupts all electricity. A “massive “tripod” war machine emerges from the ground & uses powerful energy weapons to destroy the area, It turns most of the witnesses into a grey dust. Ray collects his children & steals a van to drive to Mary Ann’s empty home in suburban New Jersey to take refuge. The family goes through hell trying to reconnect with Mary Anne not knowing if she’s alive or not. Humans turning against each other. Aliens killing everyone in sight. Robbie decides to leave the group & join the fight against their attackers. They are offered shelter in a farmhouse basement by a deranged man named Harlan Ogilvy (played by: Tim Robbins from Jacob’s Ladder, Top Gun, Mystic River, The Shawshank Redemption, & The Hudsucker Proxy). Everything seems normal at first until the stranger starts to lose it. Ray must defend his daughter against this psycho & the aliens now. Will they find Robbie & Mary Anne? Can they survive all this chaos????
I wasn’t really impressed with War of the Worlds when it was first released in theaters. I do think it’s a little better now but my opinion hasn’t changed much on it. You would think the legendary combination of Steven Spielberg & Tom Cruise would end up amazing but unfortunately War of the Worlds is not consistent at all. The visual & special fx are top notch here, the whole look of the film is amazing. At the beginning, it’s loaded with action. Lots of people getting destroyed & no one trusts each other during this madness. Tom Cruise & Justin Chatwin are solid as the leads. Dakota Fanning is hit or miss as an actor. She was one of the better child performers at the time but she could super annoying & whiny with her roles. The script starts out very strong, it’s full of action & non stop chaos then it kinda goes no where after all of that. Once the family splits up & starts hiding it gets really boring. I will say one of the best characters & performances belongs to Tim Robbins during that section but he’s the only thing that somewhat saves it. Don’t get me wrong, this is a solid film but I always feel disappointed after viewing it. Considering the crazy times we are going through now minus the aliens, lots of people can relate to a end of the world scenario, This brand new 4K transfer looks stunning, if you are huge Spielberg or Cruise fan it’s definitely worth checking out.
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Paramount Pictures for this 15th anniversary release! This 2160p (1.78:1) transfer with Dolby Vision & HDR10 looks fantastic. It’s the best War of the Worlds has ever looked on anything. The last version I own to compare it to is the DVD which this 4K blows out of the water when it comes to quality. The visual & special fx shine in this format. This UHD proves more back catalog films deserve this treatment in the future. This disc is loaded with large amount of audio options which includes English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1, German: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese: Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish: Dolby Digital 2.0, Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1, & Thai: Dolby Digital 5.1 on this UHD. The audio here is top notch & the best sounding out of the recent Tom Cruise 4K batch from Paramount. The first half hits hard with all it’s explosions & action. All of the dialogue is crystal clear & the music has a killer boost to it. It also has massive variety of subtitles which includes English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Swedish, & Thai. Paramount proves once they are the best when it comes to technical aspects for home video!!!!
Let’s discuss the special features from Paramount Pictures! There’s no extras on the UHD, it’s all located on the blu ray disc. There’s no new bonus material on this blu ray but it includes all the previous extras from the other releases which were loaded as you can see. “Revisiting the Invasion” is a little over 7 minutes. “The H.G. Wells Legacy” is a little over 6 minutes. “Steven Spielberg and the Original War of the Worlds” is 8 minutes. “Characters: The Family Unit” is a little over 13 minutes, “Previsualization” is almost 8 minutes. The almost an hour plus 5 minute “Production Diaries” is broken down into 4 different segments which includes East Coast — Beginning, East Coast — Exile, West Coast — Destruction, & West Coast — War. “Designing the Enemy: Tripods and Aliens” is a little over 14 minutes. “Scoring War of the Worlds” is almost 12 minutes. “We Are Not Alone” is a little over 3 minutes. 4 different “Galleries” which includes Sketches by Costume Designer Joanna Johnston, Production Stills, Behind the Scenes, & Production Sketches. Last but not least, “Theatrical Teaser Trailer”. There’s so much bonus material on this disc & it basically covers every possible aspect from the production. It’s full of information & stories. It has interviews with director Steven Spielberg, actors Tom Cruise, Justin Chatwin, Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto, & various members of the crew. It also includes a slipcover, a digital code, & a blu ray copy of the release. It’s available everywhere right now!!!!