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</script></div>{/googleAds}It's no secret on this site, or to anyone who knows me, that I'm a huge Spielberg fan. Steven's vision of the spindly alien coming out of the mothership at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind was my first cinematic memory, and one that has stayed with me for all of my adult life. You may be thinking that I am completely biased towards Spielberg's films, and you'd probably be right. But it also means that I hold him to a higher standard than I do most others. Steven has the tools, and I expect him to deliver... especially when you're talking about a science fiction film. Did he meet my expectations on this one? No...

...he exceeded them.

War of the Worlds is a film that will deliver a â"gut-punch" to your midsection. You think you know what you're in for when the lights go down? You may or may not. One thing's for sure: it's emotional and it's exciting. But did I mention scary, relevant, and ominous? This is not a happy-go-lucky â"ID4-style" invasion flick. It's fun yes, but it's also sobering and emotionally meaningful. Some of the imagery in this film will haunt you for weeks. Half way through the film I started to ask myself: â"My God, could this really happen and is this what it would be like?" You will too.

The story is simple: Ray Ferrier (Cruise) is a deadbeat, a bit of a slob, and no-good-at-all at being a father. He's selfish and arrogant and you get the sense that his wife (Otto) had really good sense when she left him. He is charged with taking care of his kids for a couple of days while his ex-wife and new husband visit the in-laws... only to discover that this is the weekend that the world is going to end.

The potential end of the world comes courtesy of some spectacularly nasty (and wonderfully realized) aliens that are hell-bent on the destruction of mankind. The brilliant thing about this scenario is that Spielberg and writer David Koepp never let us in on why the aliens are attacking. They simply are here to wipe us off the map like bugs on the windshield. All Ray and his kids can do is just try and survive.

The special effects are on par with what you expect from Spielberg, but far above what most are delivering these days. These are photo-realistic invaders that you won't have any trouble suspending disbelief for. In fact, it might have eased the tension a bit if you could have spotted the digital seams. But you can't. Once Ray finds himself in the basement with his daughter and a creepily effective Tim Robbins, all you can do is hold that theater seat tight and hope they (you?) get out alive.

War of the Worlds has everything you would expect or want in a summer blockbuster. Despite what some may tell you about the ending, I believe it is true to the spirit of this film and an ending that is truly earned. Spielberg has delivered a summer blockbuster that brings back all of the great things we originally loved about summer blockbusters. We connect with the people, cringe from the alien attackers, and leave the theater picking the spilled popcorn off our shirts.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1; Full Screen 1.33:1

Subtitles: English, Spanish, French; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: DTS 5.1 Surround; English: Dolby Digital 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo; French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; featurettes; director's commentary; cast and crew information.

* Introducton: Revisiting the Invasion - by Steven Spielberg
* Commentary: With Steven Spielberg and tom Cruise
* Featurettes:
o Pre-visualization - Explores the artistry and imagination behind the film's spectacular action sequences.
o Designing the Enemy - Look sat the tripods and laiens in the film.
o War Chronicles - On-set production diaries
o The H.G. Wells Legacy
o Spielberg and the original War of the Worlds.
o Characters: The Family Unit
o Production Diaries - East Coast- Beginning; East Coast - Exile; West Coast - Destruction; West Coast - War
o Scoring War of the Worlds
* Cast and Crew Information:
* Interviews: With Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise

Number of discs: - 2 - Snapcase packaging.