War Of The Worlds, the new Steven Spielberg film, is simply beautiful to watch. Aside from my obvious bias towards Star Wars, I believe Worlds to be the 2nd best movie of the summer (so far). Tom Cruise's performance is terrific, and proves that he truly can act when paired with a director of Spielberg's prestige.
The movie itself is so exhilarating that I often welcomed the more "slower" parts of the movie so my heartbeat could slow down. I found my mouth hanging open several times, or my hand over my mouth as to keep in some great gasp from escaping. My breath was just taken away. Dakota Fanning, who plays Cruise's daughter in the film, also performs amazingly - proving that child actors/actresses do have some potential and purpose in the film business.
The story, isn't a new one - in fact it's been the blueprint for several "Invader-esque" movies and shows like V or Independence Day. To give you a basic introduction, aliens have been watching us for a millennia. They've watched long enough, and have decided to attack and take the planet for themselves. As they visitors attack and attempt to exterminate the inhabitants of earth, panic ensues. The story revolves around Ray Ferrier, who desperately travels with his two children to Boston in search of his ex-wife and their mother.
The special effects are stunning - and honestly there are times when you just accept what you're seeing as real. The carnage and destruction looks so life like - and I can't imagine the amount of time it took to build sets and miniatures to look as detailed as that. There are parts of the film that were shot in Rockbridge Co., Virginia - which is very near and dear to me, as I've spent several weekends there at Young Life camp. You can immediately recognize Rockbridge on the big screen, with big sweeping green hills and large white buildings.
Overall, the film is a testament to Spielberg's long and illustrious career, and proves a faithful adaption of a beloved classic that has pretty much inspired all of the science-fiction films we watch today.