War of the Worlds

[Amazon Link] [4.0 stars] [IMDb Link]

We haven't been seeing many summer blockbusters this season; this is only the second.

The special effects are unsurprisingly awesome. And they don't get very cute with H. G. Wells' original story. Details differ: it's modern-day of course, and Mars isn't explicitly named as the source of the invasion. But (minor spoiler) the aliens are finally laid low by microbes, not by resourceful humans.

Tom Cruise plays a divorced working-class guy with a surly son who doesn't like him much and a precocious but troubled daughter. Apparently the custody agreement says the kids are to visit him on alien-landing weekends. This whole dysfunctional family plot gets stapled onto the invasion plot; the result is kind of clunky, but the movie moves too fast to really notice. Similarly, Cruise spends most of the movie trying to get to Boston, where his ex-wife is. Exactly why he thinks that's a good idea is never quite explained, other than it makes the movie happen.

Last Modified 2012-10-26 10:34 AM EST