RANKED: Steven Spielberg (#9 — War of the Worlds)

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Chris Luckett


Release Date: June 29, 2005

Chronology: Twelve months after The Terminal and six months before Munich

Box Office: $234 million ($284 million, adjusted for inflation)

Oscars: 3 nominations, 0 wins

Premise: A remake of the 1953 alien invasion classic, Tom Cruise stars as Ray, a barely-there father who, while watching his kids one weekend, finds his family in the middle of an alien attack and slaughter

Over two hours?: Not quite

John Williams Score?: Yes

Father Issues?: Yes, Ray is a pretty lousy father who constantly has to struggle to not think just of himself

War?: See title

Aliens?: More than in any other Spielberg movie

Special Appearances: Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto, Tim Robbins, Amy Ryan, Morgan Freeman, and Channing Tatum

Fun Fact: Spielberg originally intended to make War of the Worlds directly after Jurassic Park, but postponed plans after he got word through Jeff Goldblum of Independence Day

Best Line: “Think about it… They defeated the greatest power in the world in a couple days. They walked right over us. And they’ll keep coming. This is not a war, any more than there’s a war between men and maggots. This is an extermination.”

Best Scene: 

Verdict: Spielberg follows one spectacular action sequence after another after another. (The only movie of his that does it better is Raiders of the Lost Ark.) Many of the plot elements and action scenes are updates from Jurassic Park, but the movie’s gripping enough that it doesn’t matter. While the ending still arrives abruptly, everything else about the movie is nearly perfection, from the impressive visual effects and action to the underlying 9/11 allegories and the pervasive sense of confusion and dread throughout.

Rating: 5 stars / 5