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War of the worlds (Out of the night) - Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins, Steven Spielberg

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

They're already here.

A contemporary retelling of HG Wells's seminal classic. Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise), is a divorced dockworker and less-than-perfect father. Soon after his ex-wife (Miranda Otto) and her new husband drop off his teenage son Robbie (Justin Chatwin) and young daughter Rachel (Dakota Fanning) for a rare weekend visit, a strange and powerful lightning storm touches down. Moments later, at an intersection near his house, Ray witnesses an extraordinary event that will change all their lives forever. A towering three-legged war machine emerges from deep beneath the earth and incinerates everything in sight.

An ordinary day has suddenly become the most extraordinary event of their lifetimes - the first strike in a catastrophic alien attack on Earth. Ray scrambles to get his children away from this merciless new enemy, embarking on a journey that will take them across the ravaged countryside, where they become caught in the desperate tide of refugees fleeing from an extraterrestrial army of Tripods. But no matter where they run, there is no safety, no refuge - only Ray's unconquerable will to protect those he loves.

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film science fiction action adventure war Martian invasion Earth HG Wells tripod Mars

Persons of interest

  • Tom Cruise .... Ray Ferrier
  • Dakota Fanning .... Rachel Ferrier
  • Tim Robbins .... Ogilvy
  • Miranda Otto .... Mary Ann Ferrier
  • Justin Chatwin .... Robbie Ferrier
  • David Alan Basche .... Tim
  • James DuMont
  • Yul Vazquez .... Julio
  • HG Wells .... Author
  • David Koepp .... Screenwriter
  • Steven Spielberg .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

So, excusing the fact that this version of War of the worlds stars Tom Cruise (and aren't we glad that he didn't get it on with his leading lady for this movie) - who makes a good action movie hero, even when he's not in a movie - I enjoyed it a lot.

The special effects score a perfect 10 out of 10. The blending with live action is seamless. The design is... out of this world. The execution is perfect. You won't know what is a set, what is an effect and what is a location being blown to bits. This is the way it should be.

The family stuff is trite, having gone past cliché and all the way into stereotype. Bad father? Re-married mother? Pathological son? Psycho-analysed daughter? Puh-lease.

The thrilling stuff is surprisingly scary. When I left the cinema everything around me looked weird: trees, lights, traffic... it was as though there had been an invasion and the red weed had taken over. It was spooky. Riding my bicycle home through Moore Park at night I almost felt a frisson - and I'm on medication!

My one quibble is this: Why did the Martians turn their force fields off when they were dying, just in time for the army to kill them? Dramatically good, logically bad.

Still, War of the worlds is a really good science fiction thriller action movie that makes you wonder how you would behave if it really happened. (I'd be down the corner shop with a trolley stocking up on packaged goods before you can say, "What the...?"

Security censorship classification

M (Moderate violence)

Surveillance time

116 minutes (1:56 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 29 June 2005
DVD rental: 17 November 2005
VHS rental: 17 November 2005

Cinema surveillance images

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