War of the Worlds (2005, USA) C-116m. *** D: Steven Spielberg. Starring Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto, Justin Chatwin, Tim Robbins, Rick Gonzalez, Ann Robinson, Gene Barry, narrated by Morgan Freeman. Spielberg's spectacular remake of the 1953 classic puts divorced Cruise and his two children in danger, as alien spaceships appear out of the blue and start destroying and killing. Can Cruise reach his ex-wife in time before everybody and everything is wiped out? Shouldn't be seen as serious sci-fi, it's a popcorn movie with stunning effects and excellent direction. Spielberg keeps the camera moving, uses effective editing and a dramatic score (by John Williams). It's his shortest feature in over twenty years. Based on the novel by H.G. Wells.

© Ron Altman