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War of the Worlds SE

Ray Ferrier (Cruise) is a divorced man who works in the harbour. When his ex-wife brings his two children, Robbie (Chatwin) and Rachel (Fanning), over for the weekend, he tries to make a bond with them, something that doesn’t succeed all too well. Little after their arrival, a strange storm passes by that turns off all electrical equipment. Even more strange is the fact that lightning apparantly struck constantly at the same spot. Ray decides to check it out but when he gets to the hole in the ground that was created by the storm, things go terribly wrong.

Massive tripod machines appear from under the soil and start destroying everyone and everything nearby and Ray only barely manages to escape. He heads back to his house and together with his children they manage to find a still working car and drive off towards Boston where Ray’s ex has gone. However, their escape brings only short relief as the machines have been appearing all over the world and it quickly becomes clear that earth is being invaded by aliens that won’t allow any humans to survive…

Sound and Vision:
The image is created in a very realistic way but this also means there’s quite a lot of intentional grain that can spoil the fun a bit eventhough the director wanted it to be there. For the rest, there’s absolutely nothing to complain about.

I can describe the soundtrack in one word: fantastic! The DTS track we checked out is very aggressive but still extremely detailed with good positioning of the effects while the dialogues remain nicely in the center. The subwoofer gets a ton of work during the action scenes and all in all we end up with a great atmospherical track that puts you in the middle of it all.

Extras:
– Revisiting The Invasion: Some cast & crew talk about why they wanted to make this movie and where the differences are compared to the one from 1953. Also some behind-the-screens footage is present.
– The H.G. Wells Legacy: some talk about the life of H.G. Wells by relatives and Steven Spielberg
– Characters: The Family Unit: dissection of the main characters from the movie with behind-the-screens footage and interviews with the cast
– Previsualisation: Spielberg explains how the special effects were created in advance on computers. Also the storyboard makers get to have their say
– Production Diaries: East Coast – Beginning: feature on the preparations to making the movie.
– Production Diaries: East Coast – Exile: again a feature on how the movie was made but this time for the exterior scenes.
– Production Diaries: West Coast – Destruction: yet another feature like the previous ones but this time we get to see the scenes that were created in the studios
– Production Diaries: West Coast – War: similar to the previously mentioned features. This time we get the making of the scenes where Cruise’s family gets abducted
– Designing The Enemy: Tripods and Aliens: how the aliens and their machines were created with special effects
– Scoring War Of The Worlds: feature on the sound effects and music
– “We Are Not Alone”: short movie that explains Steven Spielberg’s fascination for aliens

Conclusion:
While the 1953 version of War of the Worlds gives an overall view of the fight of humanity against the aliens, Spielberg’s new version is closer to the book by following one family as they try to escape from the aliens. Still, there are still some things that aren’t the same (the alien machines coming from under the ground) and even some plot twists that are far fetched (aliens have waited for humanity to be able to reach a certain civilization before trying to take over the planet? Why not invade while there’s no intelligent life yet?).

Still, War of the Worlds is an entertaining piece of work and Paramount’s technical department made sure the quality of the DVD is more than worth checking out. The action scenes are perfect if you want to demonstrate your dolby surround system! The extras are a fine addition, especially if you want to know how a movie is made as there’s a ton of info on that available. All in all, War of the Worlds is probably one of the main titles that you’ll want to get for Christmas (if you haven’t got it yet)

Our Score:
8.0

posted in: DVD, Paramount, Reviews
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