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Posted at 1:16 PM ET, 06/28/2005

'War of the Worlds' By the Numbers

By Jen Chaney

Instead of reviewing "War of the Worlds," which I saw last night at the Uptown, I've decided to provide readers with what they really want: a breakdown of the movie by the numbers. If you want to read full reviews that analyze all the 9/11 references and proclaim this film "the dark, dichotomous complement to 'E.T.,'" wait a few more hours. They will no doubt be all over the Internet by midnight tonight.

In the meantime, here's my list. Feel free to bring it with you to the theater to see if your count differs from mine.

Number of Times My Seat Vibrated Because of the Eardrum-blasting Sound: At least five.

Times I Thought to Myself, "Man, Dakota Fanning really looks like Drew Barrymore in 'E.T.'": Six.

Piercing Shrieks Emitted by Miss Fanning: Approximately 118.

Scenes in Which a Spielbergian, Otherworldly Light Streams in Through a Window: Too many to count.

Action Sequences That Will Remind Audiences of "Titanic": One.

Audible Gasps From the Audience: Four.

Moments When I Looked at Tom Cruise and Couldn't Help but Think of His Rant Against Matt Lauer, Comments About Brooke Shields or Couch-hopping Love for Katie Holmes: Virtually none. Once the movie started, I cared more about the aliens than Cruise's take on the history of psychiatry.

Moments When Spielberg Succumbs to Sentimentality and Almost Ruins the Movie: One.

Number of Times I'll Recommend This Movie to Friends (With a Few Caveats): At least 20.

-- Jen

By Jen Chaney  | June 28, 2005; 1:16 PM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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I was very disappointed. Who wants to watch a movie about a divorced dad running from aliens with two annoying, verbally abusive, disrespectful children? Tom Cruise's performance was excellent, as was that of Tim Robbins, but a summer fun movie? Uh-uh. Can't recommend it to anyone. Spielberg bombed

Posted by: Linus Downes | June 30, 2005 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Linus's idea of a summer-fun movie must be The English Patient. I'll take Sack Lunch anytime.

Posted by: jw | July 1, 2005 8:44 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: adf | July 1, 2005 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I got from this movie that you don't go to war without enough of your own supplies and most importantly foresight(somebody must of had a budget cut...or something)

Posted by: Jerry | July 2, 2005 12:45 AM | Report abuse

I was so hyped about seeing this movie. I mean, come on, Spielberg and Cruise, how could you go wrong!? What a HUGE disappoinment!!!! If I knew how to contact Spielberg in person I would ask for my money back!!! It looked like he copied from about 5 other alien/suspense movies from the past. The editing was choppy and Cruise was coasting. I am so bummed, especially since I literally had to drag my husband to the theatre withe promises of a great suspense thriller. My recommmendation; don't waste your time or money.

Posted by: Bobbi | July 3, 2005 12:21 AM | Report abuse

I was disappointed too. The special effects were good, but the story was pretty lame. And full of convenient loopholes too. i can't say that I'd reccommend this movie.

Posted by: Mary | July 3, 2005 2:03 AM | Report abuse

I totally agree with the last couple comments, especially. I mean, parts were exciting enough and of course, special effects were cool, Tom Cruise was good (regardless of his personal odd Scientology - based ideas), but...overall not anything like one would come to expect from Spielberg. Compare this to his other work - we are talking lame. Yeah, not everything has to be art, and it IS just a summer blockbuster to garner big bucks, sure - but, come ON - how could Tim Robbins agree to such a mess (literally and figuratively)? Luckily for Morgan Freeman, he just did a voiceover. Man, I was disappointed. (As were most of the ladies in the restroom last night afterwards!! - about ALL of our opinions were exactly the same, and we couldn't believe the silliness and the fact we'd paid so much to see the dang thing.)

Posted by: lissafaith | July 3, 2005 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Very disappointed in this movie. The unheralded co-star of the picture was the boom mic. It seemed to be in every shot. In the first scene it appeared I thought it was a minor mistake, but it became laughable how many times it dropped into the shot. It was so distracting that the viewers were outwardly laughing during emotional or pivotal points of the movie. When I left the theater, I thought the boom mic should have gotten a co-star credit. At one point, in the basement scene, the mic almost hits Tim Robbins in the head. Cinematography was shoty at best, with the footage fluctuating between full screen and a 3/4 screen with a black bar along the top of the shot. Spielberg missed the boat on this one. You don't expect rookie mistakes on a nearly $200 M film. If you want a good laugh check it out.

Posted by: Charlie | July 3, 2005 9:39 AM | Report abuse

What a shame that so many people feel compelled to complain about "War of the Worlds". What part of 'a willful suspension of disbelief' did you miss in your basic cinema classes?
The story line wasn't what the movie was about. It was about intensity of a situation where there is a total lack of ability to control your environment.
I've been fascinated with this story since I was pretty small - I must've read the radio script two dozen times - and this remake is faithful to the original story by H.G. Wells. I recommend it. It was great fun.

Posted by: Michael Moore | July 5, 2005 11:47 AM | Report abuse

What a ridiculous movie!! I, too, convinced my spouse to check it out in spite of very mixed reviews. (** from Roger Ebert should have cautioned us to wait for the home version). The film was sloppy, boring and filled with what I call "cringe-factors" where the acting or plot is embarrassingly lacking. I can't believe this is a Spielberg picture. How about a refund????

Posted by: SHONDA | July 6, 2005 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Big expectations and major disappointment in
Spielberg's sloppiness. I cannot believe the mistakes. The really annoying one for me was when Ray turns on the radio and it is an EBS test instead of the real EBS alert. A lot of gaps in the movie for me leaving me scratching my head. Dakota Fanning screams great for a ten year old, though.

Posted by: papple | July 8, 2005 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I just watched the movie and I'm left dumbstruck! I'm a big fan of the book and first movie and to it's credit Spielberg does create the sense that all is lost and there is no hope. But I left the movie wondering what the significance of the boom mic was and nothing else.
Does anyone have a clue as to what was up with the boom mic and the bad camera work? Was he trying set a mood in the audience or trying to insult us?

Posted by: Don | September 14, 2005 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Well, I have to say that this was a Tom Cruise vechile just like Mission Impossible and I have got to give him Kudos for walking from NY to Boston, leave it to our Tom :). As for Steven Speilberg, this was his worst effort to date, what a dissapointment, loved the special effects but the storyline, how improbable was that. He would have been better off to have stuck with the orginal storyline, of course I personally would have changed the ended, hard to imagine a superior being not taking air and water samples to verify the bugs which might effect its existence on earth. Steven, ET and Close Encounters are in a different league to this offering...very dissapointed...and I must add that my intelligence was somewhat insulted. Tom should make his next film be Supercruise, he is a one man superego hero after all!

Posted by: Isaac | December 22, 2005 11:54 AM | Report abuse

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