War of the Worlds ★★½

With minimal amount of plot on paper, excess reliance on CGI for its moments of action & severe lack of character depth, Steven Spielberg's adaptation of H.G. Well's classic novel does feature the trademarks usually found in his adventure films, including the attempt for larger-than-life spectacle yet no amount of visually striking images can make up for the poor storytelling that's on display here.

Based on H.G. Wells' novel of the same name, War of the Worlds tells the story of a broken family that finds itself caught in a major catastrophe when the entire planet is invaded by aliens who come out of the ground in their tripods, unleash carnage on human population & effortlessly defeat the armed forces. The plot concerns Ray Ferrier; a divorced father who tries to protect his children under all circumstances.

Co-written by David Koepp & directed by Steven Spielberg, War of the Worlds is part horror, part disaster, part sci-fi & part-thriller that had the potential to be a really good example of its genre(s) since the set up in the first half illustrates the best of Spielberg's talents but the moment the stage is set, everything only goes downstream from there and its ending is one hell of an bummer that's sure to leave most frustrated than satisfied.

Production design team does put up some really impressive sets on screen, Camerawork is brilliantly carried out for the most part, Visual effects are the film's main highlight & scenes of destruction are a delight to look at, Editing paces the narrative expertly for a while only to screw up later, Sound is neatly executed, and the music department is handled by John Williams but his score in this feature is quite forgettable.

Coming to the performances, the cast comprises of Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto, Justin Chatwin & Tim Robbins, and while Cruise is committed to his role, no one else seems to be. Fanning still does a pretty good job, Otto is rarely present, Chatwin is nothing special & all Robbins does is ham like crazy. And we also have Morgan Freeman in the role of the film's narrator because when he speaks, everyone listens n admires.

On an overall scale, War of the Worlds spends far too less time on its story & characters, is more concerned with big-screen spectacle elements, and fails to hold the viewers' interest till the very end. Still, it does make up for an enjoyable one-time watch that thrills in bits n pieces and even though its ending sort of makes much sense & can be appreciated for its unconventionality, it's also everything a climax in any motion picture isn't supposed to be: an anticlimax.