Humanity spent a long time wondering whether we’re alone in the universe, with scientists providing us with various theories on extraterrestrial life. But do we really want to want extraterrestrial life? What would happen if it found us first? Well, there’s really no shortage of alien-invasion movies, but there are a few releases that stand out among a pretty populated genre. Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, starring Tom Cruise, is one such release, and it’s currently available to stream on Netflix.
War of the Worlds was released in 2005 as an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ timeless 1898 classic of the same name. Unlike other adaptations, Spielberg’s rendition breathes fresh life into the classic, placing its narrative into contemporary America and painting the protagonist—portrayed by Tom Cruise—as a divorced working-class father trying to connect with his children.
However, after his former wife dropped off the kids at his place, a strange thunderstorm caused an EMP (electromagnetic pulse), which knocked out all electronic devices, hindering the infrastructure.
On his way to investigate what appears to be a lightning impact site, the protagonist, Ray Ferrier, witnesses a massive tripod war machine emerging from the ground using energy weapons to destroy the area and disintegrate many of the witnesses into gray ash.
Apparently, these alien invaders have an agenda: the complete annihilation of humanity, followed by resource harvesting. Ferrier’s journey now becomes a story of survival as he and his family navigate the landscape in the wake of chaos and destruction caused by the alien invaders and their onslaught.
Unlike other adaptations, Spielberg’s rendition breathes fresh life into the classic, placing its narrative into contemporary America and painting the protagonists—portrayed by Tom Cruise—as a divorced working-class father trying to connect with his children.
For those that aren’t familiar with the cinematic adaptation starring Tom Cruise, he faithfully adapted the ending of The War of the Worlds novel and introduced a very plausible outcome to the unlikely event of alien invasion.
We won’t spoil the ending for those who never had the opportunity to read the novel or watch any of its numerous adaptations. However, we’ll say that it’s a rather unexpected plot twist that doesn’t involve heroic self-sacrifices or laptops that are strong enough to take down a whole alien mothership.
Tom Cruise And Steven Spielberg Have A Falling Out?
War of the Worlds stands as a testament to the combined talents of Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg. It wasn’t their first collaboration, as the two previously worked together on 2002’s Minority Report, but the massively successful War of the Worlds turned out to be their final collaboration, at least thus far.
Tensions escalated during the press tour for the movie when Tom Cruise made headlines following a series of incidents and heated debates on psychiatry and the use of prescription medicine.
Such controversies likely didn’t sit well with Spielberg, and he wasn’t pleased with the fact that the promotion of the film was turned into discussions about Cruise and Scientology. While there were reports of a rift between Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg due to said controversies, it’s also important to note that such reports were based on unverified insider sources and speculation. Both Spielberg and Cruise spoke highly of each other’s talents and haven’t publicly belittled one another.
Regardless of the controversies, War of the Worlds became a massive success, earning more than $600 million on a $132 million budget—but then again, with Spielberg’s directorial prowess and Tom Cruise’s starring in the film, the commercial success of War of the Worlds hardly came as a surprise to anyone.
The movie was praised for its fantastic visuals, intense storytelling, and impeccable performances by its cast—especially Cruise’s portrayal of a flawed but deeply human character who reflects humanity’s resilience in the face of otherworldly enemies.
War of the Worlds became a massive success, earning more than $600 million on a $132 million budget
War of the Worlds wasn’t immune to criticism either, and many found the ending to be too abrupt, feeling that it didn’t live up to the otherwise thrilling build-up. Other critics thought that the movie took certain liberties with the source material, making changes that didn’t quite resonate well.
Whatever the case may be, War of the Worlds rates “Certified Fresh” on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, and that says something about its quality. Perhaps it could’ve been even more successful were it not for all the controversies surrounding Tom Cruise.
For anyone interested, War of the Worlds, starring Tom Cruise, is available for streaming on Netflix.