Box art for War Of The Worlds

War Of The Worlds

As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
0 out of 5
5 out of 5

Alien invasion thriller too scary for young kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie features repeated violence by frightening, spider-legged and penetrative machines, in particular directed against a 10-year-old girl. Her high-pitched screams and tears might alarm younger viewers. The aliens blow up streets, buildings, and cars, explode or zap some humans into dust, and literally suck the blood out of others (this last occurs in long shot, but it's clear what's going on). In one scary scene, a mob of humans attack Ray and his kids in their car (again, the girl's reaction is disquieting). The movie also includes some harsh language, tense scenes between Ray and his son, and Ray and his ex-wife, and Ray commits what he sees as a necessary murder off-screen.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the conflict between Ray and his teenaged son, which ignites several arguments: the boy doesn't trust his emotionally distant father, and resents his seeming selfishness in trying to save the family only and not seeking revenge against the aliens. This raises another issue, as the film's images of invasion allude to 9/11, as well as subsequent fears. How does the movie compare Ray's reaction to that of a survivalist holed up in his basement? How does Ray learn to be a more committed father by paying attention to his kids? How does the film marginalize the kids' mother, and to what effects for viewers?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 30
    see all War Of The Worlds reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Overall, the film is too lacking in feeling to provide a recognizably human experience.

- Andrew Sarris, New York Observer, Thursday, July 14, 2005


- Bob Mondello,, Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rotten: This is Spielberg at his unabashedly commercial worst %u2014 bland, unimaginative, and more interested in his bang than his brain.

- Brandon Fibbs,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

This contemporary update of War of the Worlds is a lot better than most people say it is. 2/3 of the movie is some of the most atmospheric,suspenseful, and intense stuff that Spielberg has made in quite a long time. The problems come during the final 40 or so minutes. The movie does such an excellent and effective job of channeling 9/11 and War on Terror fears, paranoia, and anxiety, and then remembers that it's supposed to be a summer action blockbuster and jarringly becomes a cliched actioner with a schmaltzy and sentimental ending typical of almost all of Spielberg's work. Seeing as how much and love and respect the man, I can't bring myself to hate on him too much for this, but thankfully what is done right still manages to save the movie from totally sucking. With Munich Spielberg (for once) made a movie that was completely adult and serious, and avoided sentimentality-and that movie was absolutely brilliant. This came so damn close to reaching that same level, and was so close to being a masterpiece....and I don't know why it was deemed necessary to not stick with it. I only just realized that this came out a bit before Munich, but still.... Anyways, this film does feature some spectacular moments..especially the action scenes. That I used to own a van that looked 99.9% just like the one Cruise drives around in makes me like this movie in spite of it's faults. The acting is better than average, and the camera work is top notch. Give this one a chance. It's really good, which normally is fine, but it should have been excellent.

- cosmo313, Monday, January 21, 2013

4 stars

img]] Wow, if there is one director who can deliver an epic scale popcorn movie. It's Spielberg. I think he is consistently at his best when he's delivering us these massive, overwhelming blockbusters that genuinely display his intricate skill for the camerawork, lighting and atmospherics, simply the best of Hollywood film making. I believe his adaptation of H.G Well's deeply profound novel is one of the most under rated film's of the 2000's. I dont really need to point out that this version changes a lot from it's source material. But I think that "War" is a partly unfilmable book. In my opinion, the real genius in what made the book work in literal terms cannot be faithfully replicated onto the screen. There's a whole lot of underlying politics in the paranoid obsessive book. But there's an incredible amount of awe inspiring spectacle that touches your imagination too. In the film there's a lot of the monumentally captivating flare and a little bit of the deeper meanings, the thing that's made fans of the novel rant on how much they hate this film is the change in setting, among countless other things. For film fans it's dismissed for the apparant "cop out" ending. But that's how it's supposed to end. For cinema, that ending for a lot of people doesn't work but the focus on action doesn't work for hardcore fanatics of the source. Now personally, I saw some real darkness in that ending, resultingly, Spielberg delivered a solid, action packed, light hearted popcorn flick but also stayed faithful to the novel in some fashion. He successfully positioned this disaster epic on the fine line of appreciating the complexities of the novel but also gave us a return to sci fi- horror B movie form. For that, hats off to him and his writers. Terrfying aliens, an under stated performance by lead Tom Cruise who is as engaging as ever, a good script, it's cut to the chase, easy well polished fun. Putting the annoying Hollywood cliches and moments of poor storytelling aside, I am a proud fan of the new War of the Worlds.

- aquateen2, Friday, November 30, 2012

3 stars

Sci-fi movie about an alien invasion. Tom has to protect his estranged kids.

- thmtsang, Saturday, March 24, 2012