War of the Worlds 2005

Critics score:
74 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: It is nerve-wracking and gripping and draws specific parallels, both dramatically and visually, to 9/11, but never in a way that seems anything but natural. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Steven Spielberg returns to the scary territory of Jaws and Jurassic Park and once again proves himself to be the most gifted movie entertainer of his generation. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: A first-class pop entertainment packed to the brim with astounding effects and near-non-stop action and suspense. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: Spielberg's calculations turn out to be more prominent than any effects they could possibly produce, and the less pretentious 1953 version by producer George Pal emerges as more likable. Read more

Tom Keogh, Seattle Times: An important film. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: [B]y far the biggest, loudest and most elaborate adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic. Read more

Bob Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: When it's in full throttle, there's not been and probably won't be a better action movie out there this summer. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: There likely won't be a more gripping film this year than Spielberg's War Of The Worlds, which at its best glides along like choreography with a camera, slowly parsing out information while shrouding the rest in shadow and suggestion. Read more

Bill Muller, Arizona Republic: Drawbacks aside, with War of the Worlds, Hollywood is calling on Spielberg to deliver this summer's blockbuster, and he accomplishes the task. The movie is solid all the way around, and Spielberg's touches are everywhere. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: War of the Worlds pushes some of the right buttons and enough of the wrong ones to make you wish that Spielberg would move on from aliens already and use his unparalleled talents to focus once more on earth. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: With War of the Worlds [Spielberg] has made what is arguably one of the best 1950s science fiction films ever. Read more

Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle: We knew Spielberg had action chops, but didn't know he had this in him. This anti-E.T. is so rigorously realized it makes Independence Day look like Finding Neverland. Read more

Paul Clinton (CNN.com), CNN.com: War of the Worlds can be a nightmarish trip, but it's a terrific film, a blockbuster that lives up to its billing. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Wow, indeed. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: War of the Worlds is an attack-of-the-aliens disaster film crafted with sinister technological grandeur -- a true popcorn apocalypse. Read more

Philip Wuntch, Dallas Morning News: Steven Spielberg's meticulous, thrilling and chilling War of the Worlds is a testimony to tension. Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: The imagery is startling not just for its symbolic resonances, but for the breathless intensity with which it sears the screen. Read more

Jan Stuart, Newsday: War of the Worlds reinvigorates the pulse-racing thrill and unalloyed paranoia of vintage '50s sci-fi. Read more

Ken Tucker, New York Magazine/Vulture: Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds is huge and scary, moving and funny-another capper to a career that seems like an unending succession of captivations. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Its exploitation of tragic iconography -- just to amp up the screams, tug some tears and sell a few more million movie tickets -- should be deplored. Read more

Jami Bernard, New York Daily News: The movie is no fun. There's none of the spirited adrenaline you expect from a bang-up blockbuster. I've docked it a star or so because it is nasty and mean-spirited, and plays on shocking allusions to 9/11 imagery. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: Steven Spielberg's reasonably entertaining rendering of the 1898 H. G. Wells novel is an elemental story of predator and prey. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: Overall, the film is too lacking in feeling to provide a recognizably human experience. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: Spielberg is pretty much incapable of making a terrible movie anymore. But he has plainly forgotten a lot of what makes a good popcorn movie since his Jurassic period. Where's the fun? Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: War of the Worlds may not stand up well to careful inspection and it may not be the smartest science fiction film brought to the screen, but it is an intense, visceral experience. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: War of the Worlds is a big, clunky movie containing some sensational sights but lacking the zest and joyous energy we expect from Steven Spielberg. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com: Extravagant in movie terms but stingy in emotional ones, it embodies all of Spielberg's bad impulses and almost none of his good ones. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Meticulously detailed and expertly paced and photographed, with sights so spectacular and terrible that viewers will have to consciously remind themselves to close their mouths when their jaws drop open. Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: It's the human struggle that makes this a sci-fi masterpiece. Read more

Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Spielberg seems to have resigned himself to the fact that he'll never match the impact of the radio show, but he's making no bones about going after that FX Oscar. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: It's a thrilling ride...[but] this bountiful pot of signifiers leaves a caustic aftertaste. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: This is B-movie material all the way, yet it's not only watchable, it's engrossing. That's because the material is in the hands of an A-talent director, who knows, as few of his contemporaries do, how to manipulate the plastic qualities of a film. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: In terms of sheer spectacle alone, War of the Worlds is a winner. If this movie doesn't help stop or turn around the box-office slide of the past few months, then Hollywood really is in big trouble. Read more

Jessica Winter, Time Out: The film succeeds as pure sensation, an exacting distillation of fear. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: When it comes to searing and iconic visual imagery, Spielberg is still the best filmmaker around. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: A gritty, intense and supremely accomplished sci-fier about some distinctly unbenign alien invaders. Read more

Michael Atkinson, Village Voice: It's a rare thing -- a summer movie that demands to be taken as a serious emotional experience. Read more

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post: Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds is a close encounter of the blurred kind, an orchestration of chaos and panic and destruction as visceral as it can get. Read more

Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post: War of the Worlds is taut, gripping and surprisingly dark filmmaking. Read more