H.G. Wells' book, The War of the Worlds, was an indictment of European colonialism. But throw that off your mind when you go watch Steven Spielberg's latest CG-fest because it has almost nothing to do with the book.
The movie, unlike the book, which is set in London in the 1800s, is set in the post-9/11 world of New York. Tom Cruise plays the misunderstood deadbeat dad with a heart of gold whose wife has dumped him for a rich guy. His two children, a stereotypical whiny teenager and a little girl who has an affinity for screaming, come to spend a weekend with their father, whose relationship with his children is a distant one. They think that it will be a typical weekend. It all goes well for a while, until the aliens attack. You see, aliens have been watching us for centuries and have apparently planted huge metallic things with tentacles (called Tripods in the movie) in the ground, which are to be activated at a later date by pods which travel through lightning. Outlandish, isn't it? And on the very same day the children visit their father, they decide to unleash their fury. Buildings get blown up, the road blasts open and the tripods emerge from the ground. Upon their emergence they start to annihilate the humans, who panic and run in fear. (Did I mention that all the cars in the city cease to work due to some unexplained phenomenon?) Tom Cruise decides to gather his children (the teenager whines, the little girl screams) and decides to flee in the only working car in the city. During their journey they have all sorts of crazy adventures. They meet a deranged TV news reporter, watch the city and its surrounding being destroyed by hundreds of tripods, and get shelter from a pedophilic psychopath. And in between all this lies a typical Hollywood plot about the bonding between Tom Cruise and his children, who learn to depend on each other and come close together in the time of crisis. Let me get the puke bucket.