Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Rear Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
While Roland Emmerich is known as the king of disaster movies, Spielberg has been known to dabble in the genre as well, and even though his star had been fading around the early 2000 era, War of the Worlds was probably one of the greatest sci-fi movies of 2005. The source material is certainly not exactly knew, as the grandfather of most modern sci-fi H.G. Wells had penned the novel many decades ago, creating an instant classic novel. The novel’s source has been adapted to radio shows, films several times over, and now a modern TV show about the infamous alien invasion of our world. However, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Spielberg/Cruise update on the classic ideas.
Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) is your average divorced dad living in New York City. He’s struggling to get back on his feet after a painful divorce with his wife (Miranda Otto), splitting his time between his work and weekend access to his two children Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie (Justin Chatwin). As with most divorces, relationships between parents and children are a bit raw, and Ray’s rough exterior creates a bit more of a divide. But they’re family relations are about to be tested as someone else is coming to dinner (so to speak). With no warning whatsoever, a gigantic storm like entity approaches the city, bringing forth mechanical beings that destroy EVERYTHING in their wake.
Running, hiding, and desperately looking to survive, Ray, Robbie and Rachel begin a fight to live as they try and find shelter of some kind. It seems that the invasion by an unknown enemy has not only decimated New York City, but the entire rest of the world. As Ray tries to find safety somehow, and hopefully reconnect with the children’s mother, the family man is forced to confront his soiled relationship with Robbie, as well as figure out a way survive. Even though they face crazed and scared human refugees, an angry “resistance” fighter (Tim Robbins), and even the machines themselves and the terrible terraforming they appear to be inflicting on the earth.
While the film is great on it’s own merits, it’s also partly a Tom Cruise vehicle as well. Tom was still a power star in the 2000’s and his particular charm and charisma dominate the story. Still, young Justin Chatwin and little Dakota Fanning’s raw sense of terror and urgency add layers to his character, fleshing him out more than the typical heroic tough guy that Cruise is so well known for playing. It’s a great film at the end of the day, despite some Tom Cruise-isms throughout the movie, is well worth a watch by it’s own merits. Steven Spielberg has had some off and on hits for the last 20 years (ish), but War of the Worlds was very obviously one of his big successes in modern times.
Rated PG-13 for frightening sequences of sci-fi violence and disturbing images
4K Video: Video:
When I said MOSTLY enhanced over the Blu-ray, there is one caveat. That is the legendary bass. The LFE for the film is still hot and heavy, but I immediately noticed at the pod emergence that something was wrong. That deep chest crunching feel was gone. The more I listened, the more I realized we were missing some LFE frequencies. I was very suspicious that I knew what was going on, but I had to confirm with a sweep with the microphone to really be certain. The track employs a 30 hz filter, with a steep drop on anything below that frequency. A move which is SERIOUSLY disappointing as War of the Worlds was known far and wide for having some stupidly low frequency material that could go into single digits many times. Again, that doesn’t mean that the track is BAD, as the rest of the Atmos experience is utterly fantastic, but it does counterbalance all of the good we gained from 5.1 to object oriented when one of the defining pieces of the mix is neutered. So instead of a 5/5 rating as I had hoped, I hovered somewhere between a 4/5 and a 4.5/5 (leaning more towards 4.5/5 due to the fact that the Atmos mix gives us some really tangible benefits despite the bass cutoff).
• The H.G. Wells Legacy
• Steven Spielberg and the Original War of the Worlds
• Characters: The Family Unit
• Production Diaries
• Designing the Enemy: Tripods and Aliens
• Scoring War of the Worlds
• We Are Not Alone
• Theatrical Teaser Trailer
Spielberg’s War of the Worlds is a dark and dreary sci-fi disaster film and it has a fantastically mean underbelly to it. It’s gritty, terrifying, and completely entertaining from beginning to end. I haven’t seen the film since it was released on Blu-ray in 2010, so rewatching it a full 10 years later gave me a bigger appreciation for Spielberg’s more “pulpy” take on the classic horror/sci-fi novel. The 4K UHD is a great disc for the most part, with a great looking 4K UHD image, and a neat sounding Atmos track (which does have a few quirks). There are no extras ON the 4K UHD disc, but all the extras from the 2010 disc are on the Blu-ray, so that largely remains the same. Good disc, well worth upgrading in my opinion despite the neutered bass.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins, Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto, Rick Gonzalez, Yul Vazquez, Lenny Venito
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: Josh Friedman, David Koepp (Screenplay), H.G. Wells (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), Czech, German, Spanish (Latin), Spanish (Castilian), French, Italian, Japanese, Hungarian, Portuguese, Russian, Thai DD 5.1, Polish DD 2.0
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Swedish, Thai
Runtime: 116 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 19th 2020
Recommendation: Good Watch