Though true to the basic premise of HG Wells’s original 1898 novel – the arrival on Earth of malevolent Martian invaders – the action in Steven Spielberg’s noisy remake is necessarily moved from the book’s Surrey to New Jersey. (Necessary for the sake of international box office at any rate.) Here, Tom Cruise manages to conveniently use the imminent destruction of the human race to mend his relationship with his estranged wife (Miranda Otto) by delivering their children (Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwin) to Boston. The battle sequences are truly terrific, especially when the aliens first emerge, moving about in towering tripods, incinerating humans with death rays and blowing up everything in their path (except Tom and the kids). But further thrills are produced when the game of hide and seek begins and clues to the aliens’ Achilles heel sought. What stayed with me was one spine-tingling sequence in which a creepy burning train rattles past.
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