Review: War of the Worlds Blu-ray

War of the Worlds Blu-raySTUDIO: DreamWorks/Paramount | DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg | CAST: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwin
RELEASE DATE: 6/1/2010 | PRICE: Blu-ray $29.99
BONUSES: featurettes
SPECS: PG-13 | 117 min. | science-fiction | 1.85:1 | 5.1 DTS-HD audio | English, French, Spanish, Portugeuse subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | | Extras |Overall

War of the Worlds movie sceneSteven Spielberg’s adaptation of H.G. Wells‘ classic book War of the Worlds makes its high-definition debut with a bang, i.e. the sound is the biggest improvement in this Blu-ray edition. John Williams’ score sounds beautiful, and the horrifying roars of the tripods will shake seats.

The picture is good too, with great color saturation so the aliens’ blood fields are even more gruesome. But the 2005 movie suffers from the same thing as Traffic, in that the added grain and filtered, soft look, which Spielberg applied for atmosphere, stops the movie’s video from being as sharp as other movies. It is better than DVD, but just don’t expect to see lines that are as clear as on other Blu-ray titles.

The 2005 science-fiction movie starring Tom Cruise comes with a big special features menu, but everything on it is the same as what’s on the two-disc Limited Edition DVD, released in 2005.

The offerings are a bunch of featurettes, some good like “Steven Spielberg and the Original War of the Worlds,” and others a waste of time, like “We Are Not Alone,” which is five minutes of ‘Steve is great.’

In “Steven Spielberg and the Original War of the Worlds,” Spielberg talks about the influences he took from the original 1953 movie. But perhaps the most interesting sections are the ones in which Ann Robinson and Gene Berry, the stars of the original, reveal behind-the-scenes info about that film, such as the idea behind the design of the cobra-like alien machines (and it’s not a cobra). Spielberg built on that design for the new movie.

There’s also a featurette on the legacy of H.G. Wells’ story, interviews with Cruise and the filmmakers about the development of the script, a featurette about the visual effects, a piece about the design of the aliens and tripods, production diaries and galleries with sketches and photos.


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.