I was a bit surprised (as I tend to be from time to time now without a TV) when I heard Steven Spielberg was remaking War of the Worlds and slightly updating his tale with Tom Cruise as a father trying to save his children from the alien extermination of the Earth. It's strange because I always felt that the film Independence Day, for all its faults, was basically the updated version of Wells' tales and considering how many of the precepts this film took from there (bizarre weather effects, shields around the alien vehicles etc., you kinda wonder why they bothered).
I do wonder how people 10 years from now will look at this film, as it is clearly couched in today. At one point, one of the characters even asks if it is a terrorist attack. Sheesh.
Still, there is something ominous about massive, hulking mechanical tripods stalking the earth which I think is really this film's only saving grace. HG Wells lived in the time before airplanes so the idea of mechanized machines roaming the planet exterminating the race made a lot more sense than floating, flying or hanging in the air like bricks don't type vehicles.
What kills this film really though is the pathetic, saccharine ending a la Spielberg which ties up everything in the end neatly, where Boston is apparently spared any of the ravages of the attack (or even power outages) and the grandparents and wife are there with the separated child (and I noticed, the successful richer stepfather is absent). Totally kills what is an "ok" film in my opinion (with some huge plot holes), making the overall experience less watchable.
Definitely a DVD rental even with the special effects.