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War of the Worlds Review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    73

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    But expect a logical plot, and you'll walk out of the theater with a host of questions, mostly concerning procedural points of the alien attack.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Might be too realistic for its own good: The film takes perhaps a little too much glee in its abilities to manufacture mayhem. That being said, the ride is extraordinary.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    With this genuinely big entertainment, powered by a beating heart, Steven Spielberg has put the summer back in summer movies.

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    An attack-of-the-aliens disaster film crafted with sinister technological grandeur -- a true popcorn apocalypse.

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  • See all War of the Worlds reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

Alien invasion thriller too scary for young kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie features repeated violence by frightening, spider-legged and penetrative machines, in particular directed against a 10-year-old girl. Her high-pitched screams and tears might alarm younger viewers. The aliens blow up streets, buildings, and cars, explode or zap some humans into dust, and literally suck the blood out of others (this last occurs in long shot, but it's clear what's going on). In one scary scene, a mob of humans attack Ray and his kids in their car (again, the girl's reaction is disquieting). The movie also includes some harsh language, tense scenes between Ray and his son, and Ray and his ex-wife, and Ray commits what he sees as a necessary murder off-screen.

  • Families can talk about the conflict between Ray and his teenaged son, which ignites several arguments: the boy doesn't trust his emotionally distant father, and resents his seeming selfishness in trying to save the family only and not seeking revenge against the aliens. This raises another issue, as the film's images of invasion allude to 9/11, as well as subsequent fears. How does the movie compare Ray's reaction to that of a survivalist holed up in his basement? How does Ray learn to be a more committed father by paying attention to his kids? How does the film marginalize the kids' mother, and to what effects for viewers?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Father and son mutually disrespectful; people afraid, selfish, and violent.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Aliens attack; humans evaporated, exploded, de-blooded, floating en masses in a river, and sucked up.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Not an issue

  • language false3

    Language: Abrupt and passionate.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Generic products referenced.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some drinking.

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