Dockworker Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) struggles to build a positive relationship with his two children, Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie (Justin Chatwin). When his ex-wife, Mary Ann (Miranda Otto), drops them off at Ferrier’s house, it seems as though it will be just another tension-filled weekend. However, when electromagnetic pulses of lightning strike the area, the strange event turns out to be the beginning of an alien invasion, and Ferrier must now protect his children as they seek refuge.
Plot: As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival in this sci-fi action film.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Runtime: 116 min
Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of War of the Worlds delivers on the thrill and paranoia of H.G. Wells’ classic novel while impressively updating the action and effects for modern audiences.
“There are no flaws on this UHD release.”
This movie was originally shot on 35mm, but for this 2020 release it was given a brand new 4k digital intermediate! On top of that, as per the norm with UHD releases, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in both Dolby Vision & HDR10. (There’s grain, so grain-haters beware.)
The sharpness and clarity is improved with the use of grain across the board, literally. Like I mentioned in the last UHD review, “grain has never bothered me — if anything, I think it really helps movies that were actually shot on film. It not only adds a nice texture to the new transfer, but it allows the black levels to breath giving off more depth and detail.” Not only are the characters faces more define, but the environments get the chance to come to life with added depth. (You will see this in the the various urban area and basement scenes.) To be specific, a short moment that landed with higher recognition of sharpness was the plane crash scene — everything with super detailed!
One thing you can know for sure, this is the best this film has ever looked.
The HDR takes a very specific point of view when it comes to this release — let me try and make some sense of this. The director had a certain tone in mind when making the film, so the movie already has a more muted effect when it comes to color. Nothing is to bright, nor to dull, but it’s also not a natural effect either. If I had to use a word to describe the palette, I would say cinematic. HDR takes this cinematic tone and creates naturally deep and perfected colors, which in turn, makes the fantastic Blu-ray look washed out.
The biggest highlight, when it comes to the HDR aspect, has to be the night and low lit scenes — something you will see more constantly in the latter half of the movie. The black levels are picture perfect improving depth and dimension in every frame. You will see this (by literal definition) with the lights flashing through basement windows contrasting everything in its path. Honestly, there are no flaws on this disc.
As a side note, the audio on this sounded amazing. I only have a basic setup when it comes to the audio aspect, but I could tell it was hitting all the right notes. If you have a proper setup, I think you’re in for a treat on top of the great picture. It’s an all around great release.
War of the Worlds is celebrating it’s 15th anniversary with the release of this UHD. Unfortunatley, there are no new bonus features on this film, but there is over an hour of previously released content, including multiple behind-the-scenes featurettes, production diaries, a look at the characters and more. Fun fact: this movie also made over $600 million worldwide back in 2005!
In conclusion —
What are the first movies you think of when you talk about ‘alien invasion’ movies? For me personally it’s War of the Worlds, Independence Day & Signs. There’s something about this movie that makes it top that list — it’s hard to narrow it down with words. It’s a little short of being a masterpiece, but I’d definitely call this movie a classic. Disagree? Let me know in the comments.
Since the previous Blu-ray release set the bar so high, this disc might not ‘blow you away,’ but it still raised the bar in every aspect available – it’s as high as it possibly can go. Two thumbs up!
Taking everything I’ve said into account, War of the Worlds gets my recommendation for an automatic day-one purchase – it’s a no-brainer. Do yourself a favor, grab a copy at your local retailer when it releases on 4K UHD May 19th, you won’t be disappointed.
Are you a fan of this movie? Will you be picking it up to own? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
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