Alien Invasion Main

1953-57

1966-96

1997-2005

2007-12

2013 to Present


Characters / Cast


Tom Cruise as Ray Ferrier


Dakota Fanning as Rachel Ferrier


Justin Chatwin as Robbie Ferrier


Miranda Otto as Mary Ann Davis


Tim Robbins as Harlan Ogilvy

Yul Vázquez as Julio

Lenny Venito as Manny the Mechanic

Lisa Ann Walter as Cheryl

Ann Robinson as Grandmother,
played a lead role in the 1953 film.

Gene Barry as Grandfather,
played a lead role in the 1953 film.

David Alan Basche as Tim

Roz Abrams as Herself

Camillia Sanes as News Producer

Amy Ryan as Neighbor with Toddler

Danny Hoch as Policeman

Rick Gonzalez as Vincent

Morgan Freeman as the Narrator


Development

After collaborating in 2002's Minority Report, Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise were interested in working together again. Spielberg stated about Cruise, "He's such an intelligent, creative partner, and brings such great ideas to the set that we just spark each other. I love working with Tom Cruise."

Cruise met with Spielberg during the filming of Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can (2002) and gave three options of films to create together, one of them being an adaptation of The War of the Worlds.

Spielberg chose The War of the Worlds and stated, "We looked at each other and the lights went on. As soon as I heard it, I said `Oh my God! War of the Worlds – absolutely.' That was it." The film is Spielberg's third on the subject of alien visitation, along with Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.


Producer and longtime collaborator Kathleen Kennedy notes that with War of the Worlds, Spielberg had the opportunity to explore the antithesis of the characters brought to life in E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

"When we first started developing E.T., it was a much edgier, darker story and it actually evolved into something that was more benign. I think that the edgier, darker story has always been somewhere inside him. Now, he's telling that story."

Spielberg stated that he just thought it would be fun to make a "really scary film with really scary aliens", something which he had never done before. Spielberg was intent on telling a contemporary story, with Kennedy stating the story was created as a fantasy, but depicted in a hyper-realistic way.


"For the first time in my life I'm making an alien picture where there is no love and no attempt at communication." – Steven Spielberg. J. J. Abrams was asked by Spielberg and Cruise to write the script but had to turn down the film as he was working on the pilot for his television series Lost. Josh Friedman delivered a screenplay, which was then rewritten by David Koepp.

After re-reading the novel, Koepp decided to do the script following a single narrator, "a very limited point of view, from someone on the very periphery of events rather than someone involved in events", and created a list of elements he would not use due to being "cliché", such as the destruction of landmark buildings.

Some aspects of the book were heavily adapted and condensed: Tim Robbins' character was an amalgalm of two characters in the book, with the name borrowed from a third. While changing the setting from 19th century to present day, Koepp also tried to "take the modern world back to the 1800s", with the characters being devoid of electricity and modern techniques of communication.


Spielberg accepted the script after finding it had several similarities to his personal life, including the divorce of his parents (Ray and Mary Ann's divorce), and because the plight of the fictional survivors reflects his own uncertainty after the devastation of the September 11 attacks.

For Spielberg, the characters' stories of survival needed to be the main focus, as they featured the American mindset of never giving up. Spielberg described War of the Worlds as "a polar opposite" to Close Encounters, with that movie featuring a man leaving family to travel with aliens, while War of the Worlds focused on keeping the family together.

At the same time, the aliens and their motivations would not be much explored, as "we just experience the results of these nefarious plans to replace us with themselves".

Although accepting the script, Spielberg asked for several changes. Spielberg had been against the idea of the aliens arriving in spaceships, since every alien invasion movie used such a vehicle. The original Martian cylinders were discarded, where Spielberg replaced the origins of the Tripods with stating they were buried underground in the Earth long ago.


Filming

Filming took place in Virginia, Connecticut, New Jersey, California, and New York. The film shooting lasted an estimated 72 days. Spielberg originally intended to shoot War of the Worlds after Munich, but Tom Cruise liked David Koepp's script so much that he suggested Spielberg postpone the former while he would do the same with Mission: Impossible III.

Most of Munich's crew was brought in to work on War of the Worlds as well. In 2004, the production crews quickly were set up on both coasts to prepare for the start date, scouting locations up and down the Eastern Seaboard and preparing stages and sets which would be used when the company returned to Los Angeles after the winter holiday.


Pre-production took place in only three months, essentially half the amount of time normally allotted for a film of similar size and scope. Spielberg notes, however, "This wasn't a cram course for War of the Worlds. This was my longest schedule in about 12 years. We took our time."

Spielberg collaborated with crews at the beginning of pre-production with the use of previsualization, considering the tight schedule. The scene depicting the first appearance of the Tripods was filmed in Newark, New Jersey. Later, Spielberg filmed several scenes in Virginia. The continuous scene was filmed in California.


The ferry scene was filmed in the New York town of Athens, and Mary Ann's parents house was located in Brooklyn (but was featured in the film in Boston). For the scene involving a crashed Boeing 747, the production crew bought an out-of-use airplane, with transportation costs of $2 million, destroyed it into pieces, and built houses around them.

The destroyed plane was kept for the Universal Studios back-lot tour. Ray's house was filmed in Bayonne, New Jersey (with a soundstage doubling the interior); meanwhile, the valley war sequence was filmed in Lexington, Virginia and Mystery Mesa in California. The scene where the tripod is shot down and crashes through a factory was filmed in Naugatuck, Connecticut.

The scene of the bodies floating down the river was filmed on the Farmington River in Windsor, Connecticut by a second unit using a stand in for Dakota Fanning (the back of her character) with the portion showing the faces of the credited actors cut in later. Some filming was shot on the Korean War Veterans Parkway in Staten Island, NY. The film used six sound stages, spread over three studio lots.





Resources: Wikipedia.org
imsdb.com, imdb.com






War of the Worlds - 2005

NARRATOR: "No one would have believed in the early years of the21st century, that our world was being watched by intelligences greater than our own. That as men busied themselves about their various concerns, they observed and studied. Like the way a man with a microscope might scrutinize the creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

With infinite complacency men went to and fro about the globe, confident of our empire over this world. Yet, across the gulf of space, intellects, vast and cool and unsympathetic regarded our plant with envious eyes. And slowly and surely, drew their plans against us."


Ray Ferrier (in his 30s, short hair, rough groomed, almost always wears his New York baseball cap, raggedly dressed, looks like he hasn't slept in days) is moving cargo boxes from the ship to ground loading brackets. Shots show him inside the control room operating the levers. As the last car is loaded, he is seen walking down the stairs. Ray leaves his shift in Brooklyn and drives home to meet his ex-wife at his home in Bayonne, New Jersey.

When he arrives, late, they are all waiting for him. Ray sees that Mary Ann is pregnant. Ray gets out and takes the last can of trash to the street as Tim (in his 30s, wearing expensive clothes, slicked sharp hair, extremely well groomed, looks like he's rich) and Ray's ex-wife Mary Ann (in her 30s, pregnant with maternity clothes on, hair hanging loose and rather unkept) stand at their new car.

Robbie (15, ragged, tough look, long hair, partially groomed, worn clothes, but looks in style, hip side pack with misc. objects in it) and Rachel (10, still dressed in Barbie color scheme clothing, long unkept hair in pigtails) are in the car. Robbie gets out of the car, carelessly banging the door on the electrical pole.

He is listening to his MP3 player at a loud volume. Ray greets him, but Robbie ignores him as if he was not there and heads up to the front door of the house. Rachel gives Ray a hug and goes back to the car to retrieve her bag. She struggles and Mary Ann, Tim, and Ray try to help which results in a small bicker argument.


Mary Ann, Rachel, Ray, and Tim walk into the kitchen as Robbie heads straight upstairs to his room. Mary Ann sees a car engine next to the kitchen table and looks at Ray in disgust. Mary Ann walks over to the refrigerator to check for the basic food supplies.

Ray gets frustrated that she is going through his stuff. After a few minutes of debate, over the children sharing a room and Robbie's homework assignment due on Monday, Mary Ann and her new husband leave for Boston to visit her parents for the weekend.


Ray mildly orders his son to play catch with him in the back yard. Ray notices that Robbie now wears a Boston Red Sox hat; Ray is a Yankees fan. While the two play catch it becomes clear that father and son share a strained relationship. After a brief argument, Robbie allows one of Ray's throws to fly past him and break a window in the basement.

Rachel comments that Ray "won't reach" Robbie by being belligerent. Rachel asks what they should have for lunch and Ray coldly replies "you know, order." Ray goes upstairs to his bedroom to get some sleep. When he wakes up several hours later, he finds Rachel watching cartoons in the living room.


She also informs her father that Robbie has taken off with his prized Mustang. Ray becomes furious and rushes out to his driveway. He glances at his open garage door with the car that should have been in it. He runs across the street to search for his car and notices every car has stopped running.

As he sees everyone else looking at the sky, he looks himself to find a large black cloud with a white hole in the middle of it. The cloud is swirling as if it was being artificially turned. Ray runs by the fence to his back yard. As he runs, the wind starts to pick up. 30-40 mph. He notices the wind is blowing toward the storm.


Winds pick up faster. 40-50 mph. Rachel rushes down the stairs to his side and hugs him in fear. We pan up to view the 'storm' that appears to be lighting up with multiple colored lights. Suddenly the wind dies down to nothing. Lightning hits the pavement about three hundred feet away. BAM!! Lightning hits the ground more rapidly and louder now.

Rachel and Ray run towards the eves of the house. The lightning continues. At first Ray is enjoying it, but the lightning gets even louder and scares the both of them enough to hightail it for the house. BAM!!! Half the car alarms go off in a ten block radius. BAM!! Another few car alarms go off. BAM!!! Louder and louder the lightning continues.


Ray and Rachel are running as fast as they can up the stairs into the kitchen. The lighting continues again and makes Rachel scream. BAM!! It hits again and makes Ray jump. They both get under the table for safety as the lightning continues. They both begin panicking. The lightning goes on with no apparent end. Ray and Rachel both scurry on the floor under the table as the lightning goes on.

The lighting finally subsides and all is silent. Ray remains speechless as he is fixated on the area where the lightning came from. Ray climbs out from under the table to get an idea of what just happened. He and Rachel find that every clock has stopped and the power is out. Ray's watch has stopped and his cellphone is dead.


After telling Rachel to stay in the house, he goes outside and finds Robbie nearby; his son had taken his car downtown and left it there when it stalled. Ray orders Robbie to watch his sister until he comes back.


Ray passes by an auto repair shop where the owner, Manny, tells him that the starter is burned out on a minivan he's looking over. Ray tells Manny to replace the solenoid. Ray walks downtown to the site where the lightning struck. A crowd has gathered around a large hole in the street.


Ray picks up a stone that is right next to all the black asphalt crumbs. He switches it from hand to hand because it is too cold to hold in one hand.


A car that fell into the hold is thrown out. Suddenly the ground under the hole surges upward and everyone scatters. A huge machine on three stilted legs bursts out of the hole and observes the crowds.


It lets out a loud blast like a fog horn and as the crowd continues to scatter, it begins to incinerate dozens of people with blasts of heat beams; people are turned instantly into ash when the beams strike them.


Ray runs, escaping through a department store; as he does, the ash from an unfortunate victim covers him. Ray hides behind a building and watches the monstrous machine walk by. He is reminded of Robbie and Rachel when a man runs by carrying his own child. Ray returns home in utter shock.


Barely speaking to his kids and washing the ash from his face and hair, he tells them both that they're leaving immediately. Ray has Robbie take everything in his refrigerator and Ray retrieves a small pistol, tucking it into his belt. They go to Manny's garage and climb into the minivan the mechanic had been working on; since he'd replaced the solenoid, the car is able to run.

Manny thinks Ray is joking with him until Ray tells him in a serious tone to come with them. As he tells Ray to get out of the car, the nearby Bayonne Bridge collapses. Ray speeds off while his kids become panicky, especially Rachel, who has a problem with enclosed spaces. Robbie tries to calm her. Ray tells Robbie about the machine and the destruction it caused.


Ray plans to take his kids to a safe place, hopefully their mother and stepfather's house. Arriving at Mary Ann's house, they find it deserted. Robbie takes his hat off and sits down as Ray searches the box for food. He finds peanut butter and decides to make sandwiches. Ray takes the twist tie off the bread bag and dumps the whole loaf on the counter.

He taps his hands together to try to calm Rachel and Robbie. Ray opens the peanut butter and grabs a wooden spoon from the cooking utensil holder on the counter. He jokes with them with unconvincing effort when Rachel tells him she's allergic to peanut butter. So he hands her just the bread, but both kids say they are not hungry.

Ray loses control, he picks up the bread pieces and throws them at the sink window. One with peanut butter sticks on the window and slowly slides off. After a moment, he calms down and assure them they will be okay. Ray takes them down to the basement where they'll spend the night.


After a few hours of restless sleep, Ray wakes up and hears a commotion outside, which becomes a deafening roar. The three rush into the basement's utility room and lock the door against a wall of flames.


When Ray wakes up several hours later, he walks upstairs to find most of the house demolished. The commotion from the previous night was caused by a plane that had crashed in the neighborhood. While Ray walks by, he sees a man in the wreckage of the plane, cleaning out the food service carts.


Ray finds out that he's a cameraman for a news network and is there with a woman reporter. The woman tells Ray that the reports about the tripods are all the same, once they start moving, no more reports or news come from the area they attack.


Ray gathers his family and they set out again in the minivan. They drive for a while and pull over when Rachel needs to relieve herself. She defiantly walks farther than Ray wishes her to and stops by a creek.



NEXT > > >




Alien Invasion Main

1953-57

1966-96

1997-2005

2007-12

2013 to Present



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