War of the Worlds

Director: Steven Spielberg
Year Released: 2005
Rating: 1.5

Or perhaps more accurately, Steven Spielberg directs a remake of Independence Day. Aliens pop down to Earth to vaporize everyone, leaving noble everyman Tom Cruise to save his two kids - and himself - from the invasion. Obnoxious presence of a screeching, neurotic Dakota Fanning aside - whose screams of "Daddy!" (to which Cruise always responds "Rachel!") comprise a good deal of the movie's verbal communication - this is a loud, stupid popcorn movie, seasoned with just enough political subtext to keep those looking for such things happy, full of inane decision-making on Cruise's character's part (for shame, David Koepp) and an especially tidy - and arrogant - ending that will have you thinking "wait, that's just as ridiculous as the twist in Signs!" A slightly dumber - but considerably funnier - conclusion would have involved Cruise and fellow Scientologist John Travolta putting their half-wits together and actually piloting an alien space craft ... at least that's what Roland Emmerich would have done.