Critic's Corner

April 28th, 2007

It’s a pretty safe bet that dialogue wasn’t the big attraction for most of the moviegoers who held their breath through this summer’s remake of War of the Worlds.  With Steven Spielberg at the helm and a budget nearing $128 million, the hype was all about special effects: streets buckling beneath people’s feet, human beings vaporizing into dust while their clothes float free. Plus, Tom Cruise, right, stars as a divorced dad trying to save his kids from aliens. Still, the credit for updating H. G. Wells’s 1898 classic sci-fi novel goes to screenwriter Josh Friedman ’89, who with David Koepp gave the script a post–9/11 terrorist twist. Although talk takes a back seat to action throughout the film, Dakota Fanning, right, gets to scream a lot as Cruise’s terrified daughter. And the New York Times noted an upside to the lack of dialogue: the movie scored a PG-13 rating. “Much of the earth''s population is wiped out,” the Times observed, “leaving very little time for sex or bad language.”

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September / October 2005