--a visually impressive, reasonably competently acted, only mildly stupid, pretty faithful, and thoroughly enjoyable polemic against the evils of imperialism.
Don't get me started on the Hollywood science, or how the sound of lightning over Manhattan is simultaneous with the flash in Brooklyn, or how the Last Living Camcorder In New York City manages to survive the EMP that fries everything else in the tristate area. Or the tripods buried for a million years that happen to be buried under major world population centers. Forgive the basement hideout sequence that is about twice as long as it needs to be. Brace yourself for the heavyhanded Hollywood symbolism, and grit your teeth through the too-pat ending.
But while you're at it, amuse me with the oddity of a semi-pacifist protagonist (about as pacifist as a Hollywood protagonist can get away with), the conversation about paternalism versus imperialism, the discussions of the difference between survival and stupidity, the ironies and layers of symbolism of a fight against--and a flight from--conquest and colonization that ends in Boston. Throw in some chilling imagery that's still four years too fresh to go over easy (The dust from the heat rays--which alas, were not invisible. But the image of all that ash sticks, doesn't it?) Do not ask me where the working photocopiers came from. Show me the faces of the missing on the wall.
Oh, yeah, and can I have some really freaking goddamned cool tripods too? And maybe Morgan Freeman could read me a couple of paragraphs of War of the Worlds?
Yeah, okay. That was a good night out.
It may have taken him 25 years to do it, but Spielberg's got a second science fiction movie that doesn't suck.