Writter: Josh Friedman
Tom Plays: Ray Ferrier
Status: ON DVD
As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.
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Continuity: When Robbie saw the military the first time on that country road, his skin was showing above his pants. When his dad grabbed him, his shirt was tucked in.
Continuity: At the beginning of the film when Ray and Rachel are in the sitting room, Rachel gets down and lies back on the sofa. In the next shot she is sitting upright on the sofa.
Continuity: When Rachel goes to the river to use the “bathroom”, Ray opens the back of the van. In the next shot, Ray is standing next to the van with the back end closed. A few moments later he opens it.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: It’s a special Hollywood EMP that disables only the electronic equipment that the filmmakers want it to. While “technically” it’s a factual mistake that, for instance, the camcorder is still working, it was clearly a deliberate decision by the filmmakers. We also only have a TV reporter’s word for it that it’s an “EMP” anyway, so it could be an alien weapon of which we know nothing. It should also be noted however that EM Pulses only have a permanent disabling effect on electrical equipment that has current within it. This is why when Ray’s friend changes the solenoid in the minivan with one from his shop (an electrical component that was not attached to a circuit with a current), the car now works. This is also why the unused batteries and flashlight Ray grabs from his kitchen should work. Thus, if the man had a camcorder without a battery attached to it, and realized something was happening and *then* attached a power source to the camera, it should work.
Audio/visual unsynchronized: In the basement scene, the alien spins the front wheel of the bicycle, but we hear the clicking of the free wheel from the back wheel.
Revealing mistakes: In the ferry boat scene, fleeing crowds are back lit by floodlights placed off the main street, not by the lights of the approaching tripods.
Continuity: Orientation of the bottle of mustard in the box of supplies Ray carries changes from shot to shot.
Continuity: After they swim across the Hudson River and Rachel starts to get up to run, she isn’t wearing her sleeveless purple hoody and none of the others has it, but a few scenes later, she’s wearing it again walking along with Robbie and her Dad
Revealing mistakes: When Ray and his neighbors are watching the lightning, there is a strong wind blowing, moving all the washing hanging out. But the trees behind them are still and not moving at all.
Continuity: In the opening scene, When Ray is operating the heavy machinery, he is not visible because of deep shadowing. In a cutaway seconds later, he is in full bright sunlight.
Continuity: The military convoy completely passes by Ray and the kids while they are standing on the country road at least once, but cutaway shots provide more and more vehicles each time. This goof is later repeated in the scene of the battle on the hill just before Ray and Rachel meet Ogilvy (the same tan-colored Abrams tank can be seen in the background behind Rachel even after it is shown driving up to and atop the hill ahead of her).
Continuity: When Robbie is helping the people that were left hanging on the ramp of the ferry, the water below them is calm, even though just a moment ago the propellers were spinning at full power.
Continuity: The amount/pattern of water on Robbie’s back changes from shot to shot, as the army tanks pass and splash water up.
Continuity: When the first tripod comes out of the street, two workmen are on a scaffold. Two shots over their left shoulders show the scaffold swaying; the long shot in between shows the scaffold static and the workmen move backwards in the first shot, but are in the front in the long shot.
Revealing mistakes: When driving up to Boston in the minivan, the gear selector lever is in the park position.
Continuity: When Ray is watching the lightning in his back garden and the camera is behind him, his hood flips up against his head. However, in the next shot his hood is back down again.
Continuity: When the tripod first appears out of the ground in the intersection and the ground is cracking, Ray puts one foot on the street and one on the curb for balance. In the next shot, both his feet are firmly on the ground
Audio/visual unsynchronized: When Rachel was channel surfing at Ray’s place, she finally decides to watch “SpongeBob SquarePants”. However, the audio is unsynchronized with what is happening.
Crew or equipment visible: When Robbie runs to the back of the ferry and we get an over the shoulder shot of him looking over the boat and dock, there is a member of the film crew off on the dock on the right hand side with a flag (black material on a metal frame) fanning the fog/smoke machine. He’s easy to miss in the chaos.
Continuity: At the end of the film, Mary Ann sighs on the glass in the door of her apartment, fogging it. We immediately cut to the reverse angle, and the fog has disappeared.
Continuity: When Mary Ann and Tim drop the kids off at Ray’s house, Rachael opens the door of the van into the power pole. Then in the next shot the van is parked too far away to hit the pole. Then in the following shot, the door is resting against the pole again.
Audio/visual unsynchronized: When Robbie returns from the downtown area where the lightning struck 26 times, you can hear him talking about it to Ray; you can’t see his face, but when the camera zooms in on him, his mouth isn’t moving.
Continuity: When Ray is walking towards Mary Ann’s parents’ house in the final scene, the car closest to the house on his right hand side is a white or silver-colored car with its hood open, its front facing the house. But when his daughter runs off to meet Mary Ann, suddenly two other cars appear there, a dark blue station wagon and another car are parked with their fronts turned towards the pavement. When there is a shot of Ray near the house, all the cars in the background are parked in line behind the car with the hood open.
Revealing mistakes: The water tripod tips the boat over. Ray, Robbie and Rachel fall in. Suddenly, a car comes towards them. If you look behind it you can see wires attached to the back.
Revealing mistakes: Toward the end of the movie, when the crowd of people are herded into a tunnel, you can see red CGI reference marks in one of the shots on the wall of the tunnel behind Ray and Rachel. The reference marks are used to properly match the movements of CGI add-ins to the actual camera movements and should have been erased. (fixed in DVD release)
Factual errors: Passenger trains along the Hudson River run along the east bank of the Hudson, not the west bank, where the ferry was departing.
Revealing mistakes: The camcorder that is dropped when the aliens first arrive shows the horizon lined up with the base of the view-screen while the camera rests on an angle. The view-screen’s horizon lined up with the horizon outside of the view-screen.
Crew or equipment visible: At the beginning of the first scene where Ray is operating heavy machinery, you can see a cameraman on the left hand side of the screen lying on top of a crane. Camera man has a white shirt on and you can see his camera. This is the wide angle shot before the camera zooms in on Ray.
Revealing mistakes: During the first attack, we see a Grand Cherokee coming out from the crater, falling down on a Ford Taurus on the left side of the screen. That car’s left window was down before the camera pans up, and the same window is up (and stays intact) after the Cherokee comes down on it.
Continuity: There is a scene where Tom Cruise is running from the front of his building to the backyard of his building. The shot of him running around the building in the alley is very dark, like it was filmed at night. When he emerges into the backyard, it is daylight.
Crew or equipment visible: As Ray begins to leave the house after the plane crash, stopping to pick up Robbie, the reflection of the camera operator is visible between the passenger and sliding side doors.
Continuity: The left rear van window is missing in some freeway scenes and is later seen intact.
Miscellaneous: When Ray, Rachel and Robbie are driving in the mini van out of town, through the interstate traffic, Ray’s steering inputs don’t always match the direction of the van as seen out of the van’s rear window. At one point, Ray definitely steers to his right and the van obviously moves to the left.
Continuity: In the part where the jet crashes into the house, it should have destroyed everything in site, but the mini-van Ray was driving afterwards was unharmed.
Factual errors: If a large jumbo jet crashes into a house, and the house catches fire just as it it did as everyone got into the concrete utility room, it would have burned considerably more than shown. The basement had some charring, but there were plenty of clothes and other flammable debris scattered around, unburnt after the fireball supposedly engulfed the basement.
Continuity: During the “hummus scene” Rachel sits on the couch and crosses her left leg over her right. In the next view, from the table, her legs appear reversed.
Revealing mistakes: Near the end of the film, a group of soldiers attack an alien drone with a Javelin shoulder-fired missile launcher. The firing effect in the film has a dramatic backblast complete with flames shooting out of the missile tube. The actual Javelin has a “soft-launch” feature where the missile weakly pops out of the tube and travels a certain distance before the main rocket motor ignites. It was designed to help mask the gunner’s firing position.
Factual errors: When they’re exiting the home where the jumbo jet crashed, the cockpit window is broken with a hole in it. Cockpit windows do not break like windows in homes. They are in fact multiple layers of various materials including special glass, heating elements, bonding materials, etc, and when they break, they “spiderweb” into many, many small pieces. The window in this scene appeared to be a single pane of glass that looked like it had a rock thrown through it.
Miscellaneous: After the crash of a jumbo jet right in the backyard, Tom’s mysteriously untouched van right next to it somehow has a clear lane to drive out. And somehow a news van that had been filming National Guard units in the Pine Barrens (a hat-tip to Orson Welles’ 1939 radio broadcast) the night before was already there. And raiding the airliner wreckage for food is hardly necessary with so many abandoned houses and stores available.
Continuity: At the first site of the lightning, a police officer clearly says, “There’s nothing down there, not even water mains”. Later on as the tripod is revealing itself you can clearly see water sprawing out from the ground, showing that there are water mains below.
Continuity: As Ogilvy calls to Ray and Rachel before the camera pans out, at the bottom of the screen you can see Ray and Rachel standing there, when they were running seconds ago. As if waiting for a cue they begin a sprint towards the basement door.
Continuity: When Ray first puts the blindfold on Rachel in the basement, the folds are crooked and bulged, in the subsequent shots the blindfold is perfect, it is evenly folded and the middle fold is uniform and flat.
Miscellaneous: When Ray and Mary Ann are going upstairs in Ray’s house to see Robbie and Rachel, Mary Ann goes over to Robbie and unplugs his headphones from his iPod and we hear the music stop playing. She then plugs them back in and the music starts up again. This is wrong because if you unplug a set of headphones from an iPod the music player automatically pauses itself and will not start playing music again until you re-insert a set of headphones and press the play button.
Factual errors: While Ray and his kids drive to his ex-wife’s house you see a swing around shot of the van. The van’s back windows are rolled down, when in fact on that model of dodge van, you can’t do that.
Continuity: When Ray arrives to his ex-wife’s house, you can see a flat forest behind all the houses in the street. After the Jumbo jet has crashed you can see a little hill behind the destroyed houses.
Revealing mistakes: When Ray is leaving his ex-wife’s house after the tripods destroy it, you can see a crew member lean back behind the jet engine as the camera pans to the right.
Factual errors: When driving down the highway after all the cars have broken down, all of the cars are pushed aside making a path. The cars should have been where they were while driving, so Ray would be driving in the field.
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): When Rachel sees the dead bodies floating in the river, the front view of her shows her breathing very hard with shoulders noticeably rising and falling. The camera angle immediately reverse to show her from behind, and she is standing still with no shoulder movement. The camera then returns to a front view where she is still breathing hard – just as Ray comes up from behind her.
Revealing mistakes: When Harlan Ogilvy first stands outside his house with his gun in the air, yelling to Ray to come over, you can see Ray and his daughter standing still in the background waiting for their cue to start running toward the house. They stand still until Harlan yells a second time, then they start running toward the house.
Revealing mistakes: When Ray is fleeing New Jersey in the stolen car to go to his ex-wife’s house he jumps on the expressway. The expressway is jam packed bumper-to-bumper right before the point of the exit on ramp. The road from the point of the on ramp and after (where Ray is driving) while still cluttered with cars, is still very easy to navigate whipping in and out of each lane. There is no way a car could drive on the expressway before the point where Ray jumps on the expressway.
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Early on in the film the news anchor and reporter both refer to an electrical storm in “The Ukraine”. This is the equivalent of saying “The America”. It is a common mistake. However, it is grammatically incorrect.
Miscellaneous: When Ray and his kids enter the empty house looking for the mother, there is a brief shot of a picture of the family on a shelf. This picture is obviously a faked composite because the light is hitting their faces from different directions.
Errors in geography: In a scene following the aliens emergence from beneath the tarmac of the intersection, Ray Ferrier runs for the safety of the sidewalk and we see a shot from behind him looking towards the alien breakout. He has one foot on the sidewalk and one in the gutter. In the next shot, looking front on to Ray, he is standing in the middle of the sidewalk.
Miscellaneous: During the scene where Ray throws the baseball and Robbie lets it go past him and through the window, Ray does not actually have anything in his hand when he throws the ball.
Continuity: When Ray goes into his backyard to look at the dark cloud, his hood is up. When the camera is looking toward his face, his hood is down.
Boom mike visible: A boom mic is visible, just after Robby runs away and gets “killed”. As the owner of the house walks back into the basement after shutting the door, look above his head.
[first lines] Narrator: No one would have believed in the early years of the 21st 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, 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 planet with envious eyes and slowly, and surely, drew their plans against us.
Ray Ferrier: Get in, Manny, or you’re gonna die!
Ray Ferrier: We’re leaving this house in 60 seconds.
Ray Ferrier: There’s nothing living in that direction!
Ogilvy: They’ve been planning this for a million years. We’re beat to shit.[last lines] Narrator: From the moment the invaders arrived, breathed our air, ate and drank, they were doomed. They were undone, destroyed, after all of man’s weapons and devices had failed, by the tiniest creatures that God in his wisdom put upon this earth. By the toll of a billion deaths, man had earned his immunity, his right to survive among this planet’s infinite organisms. And that right is ours against all challenges. For neither do men live nor die in vain.
Ray Ferrier: Please. My daughter.
Ogilvy: Think about it. They defeated the greatest power in the world in a couple days. Walked right over us. And these were only the first. They’ll keep coming. This is not a war any more than there’s a war between men and maggots… This is an extermination.
Ray Ferrier: [playing catch with Robbie] Mom says you got a report due on Monday?[Robbie is trying to hitch a ride with passing soldiers] Ray Ferrier: Robbie, you want to go in that direction? There is nothing *living* in that direction!
Robbie Ferrier: Yeah, I’ve already written it, I just gotta finish typing it.
Ray Ferrier: Yeah, bullshit.
Robbie Ferrier: Yeah? So what do you know, Ray?
Ray Ferrier: Everything. Between me and my brother, we know everything.
Rachel Ferrier: What is the capital of Australia?
Ray Ferrier: That’s one my brother knows.
Robbie Ferrier: I’m sure you’ve got a laugh out of the first hundred times you’ve told that one, Ray.
Ray Ferrier: Just do your report, we don’t send you to school so you can flunk out.
Robbie Ferrier: You don’t pay for it, Tim does.
Ray Ferrier: [hesitates furiously for a second, then throws the ball really hard at Robbie, Robbie catches it hardly] That’s half of what I got.
Robbie Ferrier: You’re an asshole.
[throws the ball hard at Ray] Robbie Ferrier: I hate coming here.
Ray Ferrier: That why you act like such a dick?
[throws the ball super hard, but Robbie steps out of the way and allows the ball to crash through the window]
Robbie Ferrier: What do you care? You never gave a shit before! You never gave a shit!
Ray Ferrier: Okay, hard-ass. You’re in charge now? So what’s your plan?
Robbie Ferrier: We catch up with these soldiers, and we head back there, and we get back at them! We get back at them!
Ray Ferrier: Okay, now come up with a plan that doesn’t involve your 10-year-old sister joining the Army! You got anything like that?
Robbie Ferrier: Why don’t you tell the truth? You don’t know where to go! You only chose Boston because you hope Mom is there; You hope she is there, and then you can dump us on her! Then you will only have to care about yourself, which is exactly the way you like it!
Robbie Ferrier: If we had any balls, why don’t we go back and find one of those things and kill it?
Ray Ferrier: Thank you, but maybe you should let me handle the big decisions.
Robbie Ferrier: When will that be, Ray? Never? Never is about your speed.
Ray Ferrier: Ok, enough of the “Ray” shit! It”s “Dad,” or “Sir!” Or if you like, “Mr. Ferrier.” I know it sounds a little weird to me but you decide.
Ray Ferrier: [as Robbie walks past him] There he is. Hey, Robbie. You got a hug? A confusing handshake? Kick in the teeth? The door’s locked.
Ray Ferrier: Where the hell did you go?
Robbie Ferrier: Over on Lincoln Avenue. By the church.
Ray Ferrier: You saw the lightning? Were you near it?
Robbie Ferrier: Yeah. 26 times we counted, over and over again. The lightning just started hitting. It opened up this, like, hole or something. I don’t know.
Ray Ferrier: 26 times?
Robbie Ferrier: Yeah.
Ray Ferrier: You’re okay?
Robbie Ferrier: Yeah.
Ray Ferrier: Good. All right, well, your sister is in the house. And I want you to go in that house and I want you to stay with her. And the next time you take my car with no driver’s license and no permission, I call the cops.
Ray Ferrier: [imitates Robbie] Okay, this is your space
[motions with hand] Rachel Ferrier: You aren’t doing it right, Dad.
Ray Ferrier: Lightning never strikes in the same place twice.
Ray Ferrier: [watching the lightning storm behind his house] Where’s the thunder?
Rachel Ferrier: Am I okay?
[Ray stares wide-eyed at the window, terrified beyond speech] Rachel Ferrier: Are *you* okay?
Ray Ferrier: It’s just like the 4th of July.[Rachel is running to the trees to use the “bathroom”] Ray Ferrier: Stay where I can see you.
Rachel Ferrier: No, it’s not.
Rachel Ferrier: I don’t want you looking at me!
Ray Ferrier: I won’t, but stay in sight.
Rachel Ferrier: That’s looking!
Ray Ferrier: Two for you, two for Robbie, two for me… One for the house.
Robbie Ferrier: This is your space. You own this.
Ray’s Boss: Do you know what your problem is?
Ray Ferrier: I could think of a couple of women that’d be happy to tell ya.
Ray Ferrier: [about Tripods] You mean there’s more than one?
News Producer: You’ve got to be kidding me, right?
Ray Ferrier: Look at the goddamned birds!
Ray Ferrier: I was right in the middle of one of those!
News Producer: You didn’t see this from this angle.
Ray Ferrier: I am *not* going to let my daughter die because of you.
Ray Ferrier: Ketchup. Mustard. Thousand Island Dressing. Vinaigrette. This is good, Robbie. I told you to pack *food*. What the hell is this?
Robbie Ferrier: That’s all that was in your kitchen.
Rachel Ferrier: Where’s Mom?
Ray Ferrier: In Boston.
Rachel Ferrier: Where’s Mom? I want Mom.
Ray Ferrier: I know.
Rachel Ferrier: [shouts] I want Mom! I want Mom! I want Mommmm!
Ray Ferrier: [shouts] That’s what I’m trying to do!
Ray Ferrier: This… This machine it just started… torching everyone… killing everything.
Rachel Ferrier: What are we supposed to do for food?
Ray Ferrier: You know – order.
Ray Ferrier: [takes a bite of food] What is that?
Rachel Ferrier: Hommus.
Ray Ferrier: Hommus?
Rachel Ferrier: Yeah, from the Health food place, I kept a menu last time we were here.
Ray Ferrier: [just stares at her with anger] Rachel Ferrier: …Well you said order.
Ray Ferrier: …I meant order *food*.
Rachel Ferrier: Are we gonna be okay? Is Robbie Okay?
Ray Ferrier: I don’t know.
Rachel Ferrier: What do you mean you don’t know? Are you okay?
Ray Ferrier: Where is Robbie?
Rachel Ferrier: He went out.
Ray Ferrier: Out where?
Rachel Ferrier: I don’t know. He just took your car, and left.
Ray Ferrier: Hey, Rachel, wanna see something cool?
[she comes outside, lightning strikes] Rachel Ferrier: I wanna go inside.
Ray Ferrier: It’s okay now.
Rachel Ferrier: I wanna go inside.
Ray Ferrier: All right, go ahead inside.
Rachel Ferrier: [she looks at him] I dont wanna go by myself.
Ray Ferrier: Wasn’t that cool?
Rachel Ferrier: It’s right behind our house!
News Producer: [at the site of a plane crash] Were you on that plane?
Ray Ferrier: No.
News Producer: Too bad. It would have made a hell of a story.
[shuts news van door and drives off]
Ray Ferrier: Can you think of a plan that *doesn’t* involve your 10-year-old sister joining the army?
Ray Ferrier: That is so weird. The wind is blowing *toward* the storm.
Ray Ferrier: You keep your eyes only on me, you understand? Don’t look down. Don’t look around me. I’m taking you to the car and you’re gonna want to look around but you’re not going to, are you?
Robbie Ferrier: What is it? Is it terrorists?
Ray Ferrier: These came from some place else.
Robbie Ferrier: What do you mean, like, Europe?
Ray Ferrier: No, Robbie, not like Europe!
Rachel Ferrier: I’m allergic to peanut butter.
Ray Ferrier: Since when?
Rachel Ferrier: Birth.
Ray Ferrier: Enough of the “Ray” shit, all right? It’s Dad. Sir. Or if you want, Mr. Ferrier… That sounds a little weird to me, but you decide.
Rachel Ferrier: *Dad*
Ray Ferrier: Yes, Rachel.
Rachel Ferrier: I gotta go to the bathroom.
Ray Ferrier: [Ray is standing over the hole where the lightning struck in the street, and picks up a piece of rock] Ray Ferrier: Agh!
Man on street: Is it hot?
Ray Ferrier: No, it’s freezing.
Ray Ferrier: Look-there’s two things we’ve gotta watch out for, and the second is people that might want our car.
Initially estimated to have a 2007 release date, this film was abruptly green-lighted in mid-August 2004 for a 2005 release, when director Steven Spielberg and star Tom Cruise happened to become available when other projects stalled.
Director Trademark: [Steven Spielberg] [Music] score by John Williams.
During the filming of the underwater scenes (where the ferry capsizes) Steven Spielberg played a prank on Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning by playing the dramatic music from Jaws (also one of Spielberg’s films) through the massive underwater speakers on the sound stage.
According to an interview with Miranda Otto, she originally turned down the part offered by Steven Spielberg as she was newly pregnant. However, Spielberg wanted her to play the part and changed the script to incorporate her pregnancy into the role.
In the cellar, note the multi-colored lights just prior to the probe entering. This references the red, blue and green lights from the probe in the 1953 version of the film, The War of the Worlds, though no part of the probe in this film emits any of those colors.
When the aliens are investigating the junk in the basement, one of them plays with a bicycle wheel. This is tied to the original book when the main character observes that, with all the advanced technology the aliens possess, they don’t use any wheels, and wonders if the alien life form had skipped the invention of the wheel.
The race of invading aliens is never actually stated to be Martians. The word “alien” is never used in the whole movie either.
Some army troops used were from the 29th Division (Maryland Army National Guard), known as “The Blue and the Gray” from their yin-yang looking shoulder patch (visible when the day convoy went by the Ferrier’s and the son was getting splashed).
Some of the troops used in the military sequences are from the 10th Mountain Division.
There is a Jaws movie poster hanging on one of the walls in Ray’s house at the beginning of the film.
When Ray (Tom Cruise) first encounters the aliens, there is a street sign behind him displaying “Van Buren”. Van Buren was the surname of Ann Robinson’s character in the The War of the Worlds.
Gene Barry and Ann Robinson (from the 1953 original The War of the Worlds) play the Grandparents.
Tim Robbins’s line, “It’s not a war any more than it’s a war between men and maggots”, is a slightly modified quote from the original novel, substituting “maggots” for “ants”. The line was also used in the infamous 1939 Orson Welles radio broadcast. In addition, the news reporter’s line, “Once they begin to move, no more news comes out of that area”, is taken directly from The War of the Worlds. Also taken from the original film were the scenes with the probe examining the basement, followed by the inquisitive aliens. Tom Cruise chops the head off the probe with an axe, just as Gene Barry did in the original. Also, the shot of the dying alien’s arm coming down the ramp is a reference to a similar shot in the original film.
Tim Robbins’ character is a combination of three different characters from the H.G. Wells novel: is named Ogilvy after a friend to the Narrator; the Curate who gets trapped in the ruined house with the main character, and the Artilleryman, whose behavior and dialog is the main basis for the film’s character.
The lullaby sung by Rachel is “Hushabye Mountain” from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
This is one of the first movies to show The United States Marine Corps new MARPAT digital camouflage uniforms, as well as the Interceptor body armor vests used by all branches of the US military.
The tripod design for the alien machines is based on H.G. Wells’ original description from his book, including the heat rays at the ends of arms. The “red weed” is also from the novel, as is the alien “need” for humans.
An actual out-of-use Boeing 747 was bought to be used as the crashed plane.
The movie was shipped to some theaters under the title “Uncle Sam” and to others under the name “Party in Fresno”.
The wide shot of the bridge exploding, followed by a tanker crashing into a group of houses as the minivan escapes, was conceived of, and shot, only one month prior to its footage premiering during the SuperBowl spot, effects ready and all.
Ray drives a rare 1966 Shelby Mustang GT-350H, black with gold stripes. 1,001 were produced in total, with around 800 being produced in the black and gold color scheme. Also known as the “Rent-A-Racer”, it was available for rent at Hertz for $17 per day and 17 cents per mile. An original example sold at auction in 2006 for $180,900, and since a crane driver would be unlikely to own such a valuable car, it is probably one of the many replicas which have subsequently been made, worth a fraction of that.
While filming in Bayonne, New Jersey, studio Paramount Pictures offered quick cash to residents who lived on First Street and Pointview Terrace to move their cars off the block, between a Tuesday and Friday. This was in order for the film crew to resume shooting.
The crew started filming only seven months prior to its release. In order to finish all 500+ CGI effects, Steven Spielberg did all the big action scenes in the early stages of shooting.
While scenes were being shot at the riverbank on Connecticut River in Windsor, Connecticut, two life-sized mannequins being used as extras had gotten free and drifted into the river. The production’s water-safety crew performed a search but weren’t able to recover the mannequins. Police departments along the river were notified of the missing mannequins, according to Windsor police Lt. Shannon Haynes, who said, “We just wanted them to know that if they got any calls about bodies floating in the river.”
The voiceover monologue from the first trailer for the film paraphrases and updates the first paragraph from H.G. Wells’s novel. For example, “19th century” is changed to “21st century”.
This is the third incarnation of The War of the Worlds story that Ann Robinson has appeared in, having played Sylvia Van Buren in the original 1953 film The War of the Worlds and then reprising her role for three episodes in the TV series, War of the Worlds.
Had a 72-day shooting schedule. This was the same amount of time used for Steven Spielberg’s previous movies, Schindler’s List and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
There were rumors of the movie’s title being changed to “Out of the Night”, but was thought to produce a negative fan reaction. The title was also believed to be used as an alias to keep unwanted people away from the set.
Steven Spielberg owns one of the last copies of the Orson Welles radio script, which he purchased at an auction. The director wanted to make the film years ago, but decided against it when Independence Day was released. However, the director wanted to work with Tom Cruise again after Minority Report and picked War of the Worlds as their next project.
When filming on a residential street in Howell, New Jersey, the actors took refuge in the garages of near-by homes for warmth.
Director Trademark: [Steven Spielberg] [rear-view mirror] important image seen in rear-view mirror.
While filming nearby, Tom Cruise, along with a 20-member entourage, including Steven Spielberg, visited a Lexington, Virginia, Dairy Queen. Cruise saw a jar on the counter with a photo of Ashley Flint and her story. Flint was in a go-cart accident a few months earlier, leaving her family with a mountain of hospital bills. Cruise put $5000 cash into the jar.
Tom Cruise’s sixth consecutive film to break the $100m barrier domestically since 2000 and his 13th movie to break that barrier in total.
There are very few panoramic images in this movie. Almost all shots, also during the tripod attacks, were filmed with the camera set at a person’s eye-sight. This manner of filming was influenced by the amateur footage of the terrorist attacks on New York City of 11 September 2001.
The “Ulla” war cry the Tripods made, was made with a didgeridoo and computer effects.
Shots that were seen in the trailer were not in the finished theatrical release. The most notable of these is named “camelot” for its ethereal lighting design where Robbie, Ray and Rachel encounter a roving battalion of tripods in a deserted Massachusetts neighborhood. They watch from behind a SUV as a tripod pulls people out of a building with its tentacles.
Rachel has a poster of The Saddle Club in her room.
WILHELM SCREAM: Near the end of the movie, an alien tripod ship comes crashing down and it, as well as rubble, crushes a soldier, the soldier screams.
The organism seen in the opening sequence is known as the Paramecium, being a unicellular pond water protozoan that is a eukaryote, shown complete with cilia, oral groove, macro nucleus and central vacuole.
One scene shows Ray running out of the house to find Robbie, while dozens of people are right outside his house photographing the lightning storm. To film the scene, producers hired people on the street to come to the street at the time of shooting with a camera and film so they could get pictures of Tom Cruise for free.
According to an interview George Lucas gave time.com (“A Conversation with George Lucas”, posted Tuesday, Mar. 14, 2006), War of the Worlds is the first movie where Steven Spielberg turned away from traditional storyboarding and used a Pre-Vis system. He also stated that he had introduced Spielberg to Pre-Vis on Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
After Ray and the kids reach dry land when the ferry is attacked and sunk, air raid sirens go off. On the day of extras casting in Athens, New York, the air raid sirens were tested, causing jokes among the extras that the Martians were coming too soon before the cameras.
Right before the Hudson Ferry scene, Ray and his children watch in horror as a locomotive speeds by on fire, and out of control. The train is part of the MTA Metro-North Railroad, which runs in New York, New Jersey, and Conneticut. It can be identified by the paint scheme on the side.
This is the first major motion picture to use real M1 Abrams tanks instead of other tanks dressed up to resemble them.
A segment of a scene early in the film, in which people are seen fleeing from a tripod (panic-stricken crowd running along a street while buildings are being destroyed by a tripod in the background), recreates the subject-matter of the painting “Panic in the Streets” by Geoff Taylor, a print of which was included in the booklet accompanying the 1978 release of “Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds”.
The gun that the man puts to Ray’s head is a SIG-Sauer P226.