Spoiler: Giant robots attack the Earth, everyone dies.
This is a four year old movie that I saw once and never thought about again, because it was cool, but kinda meh. Until the end, and then it sucked. But it's Spielberg, you say! Yes, I say. Which is why I was so disappointed. Anyway, it's on ABC right now, and just thinking about the last forty seconds of the movie (about 7 hours away, at this point in the film's progression) kinda pissed me off.
So, why did Steven Spielgberg's War of the Worlds suck? You can talk about his daddy issues taking over the story like they always do, you can talk about the questionable strength of the 'our superior immune systems beat their bajillion light year into the future technology by letting the piddly remnants of our race outlast their killing spree'. But in truth, Spielberg's WotW suckness can be pinpointed on a single detail that for me was like a kick to the face after what could have been a passable film.
The snot-nose teenage son survives. He turns his back on his family, run over a hill into heavy napalm blasts, where everyone is being destroyed by giant killer robots from space, he disappears for half the movie...
And then walks up the street at the end kinda dirty lookin', but otherwise like it was no big deal. Fuck that. Talk about taking all the bite out of your work. Are you serious, Steven? So after all that crap, about Tom Cruise finally stepping into the role of father and taking care of his children, the kid that says 'fuck off' and runs headfirst into an explosive warzone, he's fine. Survived it on his own. Way to completely undermine any point you could have possibly been trying to make, as well as diminish any loss the viewer could have connected to directly. Their whole family survives and is together again to rebuild both humanity and their family anew.
Oh, here comes the scene. Where after watching probably ten thousand people in a matter of seven hours get brutally massacred, instead of running the hell away with his dad, he decides to... join the military, which is totally ineffectual against its enemy and commit suicide?
"I need to be here, I need to see this, you need to let me go." So... a part of father hood is letting go of your children when they've become adults?
Fine. Tom Cruise lets him go. That's fine for Tom Cruise's character. But no way in hell did that little punk survive the giant fireball of aliens that came over that ridge if the US Military didn't.
Fail, Steven. Fail.