Yes, finally caught it. Like many of Spielberg's movie, there were so many of his signature shots in there. He loves to do long continuous shots of conversations and do the panning around the characters maneuver. You see quite a number of these in War of the Worlds 2005. Actually I only noticed this style of his from his last film "Minority Report" and I realise that he has repeatedly used this again and again here.
One scene one might not notice, is the shot of Cruise and kids in the car for the first time, and u see how the camera is flying around them while the entire conversation is taking place. Awesome awesome awesome ..... For those who didn't notice, watch the show again and discover this. It is totally impressive.
Ok, enough of the technical stuff. How about the story? It is basically the same as what novel and the previous movie were about. Aliens arrive, aliens attack, people run, people die, people go crazy, then aliens die. Nothing unexpected, but the effects are very very impressive. There's a very simple setup, and within 15min, the action started to roll. And it is a rollercoaster ride all the way from start to finish. It is intense, and unforgiving. No holds barred aliens bent on human extermination. This is not a kiddy movie, and it does not serve to explain why things happen the way they do. It is like a documentary of what happened in the history of mankind in a few crazy days. As a result, you leave the theater with lotsa of unanswered questions. But the movie reminded the audience, that in the heat of emergencies and destruction, it is the people around you that matters. Basically, you do not stop to think, for you may die if you do, you'd just run and survive first.
The references to war are also there. Or at least if you bothered to make the references. To me, it didn't matter if it was the aliens who attacked or not - survival was all that mattered. "I don't care if you hate me .... think of your sister ... I love you", said Ray, the character played by Tom Cruise, to his son in a pivotal moment in the movie. It is the sacrifices you're willing to make to protect the ones you love, and what truly mattered or not in war. Or should I say, what didn't matter, when all you got to lose, are all the loved ones around you.
So does the ending suck this time? Hmm ... it is basically still the same as before, but I thought in light of how the movie is setup (no explanation how/why things started), it is alright that they ended with no full explanation. Maybe there will be a documentary in that world that would show on their History channel few years after the events that happened in the movie, that would explain what they found out. But we will have to satisfy with at least the scenes of how the events unfolded - and leave the rest to our imagination.