In 2005, Steven Spielberg embarked on the adaptation of “The War of the Worlds”. This is the second time that HG Wells’ novel has been brought to the cinema. But did you really understand the end of the film? You are presented with another way of analyzing this outcome.
War of the Worlds : Steven Spielberg adapts a sci-fi classic
It’s in 1898 that the novel War of the Worlds is published for the first time. Written by HG Wells, this story of an alien race that lands on Earth to steal our natural resources is quickly becoming one of the defining echelons of modern science fiction. Due to the success of this novel, War of the Worlds has been adapted for film twice. The first time in 1953 under the direction of Byron Haskin, and the second time in 2005 by Steven Spielberg.
Worn by Tom Cruise, War of the Worlds was successful at all levels. At the Oscars, he gets three nominations. On the box office side, Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster brings in more than $600 million at the worldwide box office for a budget of 132 million.
A hidden end?
There are several ways to interpret the outcome of War of the Worlds. Remember, at the end of the film, humanity is saved at the last minute from the extraterrestrial threat. These beings from elsewhere die mysteriously because of the presence of a terrestrial virus. Somehow, the immune defenses of planet Earth have overcome this galactic threat. Subsequently, Ray Ferrier, the character played by Tom Cruise, arrives with his daughter at the parents of his ex-wife. He discovers that his son is ultimately not dead and has managed to reach his grandparents’ house.
This somewhat too simple denouement can be analyzed in another way. What if Ray Ferrier had imagined everything, and his son was really dead? Indeed, Steven Spielberg’s staging is a bit surprising at the end of War of the Worlds. The filmmaker connects his sequences in a way that does not resemble him. While the director focuses on the gaze of Tom Cruise, the son of his hero, played by Justin Chatwin, enters the field like an apparitionwithout viewers seeing him explicitly exiting his grandparents’ house.
It’s quite hard to imagine how Robbie Ferrier could have survived the alien attack. Even though his death would be offscreen, a lot of things seem to point to his passing. In this final sequence, Robbie only interacts with his father, as if the rest of the characters didn’t see it. He is always staged in shots where he is alone, and is never presented in the same field as his mother, played by Miranda Otto. Even his own sister doesn’t interact with him.
In line with Minority Report
Steven Spielberg could therefore have replayed the recipe for Minority Report (2002). A fake happy ending which could actually take place in the mind of the protagonist. In it, John Anderton is released from prison and reconnects with his ex-wife, who is now expecting a child. But Steven Spielberg leaves several clues to imply that all this would be only an idyllic dream of the hero (like for example the grain change in the image). If we follow this logic, the character of Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds brings his daughter back to his ex-girlfriend. But his eldest son would have died during the war against the extraterrestrials.
Since the two films respond to each other, especially in the theme of the failure of a father who is trying to reconnect with his children, we can possibly believe that Spielberg has replayed the double reading card. A way also, for him, to smoke out the Paramount with a positive conclusion, but a more ambiguous narration. In any case, we leave you to analyze the end of War of the Worlds as you wish. And we invite you to give us your opinion on the matter.