Hollywood can officially flush its hopes for a summer recovery down the toilet with the release of this shockingly unimaginative remake, which at its flashiest resembles a megabucks retrofitting of parts left over from Universal Studios' Earthquake and Kongfrontation rides; at its dreariest, it's an off-putting case of Steven Spielberg stooping to prove he understands blue-collar dysfunction. An utter lack of plausibility reigns as a group of grubby, squabbling New Jerseyans escapes the clutches of marauding aliens … by running from them really fast. While Spielberg's attempt to maintain a "realistic," ground-level view of the invasion is laudable, it keeps getting sacrificed to the commercial demands of big FX sequences and his writing team's misunderstanding of mob psychology and basic physics. Not only did H.G. Wells, Orson Welles and George Pal do this stuff better, but M. Night Shyamalan did, too. And how often do you get to say that? With Tom Cruise, tragically miscast in a role that appears to call for an actor.
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