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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2005), PG-13 [R-13*] (1hr 49min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
June 28, 2005
32 out of 100

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(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2005), PG-13 [R-13*] -- Quite a change from the original.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Amblin Entertainment, Cruise/Wagner Productions
Distribution (US): Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG
Director(s): Steven Spielberg
Producer(s): Kathleen Kennedy, Paula Wagner, Colin Wilson
Novel: H.G. Wells
Screenplay: Josh Friedman, David Koepp
Cinematography/Camera: Janusz Kaminski
Music: John Williams
Film Editing: Michael Kahn
Casting: Terri Taylor, Debra Zane
Production Design: Rick Carter
Art Direction: Tony Fanning, Andrew Menzies, Edward Pisoni, Tom Warren
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

I was invited to and was able to attend a local screening of War of the Worlds (2005) late night Tuesday, June 28, 2005, the night before the first showing. I was also able to complete the scoring calculations early AM of opening day.

Since I was able to get the scoring calculations completed early AM of June 29, folks who have joined our private distribution email list received the scoring data for this film at 2:55 AM the morning of the opening day, plenty of time before the first showing. Barring delays such as happened with this report, early information is possible for several of the films we analyze. If you join our private distribution list you may occasionally receive early information, too.

But due to numerous higher priority action items (taking our foster daughter whom we will be adopting [adoption number eight] to her cardiologist and a plethora of foster/adoptive parenting and licensing matters) I was not able to prepare this Summary/Commentary nor the web page until today, July 3, a five-day delay. Since War of the Worlds is four days old already it may be useless to continue. But I am going to anyway.

The bottom line is that until this ministry can provide enough operating expenses and salary that my wife can quit her job to be the one to stay home with the nine kids (seven adopted kids, one foster daughter soon to be adopted and another foster daughter), this ministry takes a back seat.

Until full funding is available for operation of the CAP ministry, delays such as this are inevitable (and many analyses missed altogether).

[I'll get to War of the Worlds in a minute or two.]

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    On to War of the Worlds.

    There are a few things the same between The War of the Worlds (1953) and War of the Worlds (2005). First, they both use the same title except for "The." Second, both are based on the novel by H. G. Wells. Third, the main character in this 2005 version, Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) chops at an alien probe tentacle as it snoops a wrecked house as Dr. Forester (Gene Barry) did in the 1953 version, but Ferrier does not chop the head of it off as Forester did. Also, " God's infinite wisdom" is used in the narration for both and for the same reason. One more. The same critter that saved mankind from the aliens in the 2005 version saved us in the 1953 version.

    Above is about all that was the same between the two versions. The level of extremes in the 2005 version was magnitudes more "severe" than the 1953 version. As noted in the comparative of the two films shown below, the content, though magnificent and awesome from an artful and technological perspective, showed the same contempt for wholesome values and moral standards as any other modern R-13.

    Quite a change from the original. Quite a change for sure. Another sign of the times it is when that which is is more bold than ever is "honored among men." [Ps. 12:8] Indeed. we have become so drugged by the narcotics of extremes that what once was morally unacceptable has become morally invisible.

    The sage and seasoned Morgan Freeman provides narration of the introduction explaining how aliens have had their eyes on the Earth for a long time and are just now beginning their assault. For a long time indeed. Perhaps a million years (according to the script). Too bad mankind as we know it was not here to see it, figuratively speaking of course.

    In the 1953 version, the aliens (from Mars) were trying to exterminate humans so they could take over our planet. In this 2005 version, aliens are here, from where was not told, to harvest human blood for food like mosquitoes. Only these mosquitoes are assault machines about 100 feet tall with three legs, not six. The aliens themselves are about three feet tall but indeed do have a bug-like appearance. Thanks to vastly improved technology, we get to see more of the aliens in this 2005 version than the 1953 version.

    The beginning of the film brings the aliens to Newark, NJ ... and hundreds of other earthly locations. After dockworker Ray's ex-wife Mary Anne (Miranda Otto) with fancy new hubby in tow drops off the Ferrier kids, young teen with an attitude Robbie (Justin Chatwin) and preteen with an age-appropriately smaller attitude Rachel (Dakota Fanning), things begin to fall apart. Literally. In some of the most visually astounding and ear-piercing gargantuan and even godzillian Olympian cinematography I have ever seen, the aliens who arrived in lightning bolts bring up from the depths of the Earth their attack tripods left here a long, long time ago from a galaxy far, far away. Anything in the way is pulverized with such attention to cinematic detail as might not have been seen before.

    Let me sermonize for a few moments.

    About Robbie's attitude. It seems the only thing the young teen boy knows how to do is show disrespect toward and defiance of his father. The film was rife with teen and preteen arrogance at their father as he fought to keep them from harm's way. All arrogance by the children toward their father was justified, of course, by their parents being divorced and how the step father was so much nicer because he gave them anything they wanted. This dissonance is sort of like the father giving the kids meat-n-veggies while the stepfather gave them cake-n-ice cream.

    However "justified" by the story the arrogance and disrespect might be, it is wrong to be hateful to parents and they to their kids. The emboldenment to emulate such behavior created by no consequences suggests an air of acceptability of arrogance and disrespect toward fair authority. More often than desirable, your words explaining the unacceptability of arrogant and disrespectful behavior will mean little to nothing when the 20 x 60 foot character on screen is so successful at disrespect and defiance with no palpable consequences. Your kids will pick it up. Easily. Whether they act on it is a different matter, but whether they act on it the behavioral template is planted. And with the appropriate provocation, whether from you or an exo-familial source, the little straight pins of attitude will resurface. [Eph. 6:1 - 3, Eph. 6:4, Col. 3:20]

    A note about using aberrant behavior in and as entertainment as a contrast teaching tool. Too often using misbehavior in and as entertainment to teach about the evils of misbehavior teaches more how not to behave than how to behave. Instead of teaching them "how-not-to", using misbehavior in and as entertainment to teach may teach them "how-to-not."

    By the way, there was not one shred of progeny arrogance against parental authority in the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds. Why, then, is there so much of it in this 2005 version? Sort of has something to say about modern entertainment, doesn't it.

    Back to the film.

    A subplot that might not be picked up and may even be ignored by your kids in favor of the emboldenment-inducing displays of "kiss-off" by a teen to his father, Ray becomes more of a father than ever under the crushing dangers looming in or launching every minute.

    Once above the ground and fully functional, the alien tripods commence their massive destruction and carnage. Indiscriminately the aliens murder massive numbers of humans as they march through cities and countrysides all over the Earth. There is an odd point in the plot. If the aliens are here to harvest humans for food, why do the aliens disintegrate so many of us? Well, there's no accounting for logic.

    The "ray gun" weapons the aliens use literally explode the victim, evaporating much of the victim's body then casting body pieces and parts about like slabs of rotten meat. The tripods also gather humans by prehensile tentacles and pull them up to the tripod body. In one scene, clothes fell to the Earth like rain.

    Ray and kids are the focal point in this latest installment of extreme sci-fi mayhem. Stealing a van, Ray transports his kids and himself away from the aliens and their lust for human blood. Ray's goal is to get the kids back to their mother in Boston. But everywhere Ray goes, the aliens are there ... or soon get there.

    The frenzied appearance that comes from the use of a hand-held camera gives this film a chaotic and terror sense befitting the carnage and mayhem it portrays. One of the scenes truly worthy of the R-13 was Rachel watching hundreds of dead bodies float down a river. Even the filmmakers, in this case, recognized the inappropriateness of exposing children to such imagery and had Ray shield Rachel's vision from the sight but only too late to be useful. Repeatedly, Ray protected Rachel from sights he felt were potentially damaging to youth. The dead bodies in the river was one. The imagery of a downed 747 was another.

    The 1953 version presented not even one use of the three four letter word vocabulary nor even one use of God's name in vain with or without the four letter expletive. The 2005 version can't boast that.

    While War of the Worlds (2005) is void of any sexually-oriented material except for Robbie using an anatomical reference [Eph. 5:4], and while there was only one instance each of booze and drinking [Eph. 5:18], four of the six CAP investigation areas {Wanton Violence/Crime (W), Impudence/Hate (I), Offense to God (O) and Murder/Suicide (M)} each found content equivalent to many R-rated films. Each of three of those four investigation areas (W, I and M) found programming severe enough to earn a zero out of 100 score. The fourth of those four, Offense to God, revealed programming severe enough to earn a score of five out of 100. R-rated films in the comparative baseline database earned scores of 54 and below out of 100.

    While War of the Worlds (2005) is G-equivalent in Sexual Immorality and Drugs/Alcohol, it is equivalent to R-rated films in each of the remaining four investigation areas discussed below.

    The Influence Density score of 1.97 further corroborates the "R-ness" of this film since R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database earned influence density scores of 0.86 to 2.04 (the higher the figure the more "R" the film). I would say 1.97 fits right in there.

    The content found by the Wanton Violence/Crime and Murder/Suicide investigation areas has already been discussed to some detail. The content found by the Impudence/Hate investigation area consisted mostly of the arrogance and rebellion by progeny toward their father and a plethora of uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary [Col. 3:8]. The Offense to God investigation area found several uses of God's name in vain both with and without the four letter expletive [Deut 5:11], some of them by adolescents which invokes Luke 17:2. There were so many murders by the aliens that a cheapened sense of the precious worth of life itself may be invoked in the observer. If you suddenly realize after viewing this film it would be easier to kill anything, practice Phil. 4:8. Maybe we should all practice Phil. 4:8 anyway.


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Eph. 6:1 - 3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth
  • Eph. 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. [If you have the time, please read our publication entitled Spare the Rod ... Spoil the Child: A Parental Perspective. In the second section is a discussion about just what is meant by "wrath." There are conditions to be met before simple anger can be called "wrath."]
  • Col. 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ["Wine" can be any intoxicating substance. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk or to drink in defiance. A recent study has found an undeniable link between the presentation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in and as entertainment and abuse of them by adolescents. And teaching/causing youth to abuse alcohol/tobacco by emboldening youth with them in and as entertainment invokes Luke 17:2]
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]
  • Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it].
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among you], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. ["Offend": skandalizo - to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away. "Little ones": mikros - little;, small of age; younger which can include at-home teens].
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)

    War of the Worlds (2005) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • storm terror
  • disaster terror, repeatedly
  • action violence, repeatedly
  • massive destruction, repeatedly
  • car theft
  • reckless driving with endangerment
  • many dead bodies before a child
  • mob chaos
  • firearm threat, repeatedly
  • mass panic, repeatedly
  • ferry overturn with many drownings
  • abductions by aliens, many, repeatedly
  • battle sequence, repeatedly
  • massive attack sequence, repeatedly
  • terror sequence, repeatedly
  • multiple deaths by crushing
  • consumption of a human by an alien machine and attempted consumption
  • alien gore

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 20 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, several by a teen and a few at his father
  • son's arrogance at his father, many, repeatedly
  • daughter's arrogance at her father, repeatedly
  • teen theft of father's car
  • teen son calling his father by his first name, repeatedly
  • adult tantrum
  • son screaming at his father with cursing
  • teen defiance of father

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • anatomical reference by a teen

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze, once
  • drinking, once

    Offense to God (O)
  • 6 uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 7 without
  • divorce
  • blaming disaster on God

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • murder by alien, frequent, most were graphic, many were by mass murder
  • gunfire murder of a human by a human, nihilistic
  • mass homicide by aliens, repeatedly
  • individualized stabbing murder of human
  • murder by human of human to protect family

  • First Impressions and

    Christian Educators Association International



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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