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War of the Worlds

Question: When Tom Cruise is battling to get free of the tentacle pulling him into the ship from the cage, there is alien (presumably) writing visible on the underside of the tripod just beyond his arm and above the lights. Can someone shed light on what this may say (theories, previously suggested writer/director thoughts)?

Question: Before Tom Cruise is ushered into the tunnel in Boston, he tells the army man, "______ is the key." What does he say; what is the key?

Answer: It is actually the army guy who says this, not Tom Cruise. Cruise notices the birds are able to land on the tripod and realizes the shields are down. He points this out to the army guy who yells to his men "The Javelin is the key." The Javelin is the anti-tank weapon they use to take the tripod down.

Question: What happened to Ogilvy?

Answer: Ray couldn't trust Ogilvy to be quiet when the aliens arrived. So Ray had to kill Oglivy in order to save him and his daughter.

Question: Is it realistic to think that Manny, the garage mechanic would have NO idea of what was going on when Ray steals the van from him? After all this is probably about 20 minutes after the Tripod emerged a few blocks away. Surely news would travel faster than that! And you'd think Manny would have felt the massive tripod moving or heard the destruction.

Answer: There's no electricity, so the only way Manny could have heard was through word of mouth. The few survivors from the initial attack scattered in different directions and if any happened Manny's way, they were probably too busy running to stop to explain anything to a garage mechanic. As for his awareness of the destruction, anything he may have felt or heard he likely dismissed as further manifestations of the freak electrical storm.

JC Fernandez

Question: Can you ever see inside the tripod???

Answer: No, the closest we ever get to see is at the end when a hatch opens up and one of the aliens slips out of the hatch.

GalahadFairlight

Question: Does anyone have any clue as to why the aliens are vapourising people when they first appear? They never seem to do it again after that one scene (instead opting to grab them and drain them). Any help would be appreciated.

Answer: The aliens saw the humans as an immediate threat to their ship getting out from underground, so opted to vaporise anyone in the near vicinity so that it could leave the ground unimpeded.

GalahadFairlight

Question: When all of the people are trying to get on the boat, how does a tripod just randomly come out of the water like that?

Answer: While it's never explained, there are several possibilities: as all the tripods were buried deep underground, this one may have been lodged below the lake and was just emerging. Also, a tripod could have "walked" from somewhere else, then went underwater to explore, and, attracted by the ferry's noise and movement, surfaced to investigate. It's also conceivable that, observing how ferries worked, it slipped underwater from further away and ambushed the boat, or the tripod was simply making a crossing from one shore to the other (traveling underwater if it was deep enough) and just happened upon the ferry when it did.

raywest

Question: How were the tripods underground for so long and no one noticed them?

Answer: It is never explained how or why they were underground or just how long they had been thre. However, they may have been buried too deep to have been detected.

raywest

Question: How did Robbie survive?

Answer: Dumb luck? A soldier chased him off from the fighting? Who knows?

Grumpy Scot

Question: How come Boston was relatively intact with no signs of destruction?

Answer: The Martians hadn't gotten that far yet.

Grumpy Scot

Question: What exactly is the lightning the aliens use to get inside the tripods? How does it work?

Answer: Impossible to answer, there's no indication onscreen as to how.

GalahadFairlight

Question: What's all the orange liquid that comes out of the tripods?

Answer: This has been answered before. The liquid, which is apparently a mixture containing human blood, is a defoliant that destroys Earth's foliage and replaces it with alien vegetation.

raywest

Question: Why caused the tripods shields to go down?

Answer: The aliens, who had no resistance to Earth's germs and microbes, were falling ill and dying, causing the tripods and the shields to fail.

raywest

Question: Can anybody shed some light on how the Tripod's laser works?

Answer: This question is beyond answering here. There is nothing to go on other that what we can see onscreen. Anyone's attempt to actually answer this question would be purely speculative.

GalahadFairlight

Question: Is there any indication as to where the aliens come from and what exactly they want?

Answer: In the original George Pal version they were Martians and the reasoning for what they were doing was never explained. In this version, its never explained where they come from, but their mission is simple, to eradicate human life from Earth, and use our bodies to fertilise the planet, probably so that they can colonise the planet for themselves.

GalahadFairlight

Question: Several other answers and corrections state that the reddish liquid sprayed by the tripods was what essentially grew the red vines. However I thought I heard someone in the film say something along the lines of "using us (i.e. blood) as fertiliser". Can someone please clarify?

Answer: Since the tripods tended to spray the red fluid shortly after pulling a human into themselves, it seems a good assumption that the red fluid is essentially blood. Given this, it seems likely that the "spore" of the vines is spread in the red fluid.

scwilliam

Question: Aside from puzzling the heck out of aliens who never invented the wheel, was the bicycle in the cellar bit perhaps a little directorial homage to ET?

Answer: This is probably a bit of a stretch. I have two old bicycles in my basement.

wizard_of_gore

Question: In the scene where Tom Cruise and co. are in the tripod's 'basket', a man is sucked up into the tripod and no-one does anything, but as soon as its Cruise's turn everyone grabs him to try and help, why?

Answer: As there are no audio commentaries its hard to know for sure why this is, but when the guy is sucked up the people in the basket are trying to get out and most are panicked. Add to that they weren't sure what was going to happen to the guy might have made them unsure of helping him out. The next time they would know what was going to happen and perhaps were now prepared to help.

Lummie

Question: How exactly were the birds involved in the death of the Tripods?

Answer: They were not involved as such, but the fact that they were able to land on the tripods told Ray that the shields were down and the tripods could be destroyed.

Twotall

Question: When Rachel is laying on the couch in Harlan's basement and Ray is holding her hand, she shows him a medal that she won. What did she win it for?

Answer: She was showing him a third place ribbon that she won at a horse show.

s.ounder

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Quotes

Ray: They came from someplace else.
Robbie: What do you mean, like, Europe?
Ray: No, Robbie, not like Europe!

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Mistakes

On the ferry, Rachel wears the purple/pink camouflage hoodie OVER her orange knit sweater with the colorful stripe sleeves, as usual. Now this is where things become strange. In the first shot as the trio come ashore, she is only wearing her orange sweater, she is not wearing the purple/pink hoodie – note the clear lack of fur hood. In the very next shot as they climb a bit more and then rest, Rachel is wearing the purple/pink hoodie – note the hood, but now it's on UNDER her orange sweater. In the underwater shots she is also wearing it under the orange sweater. (This odd mistake has absolutely nothing to do with the very long wool cloak that Rachel wears in the next scene.)

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Trivia

In an early scene in which Rachel is watching television, she's channel surfing. At one point, she hits briefly upon a shot of a car being demolished by a speeding locomotive. This is, in fact, a scene from "The Greatest Show on Earth," which Steven Spielberg has reported as the first movie he ever saw.

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