10 Most Divisive Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century

9. War Of The Worlds

christian bale equilibrium
Paramount Pictures

Strangely it was the audience and not the critics who were not too keen on Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise's take on H. G. Wells classic alien invasion story. Despite grossing nearly $600 million and gaining mostly positive reviews from critics, audiences only gave War of the Worlds 42% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes audience score.

One major factor could be attributed to an American audience's appetite (or lack of appetite) for seeing New York surrounded in rubble after a foreign attack post 9/11. The parallels to the attack on the World Trade Center are fairly unsubtle with one memorable sequence showing Cruise's character running away from the epicentre of the attack on the city as people around him are literally being reduced to the dust that surrounds him at ground zero.

Despite having all the key ingredients: a veteran director, a proven box office star and being based on a well-known text the 2005 sci-fi epic felt like it was missing something. Amongst the inability to fully realise the text, Cruise's public image had seemingly overnight being tarnished with his widely publicised Scientology rants and his constant declarations of love for Katie Holmes splashed across the tabloids. Whatever the reason audiences were left with a bitter taste in their mouth after seeing this film.


An avid cinephile, love Trainspotting (the film, not the hobby), like watching bad films ironically (The Room, Cats) and hate my over-reliance on brackets (they’re handy for a quick aside though).