My review of War of the Worlds is up. Go read it, and then go to the next showing of this movie and be amazed. Yes, I know you have to work, but just call in sick. You'll thank me.
Incidentally, War of the Worlds has made me realize that at some point I stopped caring whether a movie and the book it is based on are the same. They're two different media. While I want a certain similarity to justify the term "based on," I don't really have a problem with changes to adapt to a new medium. I'm not saying it's not fair to compare the two at all, but I can do a pretty good job of judging things on their own merits and enjoying them for their own reasons, which may or may not overlap. I'm definitely not saying that movies should be off the hook for weak writing under the guise of "adapting." But in the case of War of the Worlds, for example, there are significant departures from the novel in terms of details while the actual story is very much the same. More importantly, anything lost from an imprecise adaption was compensated for by the good original features of the film that weren't in the novel, something many adaptations can't claim to have done. Most cut important things without adding anything new and worthwhile to make up for it.
But enough about that here, I've got a whole review of it elsewhere.