The first time I watched this movie, I was too inclined to compare it to the original - and that, along with Dakota Fanning's incessant screaming skewed me to underating the movie.
However, several years later, with expectations much more realistic have given me cause to raise the rating to 4 stars.
Tom Cruise gives a believable performance as a 'yet to grown up' father who is emotionally distanced from his children and completely overwhelmed by a situtation that would drive most adults to emotional collapse. However, with a blend of basic real-world skills and some blind luck, he is able to save his family in a constant game of outrunning the threat of an alien invasion.
Dakota Fanning, when she is not screaming, plays a believable part as the youngest of the family, and ultimately the glue that holds them together. (Although, through no skill held by that of her own character)
The effects in this movie are great, with some genuinely suspensful moments. (The basement scene with Tim Robbins as the semi-crazy survivor is brilliant for its effects and tension).
This is a great popcorn movie, with some genuinely disturbing scenes and enough new twists to liven up some well worn sci-fi territory. As such, I have now added it to my own collection with a rating of 4/5.