I was never a big Wells fan when I was younger, but I find that the more distant he becomes, the more I can enjoy the good bits and put the world view down to history.
Of course, the plot film has been updated and set in present day America. I didn't mind that at all: it's part of the menace of the story that it must be contemporary, not period - setting it in late Victorian England now would lose a lot of the essential scariness of the plot, and there is good precedent for moving it across the Atlantic. It kept me right on the edge of my seat, had some good scary moments, and although they added a pair of non-authentic kids to the story, for a wonder neither were saccharine sweet - the little girl was an excellent actress, and gave the film a focus that is on-screen (I can see that having the focus - narrator's search for his wife - almost entirely offscreen - would be rather difficult in film.)
For a wonder, there was no attempt to make the leading character an action hero type, or remove the essentially random and chaotic nature of the ending - the hero *doesn't* save the day - that's left to bacteria (which we do get to see, which is nice). In fact, I'm not sure if the leading character can really be described as the hero, as such - he's not particularly heroic, and a lot of the time he and his family are pretty much observers of events, and spend practically the whole film fleeing in panic.
I loved the tripods - they had just the right styling, and made really convincingly terrifying ultimate war machines. I was a bit unsure about putting the Martians on-screen though - or perhaps it was just that these Martians weren't right. To me, they were too apelike. They didn't come across as "intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic".
I can see why there has been some fuss about it getting a 12a certificate though. If I'd been to see that film when I was 10 or so I don't think I'd have slept for *weeks*.