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This behind-the-scenes feature from the 2005 "War Of The Worlds" DVD
concentrated on how and why they designed the tripods and aliens as
they did in the feature film. It wasn't the most entertaining
"documentary" but the creatures were so fascinating that it made up for
generally unexciting commentary.
Director Steven Spielberg asked, "What if they (the aliens) go the other way: they come under ground instead of outer space?" Usually, going the opposite direction of what has been done in the past proves to be successful, it was stated.
The key to those big, scary tripods was the three legs," according to Doug Chiang of the art department. He was the main speaker in this bonus feature. "The three legs symbolized how much different these beings were culturally from life on our planet, where everyone or everything is on two or four legs," he explained.
Spielberg also wanted them scary, not just some big machines. The aliens he wanted "creepy," and to movie in a smooth, yet odd, way. All of that, he got, as those who saw this movie knows.
The special-effects, in my opinion, are the draw to the film and the only reason I've seen the movie a couple of times. Chiang and his crew did an awesome job creating them.
Designing the Enemy: Tripods and Aliens (2005)
*** (out of 4)
Nice 14-minute featurette taking a look at the special effects in Steven Spielberg's WAR OF THE WORLDS. Spielberg is joined by screenwriter David Koepp and various members of the special effects crew including Ryan Church, Doug Chang and Dennis Muren. Producer Kathleen Kennedy and star Tom Cruise also get a few quick words in. We start off seeing a few examples from the original movie and then we get into details about what Spielberg wanted for this remake and we hear the various ideas he brought to the actual creation of everything. We learn that it was his idea to have the tripods coming from the ground and he also talks about what he wanted in regards to the alien's look. The special effect team go into great detail about the various decisions that were made including making everything three legged and they discussed what effect this had on other parts of the production. We also get a behind-the-scenes look at Spielberg in his office and he talks about why he didn't want the aliens called Martians in the film. Overall this is a pleasant featurette that at least gives one a good idea of the thinking behind what we would end up seeing in the movie. Those being interviewed are very energetic when it comes to explaining what we're looking at and Spielberg is always a fascinating person to listen to.
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