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The War of the Worlds (2005)

Unrated | | Sci-Fi, Action, Drama | Video 14 June 2005
In one of the most faithful adaptations of HG Wells' science fiction masterpiece, Martians launch a ruthless assault on an unsuspecting Victorian England, in an attempt to escape their dying planet.

Director:

Timothy Hines

Writers:

H.G. Wells (novel), Timothy Hines (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Piana Anthony Piana ... The Writer / The Brother
Jack Clay Jack Clay ... Ogilvy
James Lathrop ... The Artilleryman
Darlene Sellers ... Mrs. Elphinstone (as Darlene Renee Sellers)
John Kaufmann John Kaufmann ... The Curate
Susan Goforth Susan Goforth ... The Wife
Jamie Lynn Sease Jamie Lynn Sease ... Miss Elphinstone
W. Bernard Bauman W. Bernard Bauman ... Henderson
Edwin Stone Edwin Stone ... The Potman
Tom Fouche Tom Fouche ... Newspaper Boy
Mark Wilt Mark Wilt ... Gregg the Butcher
Erik Barzdukas Erik Barzdukas ... Butcher's Son
E. Leonard Helland E. Leonard Helland ... Lord Hilton's Butler / Blind Preacher
Barbara Bauman Barbara Bauman ... Mary - Writer's Servant
Daniel Somerfield Daniel Somerfield ... Stent
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Storyline

At the end of the 19th century a large cylinder falls on the English countryside. A young writer is among those who witnesses the event. But soon the cylinder opens and a group of Martians appear. It soon becomes apparent the Martians intend to attack. The writer soon finds himself fighting for his own survival as the military fights to stop the Martians, society collapses, and as the human race fights to win the war of the worlds. Written by timdalton007

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The first authentic movie adaptation of the 1898 H.G. Wells classic novel. See more »


Certificate:

Unrated

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Pendragon Pictures

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 June 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great Boer War See more »

Filming Locations:

Seattle, Washington, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pendragon Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the website owned by one of the the providers of the horses used in the film, the portion of the production involving their horses was shot on a horse ranch outside of Seattle. Other horses and carriages were shot at other ranches with large green-screen setups over eight weeks. See more »

Goofs

The Scientist tells the writer early in the movie that Mars is 40 million miles closer to the Sun than the Earth is. Earth is closer to the Sun than Mars is. See more »

Crazy Credits

The Copyright date is given as "MMDCCLVIII", which is the year 2758. See more »

Alternate Versions

After even more re-cutting, there is now a third version available to the international, non-US market, under the title "Classic War of the Worlds". It is 125 minutes and has (slightly) retooled effects. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Not the worst movie of all time (scant praise)
13 July 2005 | by scroggsSee all my reviews

Is it possible to give a movie NO STARS? I suppose not. However many stars IMDb displays this just think zero and you'll get my drift. Director and photographer Timothy Hines didn't have much of a budget compared to Spielberg's Herculean effort with the same material (rumored to be the most expensive movie ever made), but that need not be an insurmountable handicap. I've seen some wonderful work done on a comparative shoestring ("Soldier and Saints" is a recent example). With hard work, integrity and, above all, talent it is certainly possible to realize a faithful rendition of Wells' novella -- and at fraction of what was spent by Dreamworks on its "War of the Worlds". Unfortunately, Hines failed in all these departments. Even if he had had Spielberg's budget and Tom Cruise signed for the lead his movie would have stunk just as badly as this barnyard animal he's foisted on us.

Primarily, Hines seems unable to tell a story. Thanks to digital video technology he can record images and sound, but he shows little aptitude for assembling a narrative with what he records. A guy walks down a country lane, a lot. He talks badly aped Received English to some other guy. Then he walks down the same lane, only shot from the back this time to show he's returning -- clever, eh? Walking and talking, for nearly an hour that's all that happens. OK, I'll grant that one extended excursion from the main character's house to the impact site on Horsell Common to show that it's a considerable distance from one place to the other might be useful (a first-year film student could storyboard a more economical and more aesthetical establishing sequence than this, btw), but half a dozen times? Back and forth, back and forth, et cetera, et cetera with some yakkity-yak in between. Remarkable. The only explanation for this surfeit of redundancy other than total artistic ineptitude is a desire to pad out thirty minutes of wretchedly amateurish CG works into something that could be offered as a feature-length film. Finally the Martian fighting machines appear and the walking and talking becomes running and talking, or shrieking. Later we get staggering and wailing for dessert.

Thankfully, much of the dialogue is lifted straight from H.G. Wells' text; else we'd have no idea what is going on. But is it not the whole point of cinema to illuminate a text, to realize what words alone can't convey? If a film relies on dialogue or monologue to tell us what we see or how to feel, why bother? Why not do a radio play? Orson Welles made himself a household name doing just that. However, Hines thinks he's a filmmaker, so he's content to mouth the words and swallow the meaning.

Secondly, Hines was able to buy some CG effects of a sort for his movie, but he has no idea how to use them. Now I for one have no unquenchable sweet tooth for eye candy. I believe good science fiction cinema doesn't need dazzling technical effects. Some really potent Sci-Fi's have flourished on virtually none at all. But "The War of the Worlds" as film requires a certain baseline effort. Wells tells a story that hinges on things can be seen and heard and even smelled. The effects don't need to be complex; they can even be crude (e.g. fighting machines on wires gliding over miniature streets as seen in the George Pal/Byron Haskins 1953 version), but they must be handled well. Unfortunately Hines' effects are both crude and incompetent – tripod fighting machines higher than a cathedral spire stomp around making a noise like a pogo stick bouncing on linoleum – Martian squidoids even though oppressed by four times the gravity of their native world scurry and flit about without perceptible effort – skeletons totally denuded of flesh and muscle writhe and scream -- the same damn horse and buggy greenscreens its way across the foreground a dozen times (flipped left for right occasionally in hope that we might not notice) – and on ad nauseum. Crude technique is forgivable. So you have a CG fire effect that's less than convincing? Fine, we can work around that. Just don't use it too often and only show glimpses of it. That stomped woman sequence looks more like a crushed plum? Throw it away. It's not necessary. You say your Martian flyer looks like a toy on a string? If you must use it, go ahead, but please don't show it twice! But no, Hines won't listen. We get the worst looking stuff used again and again. Gotta get those 180 minutes somehow, boy.

Next we have acting, or more precisely too much acting. Whether in a speaking role or just paid to die on queue everybody in this film is acting his little heart out. Evidently Hines thinks he's getting a bargain -- More fleeing in terror over there! You, quaking behind that tree, let's have a real conniption fit this take. You call that writhing in agony? Nonsense, my grandmother can writhe better -- Nevertheless the cast as a whole and individually stink. They aren't even good amateurs. But this needn't prove fatal. Many a good movie has been made with rancid acting. That's what directors are for. And editors. Which brings up another point… Who the hell let Tim Hines edit this cheese factory? If America's butchers were as adept at meat cutting as Hines is at film cutting your next hamburger would be all fingers and no beef. In spite of the near three-hour running time there is lots of stuff missing from this movie -- not sequences, but single frames, creating a herky-jerky effect that's nauseating to watch. Maybe Hines intention was to simulate the effect of a hand cranked cine camera of the 1890's. If he was I can say he doesn't know how to do it.


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