WAR OF THE WORLDS THE TRUE STORY is based on the most beloved alien invasion story of all time by Father of Science Fiction, H.G. Wells. Like Wells' classic book that was presented as a ...
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WAR OF THE WORLDS THE TRUE STORY is based on the most beloved alien invasion story of all time by Father of Science Fiction, H.G. Wells. Like Wells' classic book that was presented as a news reporter's first hand memoirs, and the famous 1938 Orson Welles radio broadcast that caused Americans to believe an actual invasion was in progress, WAR OF THE WORLDS THE TRUE STORY assumes the world knows there was a war between Earth and Mars in the year 1900 and is presented as the eyewitness account of Bertie Wells, the last living survivor of the Earth/Mars War as he struggles to find his wife amidst the destruction of humankind at the hands of terrifying alien invaders.Written by
An Error of Incredible Magnitude Spoiled This Movie for Me
As a youngster, I read WOTW and was absolutely enthralled by it. I watched Hines' original movie and reviewed it (not entirely unkindly) on this bulletin board, and in doing so I noted that one of the major flaws of movie versions was to remove the setting of the story from the end of the 19th Century to "the present day" - which was one of the saving graces of Hines' WOTW I - keeping the time and place, in theory at least, of the book. My reasoning was that even as far back as the 1950s, when George Pal filmed the book, modern day man has reached a comfortable acceptance of at least the possibility of life elsewhere than on this planet, but to the average man or women of Wells' day, this idea was totally unthinkable, which, when the modern day reader accepted this, gave rise to an insight into the utter terror that would have been felt when his book was published.
In WOTW II, Hines has done a very interesting piece of mental trickery to convince a modern day movie audience that the fear was more than just a simple fear of death - it was the complete overturning of the fabric on the mind. He keeps the viewer in two disparate worlds, that of the 19th Century, while still being addressed by a citizen of the 1960s. Whilst the method has been used before (eg Little Big Man) of using a participant in the events to relay their story directly to the audience, the device of mixing real footage with "re-enactment" is meritorious in this construct.
I watched the movie quite happily until I was struck by an unbelievable error which completely spoiled the entire movie, and that was the episode of the Torpedo Ram "Thunder Child" failing to destroy any enemy. In the book (and indeed in Hines' previous film) this event was absolutely crucial to whole of the story, and indeed much of Wells other literature. Firstly, this gave the reader a burst of hope (as also in the destruction of Sheperton) by showing that as merciless and technologically advanced as the Martians were, they were nevertheless still capable of being destroyed.
Secondly, in the book the ship destroyed two of the Martian fighting machines, once by ramming, and the second as the ship exploded, in a battle of human machine versus Martian machine - the humans and the Martians were present, but invisible, as the mechanical warfare was fought.
Wells is credited with forecasting aerial warfare, the atomic bomb and armoured fighting vehicles ("The Land Ironclads"). He predicted the outbreak of WWII to within a year ("Shape of Things to Come"). In fact, having re-read "The Land Ironclads" after I finished WOTW II, I was astounded to see that when Wells describes how the "soldiers" in the tanks were killing their infantry opponents, they were within an enclosed space with a projected image of the battlefield, and targeted their victim by the seemingly simple action of using a device like engineers dividers and pushing an electric button. If the shot missed, the operator moved his device, re-aimed and fired again. Sounds remarkably similar to robot warfare of today with operators in remote locations operating drone aircraft to destroy their targets.
So in removing the clash of the mechanical Titans in WOTW II, Hines has completely stripped much of Wells' vision of its power by doing what George Pal did (and presumably other film makers, but I've not watched any other versions) and that was to make the Martians supremely indestructible (except for the Shepperton action), thus removing any semblance of hope. "If only the humans could have worked together just a little bit more ... they just might have brought it off." But alas they stumbled almost within reach of the final goal.
Apart from that one huge failure, I actually enjoyed the movie, modestly, and think it at least as good as WOTW I, and probably better.
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