Randy found the british H.G. Well's War Of The Worlds
on sale at Wal Mart.
Rumors were floating around that the british were making their own version of War Of The Worlds, which would be absolutely faithful to the H.G. Wells novel. Supposedly it was going to be released at the same time as the Spielberg/Cruise version that's out now. I've been waiting to see this, matter of fact I was surprised that it wasn't released in the theatres.
The fact that it's selling for only nine bucks and went straight to DVD should tell you something.
I'll give it this, from what I saw it looks absolutely faithful to the book. Unfortunately, that is the only good thing I have to say.
Everything else about this film is terrible. The special effects look like something out of a bad 1970s film...no, I'm not kidding!
The martian tripod (which looks more like an ant with a couple of tentacles) stands out against the background like a claymation monster from a Ray Harryhausen movie (you know, the old Sinbad films). I'm not against these movies, they were great for their time and still fun to watch now. But why on earth would a modern movie be shot in this style?
All the digital effects are mishandled. Matter of fact, all the digital technology used in this film is very dated, taken back from the days when digital effects were first used in films. I'm trying to think of a film to compare this to and just can't remember a film where the effects where this bad. I mean, the effects in Anaconda
were better than in this film. Here's what I mean:
- For some reason they went with a digital horse cart, which just looks awful every time you see it...the horse, the cart, everything. For close ups of the actors, they put then in a fake cart and rocked it in front of a blue screen - this is evident from the very evident shadow around the actor and cart.
- When characters are hit with the heat ray (the beam is invisible, which seems right from the book) they burst into flame then turn into skeletons. But it's obvious digital fake flame superimposed on someone acting out a scream. Then after several cuts back to the same actors screaming and covered in fake flames, they turn into golden-looking digital skeletons that collapse to the ground...still wreathed in fake flames...and continue to writhe in agony for a few seconds. Or maybe they were just settling to the ground, I'm not really sure. I honestly think Harryhausen's skeletons should have been used, they would have looked a hell of a lot better.
- The cylinder in the crater is absolutely fake, and there are numerous tiny and obviously digital fires dotting the landscape. From far away they almost look like they belong there, but when you focus near an actor's feet and there's a bad digital fire effect right there...ugh.
The acting is ok and the costumes look right on, but for some reason they put a fake moustache on the main character. A VERY
fake moustache. This was a distraction throughout the viewing.
The filmmakers apparently tried to make up for all this by going for a false color look. Except for the grass, a lot of the film looks like it's been badly colorized or poorly color corrected.
And what's with the running through the fields? OK, I "get it" that most people back then travelled on foot, there were no telephones and automobiles were rare. But every couple of minutes someone (usually the main character) is travelling one way or back the other across a field. A couple of shots here and there are fine, but it just never seemed to end.
If you absolutely have to see this film, then definitely rent it from the local video store. Do not buy it, this is something you'll watch once and never stomach again. It's true to the book, that's for sure, but in this case I'll settle for the book.