The Martians have invaded for a second time and the world is at war!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Director's Cut WAR OF THE WORLDS

In the year 1898, critically acclaimed author H.G. Wells conceived
of a tale so terrifying that it has captured the imagination of millions
of readers for more than 100 years. Now for the first time ever, the
true adaptation of the classic novel hits the screen with devastating
effect! During a time of growth and prosperity for mankind, came the
ultimate threat to our very existence. The events that were to take place
at the turn of the 20th century would shake the foundations of life as
we know it. The future of the human race was at stake as man's greatest
fear was realized...Suddenly we are no longer alone in this universe
and to preserve our species, we must be victorious in
The War of The Worlds.

A tribute to H G Wells and the early years of film making.

War of the Worlds is a dark tale written in 1898, taking place around 1900, about man's transient place in nature, and the effects of modern machinery on human struggle, whether the machines are in the hands of humans or another species entirely. In the original book, humankind and the narrator are both in defeat and despair at the end, saved for the time being not by any
human effort or invention, but by the accidental vulnerability of the Martians to a bacterial organism--another natural species entirely.

This engaging film tells the story in full, including dialogue taken almost verbatim by the page from the original. The visuals are photographed or processed to simulate early 20th Century hand-cranked cameras and projectors, so motion is at variable speeds, with the flickering quality of sub-24-frame-per-second projection. The color is in the style of tinted or two-color process early film (such as sequences in Hell's Angels or the original King of Kings). The actors act like people of 1900, in speech, manner and sentiment. The audio quality is modern, with a good symphonic score.

Special effects echo an earlier age of film, even those effects probably duplicated with CGI rather than modelling and stop-motion. Folks who have to have modern graphics won't like it, period. However this film is a story being told, not an imitation of an imaginary hyper-reality handed to an audience. It requires an extention of the viewer's mind, and rewards that effort with a journey through the world of Herbert George Wells. The Martian war machines and the reduction of their victims to skeletons, as well as the occasional squashing-flat of the stomped-on are efforts which Harryhausen would appreciate (though one sequence of naval combat would have been regarded as primitive by D W Griffith).

Because of the fidelity to the book, and probably because the film is released on DVD without preliminary editing for an American theatre audience, it runs three hours, a sort of director's cut. For those who get into the creative stye of the film and enjoy the details of the authentic story, this is not too long.

1 comment:

Don M said...

For a low budget film it is well done, I really like the feel.
It's the most true to the original book.