Saturday, August 22, 2009

The germs continue to win - Hollywood style

kw: observations, films

My wife and I just finished watching the 2005 movie, War of the Worlds on ABC. Great special effects, decent plot, but a bit overacted. I guess they had to put in a lot of "family dynamics" to turn the 1898 short story by H.G. Wells into a two-hour film. The viewing public demands a lot these days…

I think the most effective portrayal is still the 1938 radio play produced by Orson Welles, which caused genuine panic. It still holds that no special effect can outdo our imaginations!

In Wells's story, the "tripods" arrive in ballistic cylinders. Now that we know more about physics, it is clear no mechanism would survive such a "landing", so the screenwriters have the machines erupt from the ground, where they'd been cached for some long period of time. Their riders/controllers are somehow inserted by strange lightning bolts. Get over that conceptual hump, and the rest follows. The aliens are felled, as Wells wrote, by an Earth disease (or perhaps many), but in the film it is not named. Its identity doesn't matter, but it is made to resemble Ebola.

I seldom watch films. This one was at least worth the time spent.

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