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View Full Version : HG Wells War of the Worlds as a Period Film



Tuckerfan
2004-Dec-07, 11:26 PM
There's a Speilberg directed Tom Cruise version set to be released next year, but before that, a version that's set in the same time period as Wells's novel will be released by a small film company. (http://www.pendragonpictures.com/WOTWKEY.html) Methinks I'll watch this one, and skip the Cruise version.

EricDerKonig
2004-Dec-08, 05:53 AM
Oh, there's going to be a late 19th century WotW? About time! I remeber watching the old 1950s version as a kid (this was on TCM, not its release!), and disliked the fact that it had been modernised and was set in LA.

I haven't actually read the book (I've downloaded it from project gutenberg, but its been slow reading, as I find it hard to read large text documents on the computer), but I did grow up listening to Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, with Richard Burton's awesome narration.

Lianachan
2004-Dec-08, 10:14 AM
I've been keeping an eye on this for a while, and am horribly afraid that the Speilberg version will be indistinguishable from an Independance Day 2 film. I can't see him keeping the period right. I can't see him keeping the Victorian English setting, which to my mind is crucial, and I can't see him keeping true to the character of the narrator - I suspect he'll be action-heroed up a bit, although the whole crux of his character is that he survives by running and hiding and watching and waiting, while those that oppose the Martians directly get introduced to the Heat Ray. That's another thing - will Spielberg keep the aliens Martians? I doubt it.

I hope to be surprised by the film, but I don't expect to be.

Definately go for the small budget one.

Spielberg's first teaser trailer will be put on the film's official website (http://www.waroftheworlds.com/) on Friday the 10th of December. It may give us an insight as to what the film may be like.

Tuckerfan
2004-Dec-08, 12:41 PM
As you can see here (http://uplink.space.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=scifi&Number=102427&page=0 &view=collapsed&sb=5&o=0&fpart=1) the Tom Cruise version is going to be set in the present day US.

Lianachan
2004-Dec-08, 12:51 PM
As you can see here (http://uplink.space.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=scifi&Number=102427&page=0 &view=collapsed&sb=5&o=0&fpart=1) the Tom Cruise version is going to be set in the present day US.

Cheers. Yes, I saw those pictures earlier on today. What a wasted opportunity - they could have made a classic, epic film. Instead it looks like we're going to be dished up yet another formulaeic piece of popcorn stuffing crap, with the Statue of Liberty on its side and a tattered stars and stripes flying in front of the Sun. Pah. Spielberg should at least have the balls to call it Independance Day 2.

gethen
2004-Dec-08, 02:46 PM
I'm one of those who has been wondering why the book couldn't be made into a movie in the same time frame as the book. Glad to see someone has realized Wells' book can stand on its own, without the latest bit of technology in every frame.

Weird Dave
2004-Dec-09, 05:21 PM
As you can see
...URL...
the Tom Cruise version is going to be set in the present day US.

:roll:

The whole point of the original is that the Martians were not invulnerable or godlike (as in Independence Day) but just far more technologically advanced than the Victorians. Nowadays we could blast all of Wells' Martians with guided missiles very easily, which means Spielberg's fighting machines will almost certainly have shields, which means I'm going ](*,) .

Also, having an 1890s-set film justifies you in using 1890s knowledge of Mars, including canals, red weed and all the rest. Spielberg has no excuse, so unless he puts some serious effort into listening to his science consultants, it's just going to be cannon fodder for the BA.

And if it doesn't have Jeff Wayne's music, it scores a #-o .

Doesn't necessarily mean it won't be fun, though... [Where's a "hopeful" smiley when you need one?]

Parrothead
2004-Dec-10, 05:11 AM
Cool, so in the next year (year and a bit) we could see 3 War of the Worlds movies released. This Indie version, I love the fact it will be set in the time of the novel, a Jeff Wayne animated musical version and that Spielberg/Cruise thing. Hmmmm.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2004-Dec-10, 05:15 AM
Cool, so in the next year (year and a bit) we could see 3 War of the Worlds movies released. This Indie version, I love the fact it will be set in the time of the novel, a Jeff Wayne animated musical version and that Spielberg/Cruise thing. Hmmmm.

I'm Hearin' Triple Feature!

Think a Theatre, will do it?

amstrad
2004-Dec-10, 11:01 PM
Teaser trailers for Spielberg/Cruise version are available:

http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/waroftheworlds/

Swift
2004-Dec-10, 11:05 PM
Cool, so in the next year (year and a bit) we could see 3 War of the Worlds movies released. This Indie version, I love the fact it will be set in the time of the novel, a Jeff Wayne animated musical version and that Spielberg/Cruise thing. Hmmmm.

I'm Hearin' Triple Feature!

Think a Theatre, will do it?
What a great idea, except make it a quad - also show the 1950's version.

parallaxicality
2004-Dec-11, 12:26 AM
I should point out that this is the teaser for the Victorian WotW:

http://stuffo.howstuffworks.com/wotw-videos.htm

while this is the Spielberg teaser:

http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/waroftheworlds/medium.html

personally, while I cannot vouch for either's absolute quality, I can say that the latter far exceeds the former on that evidence.

JonClarke
2004-Dec-12, 11:02 AM
Anything other than a period piece just won't work and will be a perversion.

Jon

Lianachan
2004-Dec-14, 07:41 AM
Cool, so in the next year (year and a bit) we could see 3 War of the Worlds movies released. This Indie version, I love the fact it will be set in the time of the novel, a Jeff Wayne animated musical version and that Spielberg/Cruise thing. Hmmmm.

Need to put those triple feature plans on hold for a while - Jeff Wayne's CGI film isn't due out until 2007. I would be surprised if it ever surfaces at all.

The album is rereleased next year, all nicely remastered for 5.1 surround and suchlike.

www.thewaroftheworlds.com

JonnyWishbone
2004-Dec-14, 11:44 AM
Well, on the bright side, eventually CGI will be cheap enough and good enough that something like Merchant Ivory but with an interest in period sf will be able to produce faithful period versions of War of the Worlds or The Time Machine without worrying about a budget that requires an $800 million worldwide box office take in return.

Or at least I hope so.

On the other bright side, I suppose there's a possibility that this film will critique American imperialism in the same way that WotW critiqued British imperialism.

Cheers, Jon

mid
2004-Dec-14, 12:16 PM
The album is rereleased next year, all nicely remastered for 5.1 surround and suchlike.

www.thewaroftheworlds.com

ooh, nice. Here's hoping for a DVD version, too - I don't have an SACD player, nor do I really want to buy one particularly soon (I'd rather spend the money making my normal CDs sound better with a good dedicated player)

parallaxicality
2004-Dec-14, 01:50 PM
Anything other than a period piece just won't work and will be a perversion.

Jon

I feel the exact opposite. To set the novel in Victorian times would be a perversion. The novel is not set in Victorian times. It is set in the near future and happened to have been written in Victorian times. Had Wells written it today, he would have set it today. The novel was never a period piece and was never intended to be seen as one. It was an allegorical warning to the imperialist superpower of the day (England) not to hide complacently behind its technological superiority. Wells was a socialist and deeply opposed to the colonial wars in Africa. He made the point that the Martians are actually better than the humans because their war is one of survival, whereas England's wars were of choice. Unlike the novels of, say, Jane Austen, this warning has not dated. If anything it has grown more pertient in this era of a lone superpower (the US) engaged in preemtive attacks on other nations.

mid
2004-Dec-14, 04:55 PM
By the way, am I just peculiar in saying that my favorite reworking of War Of The Worlds is series two of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen?

mutant
2004-Dec-14, 05:33 PM
Well, I don't think anything can equal the original movie that came out in around 1953. Anytime it is on tv I sit down and watch it. A movie made today would just be an overkill of special effects and a drastic change in the original storyline..........JMHO.

mid
2004-Dec-15, 10:56 AM
But then, the 50s version was considered a special-effects overkill-frenzy at the time. Those hovering Martian ships cost an absolute fortune.

Lianachan
2004-Dec-15, 11:49 AM
Anything other than a period piece just won't work and will be a perversion.

Jon

I feel the exact opposite. To set the novel in Victorian times would be a perversion. The novel is not set in Victorian times. It is set in the near future and happened to have been written in Victorian times. Had Wells written it today, he would have set it today. The novel was never a period piece and was never intended to be seen as one. It was an allegorical warning to the imperialist superpower of the day (England) not to hide complacently behind its technological superiority. Wells was a socialist and deeply opposed to the colonial wars in Africa. He made the point that the Martians are actually better than the humans because their war is one of survival, whereas England's wars were of choice. Unlike the novels of, say, Jane Austen, this warning has not dated. If anything it has grown more pertient in this era of a lone superpower (the US) engaged in preemtive attacks on other nations.

That is exactly why I'm anxious about this film. The themes you describe are, of course, exactly right and describe what the whole book boils down to. I am not sure how well Hollywood, with it's notoriously US-centric and insular viewpoint, be able to keep to those important ideals.

Jason Thompson
2004-Dec-15, 01:26 PM
I think all this talk of 'perversions' is a little extreme.

On the one hand there would be little wrong with modernising it, since the themes are still relevant whatever the setting. The only difficulty in this is the use of Martians. Even when George Pal's film version was made in 1953 there was still very little known about Mars. Nowadays you'd have a hard time trying to convince anyone of the existence of a Martian civilisation so advanced that not one space probe has spotted any evidence of.

(Incidentally, Independence Day is no more than a straight re-telling of the story of the 1953 film version of War of the Worlds, simply updating the aliens to something other than Martians and replacing the germs that kill the Martians with a computer virus.)

On the other hand what would be so wrong about adapting it straight as an early 19th century period piece? Do the themes get lost because of the setting? I doubt it.

Personally I will be going to see both versions, but not with a view to comparing them. Anyway, Jeff Wayne's musical version is still the definitive adaptation for me.

Jason Thompson
2004-Dec-15, 01:31 PM
A movie made today would just be an overkill of special effects and a drastic change in the original storyline

Umm, I feel I should point out that that description applies very well to the 1953 film version. The effects were the major selling point of that film, and the storyline has no more than a superficial resemblance to that of the book.