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War of the Worlds (2005) Synopsis

The lastest word on War of the Worlds is that it isn’t really War of the Worlds. It’s just another Independence Day. Recent interviews with Spielberg and his crew have revealed that a lot of the key elements from the book are being completely left out. For instance, the aliens aren’t Martians. Yes, that’s right, they aren’t from Mars. They’re just random aliens from somewhere out there in the Galaxy, because, according to Spielberg “that’s more realistic”.

Ok, first off, you’re making an alien invasion movie here. If you want to make realistic movies, try making one about a guy in Wisconsin milking cows. Secondly, while we’ve found no evidence of life on Mars, it wouldn’t be any harder to invent a reason for us to have missed it than it is to make the aliens from somewhere else. Part of the genius of War of the Worlds is that the aliens in it are our nearest neighbors. And they’ve been watching us, studying us. They’re right there, a short hop across the cosmos away, glaring at us with malice. Well, this movie has tossed that out the window.

The other big element being left out of Spielberg’s narrative is the Black Smoke used by Wells’ aliens on Earth’s populace. It’s their alternative weapon, one symbolic of fear and utter death. Spielberg has tossed it, along with the idea of his main character making a lonely trek for survival. Instead, his lead has a family and a minivan to tote along with him.

So what DOES make this an adaptation of “War of the Worlds”? Well, it has Aliens in it using tripods and heat rays. There’s your movie. Any other resemblance would seem to be completely coincidental. This isn’t so much a faithful War of the Worlds adaptation as it is just another alien invasion movie. In fact, by all indications the aliens themselves won’t even resemble those described by Wells. Sit back and enjoy the tripods.

Previewed by Joshua Tyler: 2005-01-04

War of the Worlds movie. No, it’s not a remake. Remember, the rage these days is to make new movies based on old source material by ignoring other previous adaptation. Spielberg isn’t trying to one up Byron Haskin, only marginalize him. So be it.

The real disappointment for me is that he’s setting it in modern times, instead of the Victorian era outlined in the original novel. An alien invasion movie set in Victorian era England… now that would be a unique movie idea. Instead we’re getting an alien invasion set in New Jersey, something I thought we’d covered quite adequately with Independence Day. Clearly Mr. Spielberg disagrees.

I’ve decided to forgive him, after being wowed by the film’s first teaser trailer. It features Mr. Voice reading word for word the first passages from H.G. Wells original novel, and lacks only the resurrection of Orson Welles to provide narration to make it truly brilliant. Spielberg’s take looks to be in keeping with the spirit of the novel the way no other attempt at this ever has been, even though it may not be true to the time period. It suggests something on par with a mix between the personal drama of Signs and the more large scale attacks of ID4.

Spielberg is reaching out to the internet community to promote and share this thing with us all right from the start. Count me excited.

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