November 27th, 2006

spider

The problem with War of the Worlds movies...

I still haven't seen the British one set in the proper time period that came out the same time as the Spielgerg effort and I only just saw the Spielberg one, due to the presence of Tom-I hate his guts-Cruise. But it was on, and it fortuitously lines up with other things going on at the moment, so I watched it.

To me, while it retained more elements of the book than the 50's version, it was more akin, in spirit, to the 50's version than anything else. Despite the lead character being a civilian passing through hell to try and get away, rather than a scientist in the know on the front lines.

I think the problem between the book and the films is that the film versions of the martians are pretty much completely undefeatable until the germs take them down. While Tom Cruise had his non-suicide, suicide bombing moment there is no moment in these films akin to the artillery duel in the book or the glorious, but hopeless, battle of the Thunderchild.

The film versions are hopeless, from beginning to end, the book (and the muscial) give you a roller coaster ride of dashed hopes and heroism, bows and arrows against the lightning, humanity being crushed, but being defiant (and being BRITISH dash it all).

The films also lack the epilogue (and spielberg's ending made me snort as it resembled Mars Attacks)), the sense of picking up the pieces and carrying on.

I think it's less effective a story the way the films do it. You have to have your Thunderchild moment, you have to have your human defiance. I would have put a suicide bombing in the film, I would have put American soldiers, or civlians, or Tom Cruise's kid in the film, taking a satchel charge, getting in the tripod's legs and detonating. That's what would have defeated the tripods in that film, desperation and willing to make a sacrifice against an overwhelmingly technologically superior enemy. But then hey, then maybe people might have thought for a minute and resonated with real world events... and we can't have that.