Complete War of The Worlds
A nifty pairing H.G. Wells's classic 1897
SF novel, The War of the Worlds, including the original magazine
illustrations, together with Howard Koch's radio play adaptation
made famous by Orson Welles in his October 30, 1938, broadcast,
which fooled thousands of listeners into thinking the East
Coast was under Martian attack. In addition to a foreword
by Ray Bradbury and an afterword by Ben Bova, Sourcebook editors
Holmsten and Lubertozzi supply an absorbing account of the
broadcast's impact, which puts the hoax in historical context;
an article on Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater; a survey
of both imaginary and actual space flights to and from Mars
and a succinct profile of H.G. Wells. It is interesting to
learn that Wells at first resented the radio broadcast, believing
Welles was going to read the novel, not dramatize it.
I saw this 1953 version of War of the Worlds as a child
and remember being scared by it, especially the part where the
alien space craft is plowing up magma. It made me afraid even
the ground wasn't safe.
War of the Worlds:
Same Game, Same Shame
Thanks to : JanK for her beta help
Spoiler warning: Yes, I do reveal many plot points, but little
that will come as a surprise if you've read H. G. Wells' War
of the Worlds. You have, right?
I just saw War of the Worlds, and it reminded me of the
Iraq war, especially Falluja. I believe this was what Falluja was
like during the American attack with alien machines of tremendous
power raining down fire, death and destruction on a helpless city
while many people fled, some cowered in their homes, and a few tried
to fight. I even asked myself: When Ray (Tom Cruise) managed to
plant two grenades in the alien machine trying to kill him, do you
think the aliens labeled him a terrorist? Probably.
With American machines flying overhead, roaring like aliens; with
advanced American machines rolling down streets, encasing their
occupants in safety; with American soldiers clothed in body armor
killing Fallujans clothed only in flesh; how was the US military
different from the aliens in this movie? The aliens came to kill,
to exterminate, as did the soldiers sent to destroy Falluja. The
aliens came to steal a world for their own use. We came to steal
a country, or at least the oil in it. The aliens destroyed mindlessly
to eliminate resistance. We destroy just as mindlessly to eliminate
resistance. The aliens took captives to torturously use. We take
prisoners to torture and use. The aliens watered the soil with human
blood in order to transform the world into something useful to them.
Americanss water Iraqi soil with Iraqi blood in order to transform
the country into something that is profitable for the American plutocracy.
The aliens sported through the ruins. Americans play in the ruins
and make fun of corpses and grind their bodies into mush with their
machines, just for sport. (Ya want a url for the pictures? Email
How are we different? Well, for a start, ordinary germs are no
threat to us.
War of the Worlds also reminded me of Apocalypse Now.
Remember that scene where US helicopters attack a small Vietnamese
village? The village was primitive; the houses almost looked as
if they were built of sticks. When the attack started the little
kids were led from their schoolroom down into a bomb shelter while
the adults uncovered their one gun and attempted to fight against
the overwhelming force of technology aimed at them. In an attempt
to further scare the inhabitants, Wagner's stirring The Ride
of the Valkyries blared from speakers on a helicopter. War
of the Worlds was like that. There were even scary alien sounds.
The weight of overwhelming technological superiority was used to
crush people like they were insects, but in real life, it is the
American machines that seem like undefeatable alien ships.
It's called the Backbird.
The Stealth B2 bomber.
The Stealth Fighter
The B2 bomber.
Don't they look like alien craft? They could be dropped into War
of the Worlds (or Star Wars or SG-1 or Battlestar
Galactica) fighting for the alien side and be credible. But
back to the movie.
The War of the Worlds was okay. It went by very fast which is generally
the mark of a good movie. It was well-written, and the special effects
were very good and generally seamless and believable. The malevolent
alien machines seemed almost alive. (My one complaint about their
design is that the legs tapered down too much, almost to nothing.
The legs were meant to look spidery, but something that big and
heavy can't walk on tippytoes. ) People occasionally acted stupidly,
but not as much as in many scifi and horror movies. Tom Cruise was
okay, as well. Never my favorite actor, never an actor I'd go to
a movie just to see, never an actor who can make me feel what his
character is feeling; still, he has been in a lot of good movies.
He's rarely made a bad one and didn't in War of the Worlds.
Young Dakota Fanning, who played Cruise's daughter Rachael, showed
flashes of the authenticity and talent she displayed in the SciFi
channel's miniseries Taken. Even though WotW didn't
require much acting from her, and Spielberg had her scream a little
too much, she still delivered. This is probably one of Dakota's
last childhood roles. She's about to be a teen, and I could already
see the shadow of the woman she is about to become flickering across
her face. Barring an attack of fatness, incurable acne or teenaged
imbecility, she's our new Jodie Foster, and we'll be watching her
till she dies or we do. I just hope she doesn't grow up to be something
bad that will keep me from enjoying her future performances, say
a serial killer or a Republican.
I hated Ray (Tom Cruise) for his treatment of his daughter. His
idea of protecting her involved keeping her ignorant, not telling
her what was going on or letting her see what was happening. This
is an old and repellent form of female repression and not a wise
choice during a disaster. Can you imagine a chimp mother covering
its young's eyes rather than letting it see the danger of an approaching
leopard? We learn by seeing. Ray seemed bent on keeping daughter
Rachael unchanged by the horrors around her by keeping her ignorant
I was also disturbed when Ray blindfolded Rachael while he went
to kill someone who was endangering them - something he did behind
a closed door, making the blindfold doubly unnecessary. The scene
had an S&M, pedophile vibe that freaked me out a little. I bet
all the peds were titillated and massaging their crotches as they
watched it. I bet WotW becomes a ped favorite because of
I liked how Ray's son Robbie (Justin Chatwin) was filled with war
lust. Robbie wanted to see. He wanted to help. Robbie wanted to
fight. Ray was just trying to save himself and his kids by running
away, but Robbie was filled with the instinct to battle the aliens,
to go with the advancing army, to do SOMETHING. Ray finally lets
him go in a scene that every parent must face when their son becomes
a man, even a man who rushes toward danger rather than away from
it. This is the instinct that kept many a group alive back in our
more primitive days, the instinct to fight to protect the pack.
Too bad that now this same instinct is used by dictators and monsters
like Bush to get young people to fight and die for the plutocracy's
I hadn't been to a movie in several years. I was annoyed by two
things: ten minutes of commercials BEFORE the movie. When did this
crap start? I pay and I still have to look at commercials!! There
ought to be a law! And the movie industry wonders why people won't
go to movies. Second, since it had been so long since I went to
a movie, I decided to splurge and get some popcorn and a drink.
They cost MORE than the movie.
I missed the great sound that everyone raved about. The theater
where I saw the movie apparently didn't have the ability to blast
you out of your seat. Alas.
All and all, War of the Worlds was a pretty good movie,
well worth seeing at least once.