Monday, April 8, 2013

The War of the Worlds (1952)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This Post spoils movie The War of the Worlds (1952) and all the other versions of this story.

The War of the World is based on science fiction novel by H.G. Wells published 1898. There is also infamous radio adoption of same story by Orson Welles from 1938. This is third legendary version of same story. I don't know much about H.G. Wells novel so I can't say how much of scientific inaccuracies are from book and how much from writers of this films. I also don't know how correct science was when movie was made. Movie also has quite religious tone which might be turn off to some science fiction fans. How ever you can see religious tones as they are what characters think because main story is quite scientifically correct. If you for get that Martians don't exist and couple minor things.

I see this movie rather as recovering from second world war movie than red scare movies. Movie looks lot like pictures and videos from second world war. Especially when we see destroyed cities and hear what happens else where in world. I don't see red scare themes in this movie. This movie is about fighting against unstoppable enemy and what happens when everything is lost and you just wait for inevitable. You can see that this is a movie from 50's when everyone works towards common goal and no-one has hidden agendas. Everybody seems to know almost everyone and everyone can go almost anywhere.

What makes this movie a classic science fiction movie? I think it is because this tries to be emotional than other movies and is more character driven than average science fiction. And it can deliver that. Story is not that important for movie. It rather moves from strong emotion to another and have horror movie flavors sometimes. Story itself is simple. Martians came to earth. Nothing can stop them. Last hope is lost after scientist run into rioting mob. When all is lost martian ships start to fall down and Martians die. Rioting mob scene is one of my all time favourite scenes. Until that point everyone has worked towards common goal. After it seems like nothing can stop Martians, last hope is lost when rioting mob attacks scientist and steal their cars and destroy they equipment. Showing that large angry mobs don't always act on their best interest.

After that scientist accepts that all is  lost and start to search for his girlfriend that they can spend their last moments together. Martians are in city destroying everything. Scientist and girlfriend finally found each other and wait that Martians destroy the church they are in. Then it happens. Common bacteria start to kill Martians. From storytelling point of view this is cheap solution. But it works because that could actually happen. That happened when Europeans found new world. That time it happened other way. Old world diseases killed new world people.

Special effects are worth mentioning. It is hard to believe that this is from 1952. Some effects are ages but mostly effects look good still today. Sets are excellent and expensive if you compared them to other science fiction. everything is done with real movie standards.

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