June 4, 2010
One of my favorite books of all time is H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. To date I don't feel that there is a film version of this story that is able to match what Wells created in his book, but I would say that out of all of the film adaptations I would pick the 1953 version as my favorite. The 2005 Steven Spielberg version offered up some fantastic special effects, but lacked an amiable cast of characters to connect with. I only mention that version of War of the Worlds because The Asylum, that notorious studio of shameless rip-offs, had a straight to video release of War of the Worlds (titled Invasion here on RT) that hit shelves around the same time Spielberg's film hit theaters.
Where Spielberg's version lacked interesting characters, David Michael Latt's War of the Worlds lacks both interesting characters and a solid story. While the novel is a very deep story with powerful themes, this film adaptation gets lost among its narrative attempts and slips into a sluggish and mindless bore. The film does retain the "husband looking for his wife" story arc of the novel, but the various situations that he finds himself in along the way didn't feel as dire, nor could I find myself able to care whether or not he actually succeeded in his journey.
I grew up in the 80's, an era of many memorable actors (whether for good or bad reasons). C. Thomas Howell is one of those 80's actors I'll always remember; especially for films like The Outsiders, Red Dawn, The Hitcher and the infamous Soul Man (which more or less features Howell in black-face through most of the film). Howell is the star of this version of War of the Worlds, and I have to give it up to him. For a lousy film with some lousy characters Howell does give his all in the role of George Herbert, the husband/father trying to reunite with his wife and son during this alien invasion. His performance is a bit sporadic, and he often is more emotional than certain scenes require. But like anyone desperate for work, he does command the film more than anyone else in the cast.
The special effects aren't impressive, but you should expect that since this is a straight to video release (and an Asylum one at that). The alien's war machines aren't the tri-pods of the novels but rather these weird crab looking things. I wouldn't have minded them if it weren't for the fact that these machines act in a similar fashion to the machines of Spielberg's film. Thankfully the special effects don't dominate the film, so we aren't subjected to them for too long. Maybe if there weren't all those minor special effects scenes throughout the film more attention could have been spent on the finale of this War of the Worlds, and it could have been a little more thrilling.
On the back of the DVD for this film there is a quote that says "The most horrifying version of all." That isn't from a review, nor did it come out of anyone's mouth who saw this film. It's just words that Asylum pasted on the back of the box I suppose in order to trick people into thinking this film is worth buying/renting. But this one just isn't a film worth seeing. And how horrifying can a film be where the last ditch effort to save mankind takes place in a veterinarian's office with vials of rabies?
January 24, 2010
It's better than the Spielberg version.
November 14, 2009
I expected a cool alien invasion movie. Instead I got a bunch of talking and 30 seconds of cheap special effects.
August 22, 2009
Invasion, titled War of the Worlds in America, is suprisingly better than the Speilburg film, and it's a film that you should try renting if you can. Recommended.
April 22, 2006
[font=Times New Roman][size=4]What this movie lacks in big budget effects it makes up for in being a a slightly more faithful adaptation of the original source materiel. As with the original story written by H. G. Wells, this film puts the chaos and insanity faced by the survivors of the invasion front and center. Like the original story, the center of the plot is how people react to and survive (both mentally and physically) such a devastating and seemingly hopeless situation. Some turn to faith, some reject it, and some simply go mad. I applaud this independent film for going that direction.[/size][/font]
[font=Times New Roman][size=4] Having said that, I just have to also say that in order to avoid being a totally crappy film, it pretty much HAD to go the direction I mentioned above. This production obviously did not have the budget to make a special effects, eye-candy, extravaganza. The effects do their job well enough. I am a bit disappointed that the war machines used by the Martians were six-legged insect like tanks rather than the tri-pods of the source materiel. I am also not really thrilled with the inference (although they never really actually say it) that the main character was the one who infected all of the invaders some how.[/size][/font]
[font='Times New Roman'][size=4] The acting isn?t too bad. At least in this version I can identify with one or two of the characters and therefore I care about what happens to them. I didn?t get that in the big budget version of this story released the same year by Spielberg. The music score is pretty ?stuck in the back out of the way? type of music and it doesn?t really add to the film like a good soundtrack can. For the most part this is a good effort by a smaller budgeted independent filmmaker to bring a challenging story to life. I like that although they brought it into the present day, they tried to stay close to source materiel?s main theme which was the people, the survivors, not the invasion and the special effects. If you are a sci-fi fan, this is worth watching, at least once.[/size][/font]