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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

War of the Worlds: The Attack (2023)

I decided to check out what was available on my various streaming services. I’ve always been a big fan of H.G. Wells so when I saw that someone had taken another shot at the classic War of the Worlds story I was interested. I really shouldn’t have been.

Things kick off with the familiar voiceover warning us that the Earth has been watched by it’s closest neighbor Mars. If you have ever watched any of these movies, you know the drill. Then there are some annoying college kids riding their bicycles in the woods. They are all apparently astronomy students or some nonsense like that. They are looking for a meteor that has crashed in the nearby woods but give up and go to Herbert’s house to crash for the night. Oh yeah one of them is named Herbert Wells as in H.G. Wells… uh oh.

The rest of the movie is them, Herbert and his friends Hannah and Ogilvy, alternately running away from aliens, running into crazy human beings, and then running away from aliens again. Along the way we get all the greatest hits like people being used as fertilizer, a crazy authority figure, and of course a science person explaining that they invaders got a cold or something microbial and died off. Why did I waste eighty-five minutes of my life on this?

This is another example of a movie that has no reason to exist. I have said repeatedly that not everything needs to reinvent the wheel and I stick to that. But War of the Worlds: The Attack begs the question “did we really need to see this same story rehashed again?” Honestly this is the same exact story only with college aged kids being the central characters. Now had they done something with that new perspective that told the story with a slightly different twist then sure good on them. But this is almost scene for scene the same story. So why?

Were the original movie and the Tom Cruise remake (which itself was somewhat interesting as it was seen thru the perspective of a father trying to save his daughter and reunite his family) not good enough? Just because something has hit public domain and is now free game for anyone to cash in on the name recognition doesn’t mean that you can’t at least try and tell your own version. In the end I found watching this incredibly boring. I’ve seen this very same story done way better several times if I include the mediocre nineties television show.

All of the above is further complicated by a production that clearly lacked the resources to bring to screen what the wanted to. Can’t drive cars because the aliens can track you, so I guess bicycles it is for our characters. Saved some cash there even if it does come off as absurdly stupid. I mean we see aliens sneak up on people standing near windows… so yeah. The few alien attacks we do see are brought to the screen using horribly rendered CGI that would have embarrassed even the fine folks over at the Asylum. Also the crowded survivor scenes is populated by at most twenty or thirty folks some of which are clearly crewmembers that weren’t needed behind the camera.

It is time for me to sound like a broken record again. Indy filmmakers please remember one of the biggest pitfalls of low budget movies. Shoot what you actually have the resources for. Sometimes that means writing a script with that in mind. Though I’m sure the scriptwriting process only went as far as “Hey War of the Worlds is in the public domain. People recognize that title grab the camera and make a movie.” The filmmakers really should have put more thought into their script. This is a terrible and pointless movie that simply didn’t need to be made. Obviously not a recommendation from me.


Ó Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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