The Movie Waffler New Release Review - War of the Worlds: The True Story | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - War of the Worlds: The True Story

Re-imagining of HG Wells' famous sci-fi tale.

Directed by: Timothy Hines
Starring: Jack Clay, Jim Cissell, Susan Goforth

Having never read the original classic novel 'War of the Worlds', by H.G. Wells, I didn’t care much for the first film version and, even though Tom Cruise is slowly earning respect back from me, his 'War of the Worlds' was a horrible low point in his career, in my eyes. However, this film intrigued me. The idea is genius: they took the original story as a real event, and then they intertwined “archive” footage with the “last survivors” interview, done years after the attack to make a documentary worthy of any I have seen in school or on the history channel. It is truly impressive how real it feels for the first portion of the film, even though you know the attack never happened.
If you don’t know, the original story recounts a Martian invasion of earth. They terrorize humanity with these tall, three-legged machines that shoot beams that incinerate almost anything in their path. Then, just as it seems all hope is lost, suddenly, one by one, the machines begin falling over dead. PLOT TWIST! There are bacteria in earth’s water that humans have adapted to over the generations, but these invaders are unable to adapt and they die. The moral of the story, to me at least, is that where the military tried and failed to fight the invaders with weapons, Mother Nature easily takes out the Martians with something so small it cannot be seen by the naked eye. Despite this clever twist, I still find the overall story dull.
If I was judging this solely against a true documentary, it is perfect. The archive footage is spot on and the CGI fits the time very well. The way they tell the last survivor's interview with the archive footage is highly effective, mostly because of the intimate details that he recalls. Case in point; half way through watching this, my buddy came in and watched with me for a bit before grabbing the remote to change the channel. The look of confusion on his face was priceless; he was so confused at why the remote wasn’t working. 
Being a history fan, I thought the idea of a documentary or mockumentary of an alien invasion could be pretty interesting. I still believe it could be, but with this story it wasn’t. Where the problem lies is that the story is still boring, which is partially why my buddy tried to change the channel, and sadly despite my best efforts, the mockumentary style only kept my interest for about half the film. At some point, I stopped caring because the charm of the inventive story telling tool had worn away. Ultimately, if you enjoy the story of 'War of the Worlds', or you really find documentaries entertaining, this was made exceptionally well, for you. It is an exceedingly inventive way to tell the story. I just wish I liked it.

Andy Comer