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War of the worlds the True Story continues to find new viewers on Amazon Prime. Check out this review when the picture was a contender for the Oscars:
By Hal CF Astell
For a whole bunch of different reasons, War of the Worlds: The True Story, the latest in a long line of adaptations of the seminal H G Wells novel, is one of the most fascinating cinematic experiences I've encountered. Most obviously that's because of the techniques used to adapt the source material, but the context makes those even more interesting. Many filmmakers take old stories and turn them into new ones, not least Steven Spielberg, who reworked this very story in 2005 into something that takes place in the modern day with a recognisable star and a gigantic dollop of CGI. Director Timothy Hines, however, got a lot more imaginative in how he approached this film. He kept the story extremely old fashioned, with most of what we hear transcribed verbatim from the book and structured around the original chapter headings, but he told it in very modern ways. This therefore becomes of interest to a rather odd mixture of Victorian science fiction buffs, film restorers and teenage ADHD sufferers.
Analysing what he did makes it all the more surprising that it works for the most part. For instance, he clearly went back three quarters of a century to the infamous and innovative 1938 radio adaptation by the Mercury Theatre, which Orson Welles cleverly phrased as a progression of news bulletins and, in doing so, infamously conned a great number of listeners into believing aliens were actually invading. Accounts of mass panic have passed into our cultural fabric but they were actually less apparent than our need to believe in it. As if recognising that, Hines takes further, much more modern steps. One is into conspiracy territory by telling us that it already happened, exactly as Wells wrote it, but was then suppressed by the government. Another is into found footage territory, as he 'discovered' in 2006 the eye witness testimony of the last survivor in film canisters unopened for 41 years, then matched it up with recently declassified combat footage, newspapers and newsreels to feel like a documentary.
HG Wells, author of The War of the Worlds, the father of science fiction.
How Hines approached effects is similarly counter-intuitive. Rather than follow Spielberg's example and rock out with CGI, he mostly got physical. 'There's nothing that can represent real as well as that which is real,' he says, so his effects team, led by an artist known as Ultrakarl, went back to old school tech like models, puppets and stop motion animation. The Martian we see in the film was a full scale monster that took nineteen technicians to operate. The creature's ear was manipulated by woodwind musicians, its breathing by subdermal bladders blown into arhythmically. Puppeteers controlled hair and tentacle movement. Even sweating was replicated by piping glycerin through skin pores. Tripods, Martian fighting machines, are articulated miniatures animated through stop motion. Yet all this neat old school tech is then integrated with stock and public domain footage in new school mash up style using state of the art restoration techniques. Again, old meets new... (read more)
Company Name: Pendragon Pictures
Contact Person: Susan Goforth
Email: [email protected]
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States