Eve Of The War

There's Little Chance Of Running Wells Dry
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Author:  eveofthewar [ Mon May 02, 2005 9:43 pm ]
Post subject:  There's Little Chance Of Running Wells Dry

Steven Spielberg has finally realised his long-cherished dream: an adaptation of H G Wells's Martian invasion novel, The War Of The Worlds.
Spielberg's take on Wells's story is likely to become one of this summer's blockbusters when it opens in the US on June 27 and here in the UK on July 1.

Spielberg almost made War of the Worlds (his version drops the first "The") back in the mid-1990s. But having just finished Jurassic Park and Schindler's List, he was beaten to it by Roland Emmerich, who ripped off Wells's alien invasion idea with Independence Day and made a lot of money. Spielberg watched it clean up at the box office, huffed and went back to work, knocking out Jurassic Park sequel The Lost World and another of his "serious films", Amistad.

Sufficient time has now passed since Will Smith kicked alien butt, it seems, for Spielberg's interest in Wells to reawaken. With a working script by David Koepp (who penned two Jurassic Parks) long since in place, Paramount Pictures originally had Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds slated for release in summer 2007. A seismic shift occurred in Hollywoodland, however, and Spielberg ? who had yet to make a "nasty aliens" film ? found his own slate clean, as did his would-be star, Tom Cruise. With Tinseltown's most successful director and its most popular actor ready, willing and able to work together, Paramount granted WotW a top-priority green light.
Spielberg finished the project in record time (72 days filming), shooting the big battle scenes first to give the CGI boffins the maximum amount of time to generate the 500-plus special effects. How those turn out we'll have to wait and see (the teaser trailer gives nothing away, probably because the effects aren't yet completed). But we do know that Spielberg and Koepp have updated Wells story, which was originally written and set in the green and pleasant land of late nineteenth-century England. Their film is set in present-day New Jersey, and where Wells described a nation of common folk combining forces to battle the Martian menace, Spielberg and Koepp describe the effect of the invasion on one ordinary family, of which Cruise's estranged parent is the patriarch. With the attending domestic shenanigans that story outline suggests, WotW looks to be a very Spielbergian take on the original novel.

It's not the first adaptation of Wells's book to take liberties with the source material, however. George Pal, the science-fiction movie mogul of the nuclear age, produced the first version of The War of the Worlds in 1953. That too, transplanted the action to America for the very sound reason that it was actually an adaptation of Orson Welles's nation-terrifying radio broadcast, itself only loosely based on the Wells original. (Interesting fact: when Wells was holiday in Texas, he bumped into Welles while asking for directions. The two men got along famously.) There was also a short-lived late-1980s American TV series that worked as a sequel to the 1953 film and a second (or rather third) film version has been completed this year by someone called Timothy Hines, who may be looking to hitch a ride with the Spielberg/Cruise juggernaut.

Wells' science-fiction has provided more fodder for filmmakers than, arguably, any other author (and I'm not even touching on his later comic social novels, such as Kipps and The History of Mr Polly). Since Georges Melies's 1902

Wells/Jules Verne adaptation, Le Voyage dans la Lune, film versions of Wells's work have appeared almost every decade. The Time Machine, for example, was made for television in 1949, for cinema in 1960 (by George Pal), again for television in 1978, went back to the big screen in 1992 and yet again in 2002 (which Wells's great-grandson, Simon, directed). It even went soft porn with that same year's The Erotic Time Machine.

The reason Wells's science-fiction stories are so regularly adapted for the screen is because the spectacles he describes in them are suited to the visual medium. Wells was the first with his spectacular ideas. He was the first novelist to write about time travel, alien invasions, genetic manipulation (The Island of Dr Moreau four filmed versions to date) and nuclear war (The World Set Free, published in 1914).

Just as First Men in the Moon provided the pioneering Melies with an excuse to open his box of magic tricks, so, too, did James Whale's 1933 version of The Invisible Man (the first of too many to count) advance the effects of the era.
And just as George Pal spent two-thirds of his considerable $2m budget on the effects for his version of The War of the Worlds, so, too, will Spielberg be realising Wells' ideas on a truly grand scale.

The only question that leaves is, which Wells story will be appropriated next? I'd like to see an adaptation of When the Sleeper Awakes, Wells's follow-up to The War of the Worlds, which bears a horrifyingly prescient social message and is the only one not, as yet, adapted for the screen.

HERALD ARTICLE : http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/38231.html

Author:  Alland [ Sun May 22, 2005 11:24 pm ]
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For the record, here in the US, there were a number of movies and short-lived TV series based on the novel "The Invisible Man". The original 1930s film with Claude Rains (the corrupt French police official in "Casablanca") in the title role is great, and was at least faithful enough to continue portraying the mad scientist Griffin as a hothead with no patience for the fools around him.

Here in the US, we've also had two movie versions of "The Time Machine" (the older one with Rod Taylor is the better of the two, with an achingly beautiful musical score by Russell Garcia), one cheap version of "The Food of the Gods", and one of "The First Men in the Moon" with the mooncalf and other special effects produced by special effects icon Ray Harryhausen. I doubt if "In the Days of the Comet" or the more obscure novels "The World Set Free" and "The War in the Air" will ever be done unless there's some company created that specializes in odd films, as the storylines were quite dated. The same probably goes, alas, for my favorite of his short stories, "The Land Ironclads".

Author:  Evilnerfherder [ Mon May 23, 2005 12:44 am ]
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I remember the 'Invisible Man' TV series.. They showed it in the UK.. late 70's I think it was, and starred David McCallum. It was quite good.

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Mon May 23, 2005 1:00 am ]
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:? One thing that always bothered me about the David McCallum Invisible Man. in the opening sequence, McCallum pulled his mask off and you saw the scene from the back of his head as he unfastens the mask. you should have seen the inside of the mask, instead you saw the floor and wall :-s

Author:  Evilnerfherder [ Wed May 25, 2005 6:39 am ]
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Oh I don't remember that, I was only young then! Oddly, though, I do remember the theme tune.

Author:  Loz [ Wed May 25, 2005 8:02 am ]
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Does any one remember the Gemini Man I think it was called that? I guy could remain invisable for one minute and then he had to become visable. If he didn't he remained invisable for ever.

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Wed May 25, 2005 11:26 pm ]
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:? Thats a new one on me Loz :-s . US or UK?

Author:  Evilnerfherder [ Thu May 26, 2005 7:09 am ]
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That premise sounds vaguely familiar, Loz.
Wasn't that also the basis of the new 'Invisible Man' series that was on the Sci-Fi channel a year or so back?

Author:  Loz [ Thu May 26, 2005 1:13 pm ]
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Don't know about that Evilnerfherder. But to answer Lonesome it was US.

I remember that in the Pilot he went down in a deep sea diving bell and something went wrong. When he emerged he was invisable. So the government doods made him a watch that he wore. He adjusted it to make himself invisable and then the countdown would be on till he had to turn back or be forever invisable. I'm talking late 70's I think.

Author:  Loz [ Thu May 26, 2005 1:20 pm ]
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Here is a link to a site about it - http://www.tvtome.com/tvtome/servlet/Sh ... emini_Man/

Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Thu May 26, 2005 9:16 pm ]
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nope, thats a new one to me, I've never heard of it and the picture didn't jog any memories either.

Author:  Loz [ Thu May 26, 2005 9:22 pm ]
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I used to watch it every week. It only had the one season. wasn't very good.

The David McCallum one was better.

Author:  McTodd [ Fri Jun 24, 2005 3:04 pm ]
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Alland wrote:
...my favorite of his short stories, "The Land Ironclads".

Why not build your own from card? :D



Author:  Lonesome Crow [ Fri Jun 24, 2005 10:37 pm ]
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Cool site :D

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