Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Deadly Virus

The deadly virus that is my cold is still trying to kill me. The congestion has been keeping me awake, and so sapping my energy, but I had a better sleep last night, which suggests that it's easing up on my nasal passages and is going to start attacking my lungs.

Helena and I watched the new "War of the Worlds" film the other day. By "new", I am of course referring to the 2005 version starring Tom "Midget" Cruise and a cast of thousands of CGI effects.

The classic film version came out in 1953. They didn't have CGI in those days, and you could see the threads holding up the alien spaceships. Our hero in that film was Gene Barry, with Ann Robinson providing the eye candy and the screams.

Incidentally this is NOT the same Ann Robinson who's the dominatrix host of "The Weakest Link".

The other classic version of TWOTW was Orson Wells' 1938 radio adaptation. Despite the lack of Technicolor and CGI, this was the one that was considered most realistic by the audience, many of whom famously thought that they were listening to a real Martian invasion.

In both films the aliens invade and prove to be stronger than anything the world's human forces can throw at them. In the end they are killed by the same organisms that are currently making my life a misery - the deadly common cold. Sadly the aliens had spent so much time and effort perfecting their armour plating and their ray guns that they forgot to pack any Lem Sip.

The only problem with this plot is that no-one gets to make any contribution to the alien's destruction. Even if everyone had locked themselves in their basements and done nothing the attack would still have failed. This makes both films less exciting and provides less suspense than similar invasion films where the heros only just manage to prevent worldwide destruction by the skin of their teeth.

The new film is 2 hours long, which was a bit too much. Some of the special effects where cars and debris hurtle towards Tom seemed, well, wrong. It looks like all the crap is flying right into the foreground but somehow it doesn't reach where our hero is standing. Maybe it's meant to look unrealistic.

In the original film the main character is a scientist, but since neither science nor the US Army manage to defeat the marauding invaders, this doesn't really matter much, but it does help his love life, since Ann Robinson's character goes all gooey the minute she finds out who he is. He also gets a laugh at the vicar's party with the line "I was just thinking that if we could harness all of the energy expended in a barn dance, we'd be able to send that meteor back where it came from". I think I was born 50 years too late.

Although the new film was okay, I think on balance I prefer the earlier version. It's shorter and the geeky guy gets the girl. And Sir Cedric Hardwicke does the narration with his clipped British accent. Those were the days...


Jean Knee said...

I haven't seen the old version. I liked the new one simply because no one was a hero, we were all desperate and dying, which is how it really would be.

Bee said...

Tom Cruise has a new movie coming out that looks really good but I can't remember the name. Don't worry, I'll figure it out by the time you rent/buy it 4 years from now.

I hope you get better, Brian. If you have a fever go to the doctor so he/she can insert a long Q-tip in your nose to make sure you're not with pig.