War of the Releases
First of all, let’s look at the original movie released in 1953 and produced by George Pal. To some, it is STILL the best science fiction movie ever made. To others, it is the movie that started them down the path of devotion to science fiction…like our very own Robert here at SciFiPundit. Nonetheless, it is truly a science fiction classic. One of the reasons this movie was so effective was in the way the aliens were portrayed as so cold and brutal. And you have to admit the heat rays coming out of the somewhat vague Martian War Machine were enough to give the paranoid movie viewer of the 1950’s exactly what they wanted. These people were in the grips of the cold war. A sudden, unexpected attack on the human race was topical and timely. Unlike H. G. Wells novel where the aliens “make use” of their human victims, these aliens just want to annihilate the human race. Still, it is safe to say this movie paved the way for many of today’s science fiction movies, books and TV series. And you too can buy it for your ever growing science fiction DVD collection!
I don’t have to tell you Paramount is coming out with its own WotW on June 29. They brought out the “big guns” for this one with Steven Spielberg directing and Tom Cruise in the staring role. I have read and heard that Spielberg took great liberties with the original story. If you were at Starfest, you saw the "specially made for us" trailer where Spielberg and Cruise eluded to extensive use of the original novel’s plot. I believe I have seen all of the trailers, even the Japanese trailer that was shown at Starfest . In the Japanese trailer, you catch a glimpse of what the war machines are going to look like, although brief. You may find the Japanese trailer here. Pay close attention to the scene with the sea-going vessel, there is a war machine in the background. I will try not to form an opinion on this movie just yet. However, it does look like your typical high budget, filled with Hollywood special effects movie. Hopefully this movie will live up to all the hype.
Meanwhile over at Sony BMG, they are re-launching the Jeff Waynes 1978 Musical Version in a re-mastered 5.1 Surround Sound. The CD collection (plus one DVD) will include many extras such as remixes of his songs from the award winning album. You will find Jason Hayward of the Moody Blues on this June 20th release as you would have on the original. In addition, Mr. Waynes will be putting out a CGI version of the musical adaptation in 2007. There is a wonderful article that greatly details Jeff Waynes' re-release. You may read it here.
Asylum Studios, well known for its horror movies, will release its version on June 28th. They describe their straight to DVD movie as a “modern retelling of H.G. Wells' classic sci-fi horror, civilization is laid to ruin when a super race of aliens invades Earth”. Also, they are calling their Martians “walkers”. Additionally, their “walkers” will have six legs instead of the typical tripod configuration.
On March 30, 2005, Pendragon Pictures released its own take on WotW set in Victorian times straight to DVD. Interesting conceptually as the novel was written in 1898, it is said to closely follow the original Wells novel. On Pendragon’s website, there is mention of a theatrical release. However, it does not say when this will happen.
There is no doubt that the Spielberg version will rake in the biggest bucks. But good for the other studios that are capitalizing on the WotW tide. I am hoping to have the opportunity to experience all the different versions. Of course, we will have to wait until 2007 for the CGI variation. In the meanwhile, as the Scifipundit staff has the opportunity to view the various movies and listen to the newly re-mastered recordings, we will let you know what we think. And as always we look forward to your thoughts and opinions!