Starring: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne
Director: Byron Haskin
Running Time: 85 mins
The War Of The Worlds is an American film, based on the book by H.G. Wells, about an army of martians who crash land on Earth in search of a new home, however mankind’s resistance begins a bitter conflict between the two sides that threatens to tear the planet apart.
Well, this is a classic sci-fi, and although it’s still interesting in terms of its own historical context as well as its visuals, the majority of this was just a bit boring. The main problem with it is that it’s seriously dated; the pacing is painfully slow, and it’s not a thrilling story to follow at all.
Let’s start on the positive side, which is mostly about the historical context of this film. Like so many of these 1950s sci-fi thrillers (The Day The Earth Stood Still, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers), it’s just US anti-Communist propaganda in the early stages of the Cold War, however the way that they are portrayed in this film more clearly than any other is just fascinating.
The martians act as the Communists in this case, however this does work quite well in putting you right into the middle of the Red Scare, because the alien spaceships look pretty scary; their movements are pretty eerie, and when you see what’s inside, it’s actually pretty shocking, even for a film of this time.
It’s amazing how good the special effects are in this film for 1953, and although that is hugely helped by the fact that this is in colour, the explosions, gun battles and spaceships all do look fantastic here.
On the other hand, this film still isn’t that exciting to watch due to its dated structure. The problem is that, as with so many films from the past, the pacing doesn’t correspond so well to the thrilling atmosphere it’s trying to create, meaning that despite wanting to be excited and terrified by the war of the worlds, you’ve got to wait upwards of half an hour in this 85 minute-long movie to get any real action.
Overall, this gets a 6.8, because despite being an interesting film as a historical entity, with surprisingly good visual effects, there’s just not much here to get really excited about.