First of all, thanks, Tee, for letting me don your shoes and write a movie review. Now watch what I do with it, you may never let me do it again.
Instead of doing a normal review, I'm going to turn this one interactive. Reading various discussions of this film on the net, a question occurred to me that I find intriguing, and I want to know what our listeners think.
So, I'll give a quick review of the movie, then get on to the question.
The Gist: Tom Cruise gets the kids for the weekend. The aliens invade. Tom and kids run for their lives.
The Good: The special effects. The acting. The little girl. The other special effects.
The Bad: Seeing the aliens before the end. The teenage kid (his character, not the actor, he was quite good).
The Ugly: Watching the aliens eat.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
War of the Worlds
Official Webpage: www.waroftheworlds.com
Ok, there's the review. That took a lot out of me. Now on to the question I pose to you, the Dragon Page listener.
This is an interesting movie for me, because it illustrates for me two different thoughts on making movies from other source material. Should we try to keep as close to the original material as we can, or should we use the source material as a guide, but be free to modify it as we see fit?
From a scientific standpoint, the plot of War of the Worlds suffers on two counts. The first is the idea of three-legged aliens and their three-legged vehicles. The second is the foundational idea of the plot: aliens that are superior in every possible way are finally outdone by simple germs that mankind has evolved into symbiotic relationships with.
As discussed in the ?Movie Answer Man? section of Roger Ebert's website, three legs ? tripods ? make great stationary foundations, but suck when it comes to locomotion. Even if aliens could evolve to have three legs, which is unlikely, there would be no reason for them to use that model in their machinery. Humans don't use two and four legged or wheeled vehicles because there are two-legged and four-legged animals. We use them because those designs work. And they'd work for three-legged aliens, too.
Also, given what we know today about how viruses and bacteria work, the idea that they would wipe out the aliens, while not completely out of the realm of possibility, is a loooooooong shot. As they like to say on fark.com, here comes the science.
So, some would argue, justifiably so, that since the science upon which the movie is based is about as accurate as that of The Core, the movie is a dud. The writers should have done a bit of research before they sat down to write the script.
However? errors in science or not, these germ-wimpy walking camera stands are faithful to the original work. Can you have War of the Worlds with an ending other than germs killing the aliens? Then it's not War of the Worlds, is it?
So, my question to you, dear reader, is: If we want to revisit a previous work, do we stay close to the original, or do we correct and modify the stories to coincide with current scientific knowledge, which, of course, may one day become obsolete? Do science fiction stories, like scientific theories, need revision as scientific knowledge grows?
Most fans of science fiction novels enjoy reading the old stuff even when they know full well that the ideas they are based on are slightly, or even grossly, flawed. All the evidence says that there are not now, nor have there ever been men from Mars, yet Stranger in a Strange Land is still in print and considered a must read. Readers have no trouble understanding that science fiction of the past is based on the scientific understanding of the day, and adjust to it. But does the same logic apply to remakes of older works?
So, I want to know what you think. You're not limited to discussion of WotW, of course. When a movie is translated from the book to the screen, what should and should not change?