"First I have to say I understand that a lot of studios deal with small budgets, and as a result have to make use with what they have. A lot of people can get away with very little, (look at the success of the cheaply and quickly made "Pyscho" for example) so I always have a quiet respect for those shoe-string productions. This film was obviously in the same boat. (Nu Image reportedly makes their films on an average budget of $2 million) As a result, you won't see a mass armada of alien ships blasting through a wide American countryside and you won't see a massive skyline of destroyed New York. What's the ultimate result? A mixed bag.
Like another reviewer said, there is a lot of potential here ruined by writing and some of the special effects. The acting is probably the best I've seen in any direct-to-video market. C. Thomas Howell comes out strong as the main character, though Rhett Giles nearly steals the show as Pastor Victor, a Catholic priest who joins Howell for a good while. (and constantly walks the thin line of becoming the cliche loony priest)
The problem is the script really kills a lot of what could have made it a decent movie. For example, nobody knows that it's aliens attacking earth, people think terrorists are attacking. You're telling me no one would have figured it out, or known landing pods were attacking? And supposedly the Martian arrival was so surprising that the government in Washington was wiped out. H.G. Wells' characters saw the Martian landing craft coming to earth well before it landed, you're telling me no one saw these coming until the day they landed (even the main character, an ASTRONOMER mind you, doesn't see them until he looks through his son's telescope) and no one caught on we were being invaded by aliens, not terrorists or creatures from the earth? I also find it funny in sci-fi/horror movies when soldiers armed with M16's and pistols open fire on large metal vehicles. Your average soldier wouldn't even shoot at a tank, why would they shoot at a giant alien craft? Also I was constantly thinking, "Where are the tanks? Where are the bombers? Where are the military craft that actually do serious damage?" There's a line where C. Thomas Howell says, "Missiles didn't work against them" though I don't know how he knows that, since we haven't even HEARD about them being used. I know this is low budget, but come on. Speaking of the military, the dialogue between soldiers is terrible! Imagine every cliche line you'd expect an officer to say, then picture it coming out of Jake Busey's mouth. That's what you get here. The scene where C. Thomas Howell loses his family's photo and cries over it was a great scene, but the effect gets ruined when Jake "My Dentist Loves Me" Busey appears and reminds us that the writers didn't even try to google military commands when they did this.
I also think the title was a poor choice: this is not H.G. Well's "War of the Worlds," this is David Michael Latt's film version of "War of the Worlds," which admittingly takes some bits from the script surprisingly lacking in many film adaptations. The character of the artilleryman is replaced with a soldier, the story is told pretty much from the main character's point of view, and Victor obviously replaces the curator. There's the Martian gas and the death from disease, but the event takes place in modern times and the Martians attack worldwide, (assumingly) plus the tripods are replaced with six legged walking crafts.
All in all, what could have been a decent low-budget sci-fi film - heck, even a poor adaptation forgivable because of delivery - gets destroyed by poor writing that reminds you you're watching a direct-to-video movie. If you're a die hard C. Thomas Howell fan or Jake Busey inspires you to brush your teeth religiously, then by all means rent this."
A Real Stinker
Howie | Arkansas | 03/22/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this to "showcase" the George Pal version from 1953 because for certain classic films I like having differing versions for comparison to the original. This version makes almost *any* film look good. Even "Plan 9 from Outer Space"!
The scriptwriters appear to have used only the most basic premise and enough plot points to keep the title of the book. The script is pedestrian, full of trite dialog and lots of moments with horrible pacing and extremely flawed logic. It tries to be sophisticated, but simply flounders under the weight of it's own pretensions. The acting, if you can call it that, is wooden, stilted, simply terrible. However, in all fairness it could be the poor script and/or direction that caused the acting to suffer. The few special effects are passable for a "made for TV" type production but overall unremarkable and lackluster. The Martian ships look like rejects from "Starship Troopers" bug population walking around on 6, not 3, legs. Overall this direct-to-video film looks and plays like an incredibly poor "made for TV" type movie. Worse than the worst "made for Sci-Fi Channel" movie you could imagine. Even worse than the worst high school play you've ever seen. I knew I was in trouble after the first 5 minutes and it just went downhill after that. I normally watch everything I purchase, but this one was so bad I was compelled to skip 5-10 minute segments several times just to get through a single viewing.
Productions like this are what give the direct-to-video market a bad rap. 0 stars really."
THIS IS NOT WAR OF THE WORLDS
Naomi Lambert | Chicago, IL USA | 09/10/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was called INVASION, then they changed its name H.G. WELLS WAR OF THE WORLDS just before the Spielberg film came out. This is not the other H.G. WELLS THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, which was a low budget adaptation trying to do the book. NOW the producers have changed the name back to INVASION again to cash in on the TV series, INVASION, about to broadcast. This movie is not WELLS. It is not WAR OF THE WORLDS. The nudity that they put in it is bland and you are better off renting PORN if you want that. Avoid this movie like the plague. If you look at this company's website, they gleefully have knocked off (copied) many bigger movies as their mainstay. If this movie were a newspaper it would make the fish wrapped in it smell bad."
Hg Wells War of the Worlds
Jason Voorhees | California, US | 07/16/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I have recently seen the new Steven Spielberg Movie and have seen the old fifty's War of the Worlds and enjoyed both so I thought I would surely enjoy this one as well. Well I was Wrong. In the movie there are only 2 0r 3 scenes with the alien tripods, and those scenes are very short. The tripods did include heat rays that were similar to the ones from the book and the Steven Spielberg movie put the whole thing looked like a giant crab or spider. and the aliens somewhat reminded me of the movie "Alien". I prefer the aliens from the other War of the Worlds movies a lot better, especially the 1953 version. I would only recommend this movie to someone that wants to see all the War of the Worlds movie to compare them (Like me)otherwise I suggest you watch another movie instead."
Sheila | 10/08/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Ouch. This movie hurts. Poor Gary Busey's kid, stuck in a flop like this when he's so talented. Bad FX, bad acting, bad directing, bad editing. Everything is so bad it's not worth explaining. The aliens are Super bad. I can't recommend this, in fact, I recommend instead, if you want to see War of the Worlds read the book or see the classic movie version by Uav. If you like to waste time and money on cuhrap then this is the movie for you.