Movie review: War of the Worlds

Flipping the channels over the weekend, I found that AMC was playing the 1953 film War of the Worlds, based on H.G. Wells’ book but taking place in the mid-20th rather than in the late 19th century.  I remember seeing this movie in 3-D back in the early ’80s, and liking it even then–despite the hokey glasses.  The story is old hat to us now and was maybe even a little stale back then.  I find the whole love-story-mixed-up-in-apocalyptic-events story line tiresome in anything, and in that regard this movie is a major offender.  But it was a technical masterpiece at the time.  Of the movie’s $7 million (or was it $12 million) budget, over half was spent on special effects.  The movie won an Academy Award for special effects.  And the colors were so vivid.

The movie isn’t without its flaws.  We all laughed when in Independence Day, a computer virus written on an Apple Macintosh could somehow infect an alien computer system.  I noticed the same kind of flaw in War of the Worlds.  When the hero returns with one of the Martians’ cameras, our scientists had no problem hooking it up to a projection television showing a blurred picture.  “This,” they say, “is how the Martians see us.”

But the movie is a classic, flaws and all, and worth seeing if you get a chance.