My view of BBC’s “War of the Worlds”
After several weeks of BBC advertising I tried to watch the first broadcast on Sunday evening and fell asleep waiting for the story to arrive. I watched it again this morning, eventually and after some considerable difficulty, using the BBC “I-Player” facility.
To be honest, I have seen more believable BBC science fiction in the days when Dr. Who was played by Sean Pertwee.
If the BBC had transcribed H.G.Wells’ story into a screenplay it may have made a good 2-3 hour drama. But, like every previous interpreter (except maybe Jeff Wayne), they felt that they had to bugger about with the story. At least the BBC set it in the correct era unlike previous film versions.
Having set the drama in the correct era, there were some fundamental errors for a “nit-picker” like myself. The biggest folly is about signing divorce papers. Did anyone check English divorce law before 1923? Can the writers explain which papers? As I understand it, the only possible accusation was adultery by the wife. This did not appear to be the case in this drama.
And as a (normally military) “rivet counter” why would anyone use a Great Western Railway train from Surrey to London? They may as well have used the Hogwarts Express.
When it came to the settings and “action”:
The woods looked like the same ones used for some “Harry Potter” scenes, totally devoid of undergrowth to impede people running from the inexpicably invisible Martian Death Ray.
There were far too many scenes of actors and “additional talent” staring in awe at stuff that would be inserted later using computer graphics. So much so that it became boring.
There were some baffling scenes of people walking in slow motion in a pseudo-Martian environment. Were these intended as “flash-forward” teasers to make us watch another episode?
I noticed that the series is “based on” H.G.Wells’ novel. It appears, so far, that “based on” refers to the title and the fact that the Martians have three-legged war machines. Also, as I mentioned above, the era is correct, which just about sets this drama above the others.
I will stick with it, if only to see if it improves.