Committed To The Asylum – H. G. WELLS’ WAR OF THE WORLDS

I love cheesy B movies. I always have and I always will. It’s because of this that I love the movies of The Asylum, their filmmakers are the new Roger Cormans. In this series, I will take a look at all of their so-called “mockbusters”, and compare them to their theatrical counterparts. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds

This week I’m tackling one of three adaptations of War of the Worlds that saw release in 2005, only one of which was theatrical. Spoiler alert – it wasn’t this one. Co-written and directed by David Michael Latt (whose other directing credits you’ve never heard of, trust me), H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds might just be the reason people have such a low opinion of The Asylum.

Unlike King of the Lost World, this one commits the cardinal sin of DTV genre flicks, it’s boring. It’s so very, very boring. It was an interminably long 93 minutes with very few saving graces.

It starts with C. Thomas Howell’s scientist George Herbert (oh, how clever) and his wife preparing for a trip to Washington DC for their 10th anniversary. Their son is sick, but he’s coming along too. (1st – Who brings their kid with them to celebrate their wedding anniversary? 2nd – If you think his being sick is going to tie into the defeat of the Martians, you’re wrong. It’s never brought up again.) As George and his son look through their telescope at the, um, daytime sky, they see a meteor. When George’s boss demands he check it out, his wife takes the kid to DC in a huff with George swearing he’ll meet them when he finishes.

On his way to work, he comes upon the crash site where a Martian kills some guy. George starts walking to DC with a soldier and the pair run into Jake Busey who shockingly plays a crazy soldier. And… and… you know what, I’m going to be honest I watched this movie like two days ago and I’ve already forgotten large parts of it. I checked online for cast lists and little facts for this post, and was floored when I was reminded of the priest that led him in the wrong direction. I had completely forgotten about that guy.

H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds is filled with things that happen for no real reason, with no real payoff. The kid is sick, but that is irrelevant. George kills a Martian with rabies vaccine, but that’s not what takes down the rest of them. Anyone who has lived in human society in the past hundred or so years knows how the aliens are defeated, so I guess that’s why Latt decided to not explain it in his film. Yea, in this version the Martians just start dying. Everybody hugs. The end.

Fuck this movie. You don’t even really to get to see the aliens all that much.

I do have to say though, that there are two hilariously ridiculous stories about this adaptation of War of the Worlds.

Unlike most Asylum productions, where the filmmakers know exactly what they’re making, director David Michael Latt had an insanely inflated sense of importance regarding his film. He was even quoted as saying, “I tell my friends [War of the Worlds] is like The Pianist, but instead of Nazis you have aliens.” Seriously.

Also according to Wikipedia, Latt was unsure that Tyranie Van Wyk-Loots would take the part of George Herberts’ wife, Felicity, thinking the actress would balk at having to do a nude scene. His fears turned out to be unfounded as she was thrilled to be involved in the project due to her love of science fiction (particularly Star Trek). What makes this especially funny is that the nude scene in question is completely gratuitous and lasts only seconds. She steps out of the shower and puts on a towel. That’s it. That is the scene the filmmaker who thought he was making the sci-fi Pianist was willing to lose actresses over.

How does it compare?

It doesn’t. I didn’t even really care for Spielberg’s War of the Worlds either, but at least shit happens in it. This was an hour and a half of the guy from Soul Man walking and very, very rarely seeing an alien.

Next week: Exorcism: The Possession of Gail Bowers

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