Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The butchery of H.G. Wells

Looking at, it appears that the entire media is going into orgasmic spasms of joy over the new War of the Worlds movie. Now, granted, I haven't seen it, but I've read enough reviews to conclusively determine that its links to the original book are tenuous at best.

Why does everyone find it necessary to butcher the stories of H.G. Wells? As a child, the first science fiction book I ever read was the War of the Worlds and it had a profound impact on me - just as it was. The narrative was powerful, the characters believable, and the plot was excellent. What was so wrong with it that we can't have a true-to-the-book adaptation of it? I understand that it was written in 1898 and so would seem immensely dated to a modern audience. But why do we have to modernize all science fiction? Why can't we take a lesson from the awesomely retro Sky Captains (which I know was a new story - I'm just talking about the style and retro-futurism) and present old science fiction as it was written?

And why are movie directors especially incapable of taking any of H.G. Wells' stories literally?

What Spielberg seems to have done is take the basic premise and the title and create his own movie. Why not title it something else? I'm sure it's a great movie - the reviewers love it - but it simply isn't H.G. Wells. Maybe call it the invasion of the Thetans...I'm sure Tom Cruise would love that...


Anonymous KingRufus said...

Ellison said: "What annoys me is that Spielberg is such an egomaniac these days that it has to be 'Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds. No, you puss-bag. It's H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and it wouldn't kill you to put his f--king name on it." (source)


11:34 AM  

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