Monday, 4 November 2019

The BBC's "War Of The Worlds"

Very light spoilers ahead.

I had hopes for this show. I liked the book (OK, when I read it >30 years ago). I love sci-fi. I like historical fiction. I was hoping for Downton Abbey meets Independence Day. Unfortunately I think this show was, as we say in NZ, "a bit average".

I really liked the characters reacting semi-realistically to terror and horror. It always bothers me that in fiction normal people plunge into traumatic circumstances, scream a bit, then get over it in time for the next scene. This War Of the Worlds takes time to show characters freaking out, resting and consoling one another, but not quite getting it all back together. Overall I thought the acting was well done.

I think the pacing and editing were poor. Some parts were slow, but other parts (especially in the first half) lurch from scene to scene so quickly it feels like important scenes were cut. It was hard to work out was going on geographically.

Some aspects seemed pointlessly complicated or confusing, e.g. the spinning ball weapon.

Call me old-fashioned, but when a man abandons his wife I am not, by default, sympathetic to him, so I spent most of the show thinking our male protagonist is kind of a bad guy, when I'm clearly supposed to be siding with him against closed-minded society. I even felt a bit vindicated when towards the end his lover Amy wonders if they did the right thing. At least for a change the Christian-esque character was only a fool, not a psychopath, so thank God for small mercies.

I guess I'm still waiting for the perfect period War Of The Worlds adaptation.

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