H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (2005 film): Wikis


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H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds
Directed by Timothy Hines
Produced by Susan Goforth
Written by Timothy Hines
Susan Goforth
H. G. Wells (novel)
Starring Anthony Piana
Music by Jamie Hall
Editing by Timothy Hines
Distributed by Pendragon Pictures
Release date(s) June 14, 2005
Running time 180 min.
Language English

H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds is one of three film adaptations of H. G. Wells' classic novel released in 2005. This version was produced by the independent film production company Pendragon Pictures and unlike the other film adaptations which were set in current day in the United States, it was the first set in the book's original time period and location, the late 1890s in the United Kingdom. It received mostly mixed reviews by critics and was released on DVD in America. The movie has recently been released through GAGA on DVD in Japan.


Production history

The film's roots date back to 2000, when Pendragon Pictures approached Paramount with plans for their version, but with no results. Director Timothy Hines had long desired to make his own version of the story since he read the original novel at the age of eight. He had always wanted to tell the tale just as it was in the novel, but he eventually settled on a modern retelling, much like the original 1953 film and the 2005 Spielberg adaptation. Hines' version was to take place in Seattle, with a Martian attack preceded by neutralizing electromagnetic power, so that events could be kept as similar to the novel as possible.

Anticipation for the film began to stir in July 2001, specifically from many anxious Wells fans. In a 2004 interview with Scifidimensions.com,[1] Hines stated that after early Microsoft employees and others in the computer industry saw his desktop film, Bug Wars, a package of $42 million was assembled for the updated modern version. Katie Tomlinson was supposed to lead the cast as the lead character Jody, the foreign correspondent, and Susan Goforth was also set to star. Hines stated that in 2001 he began negotiations with Michael Caine, Charlize Theron and Eric Stoltz to be in the film.[2] Hines was also planning to shoot the film in the brand new Sony CineAlta HD system which George Lucas had used to film Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.[3]

Production began in early September 2001, with plans to move into principal photography by October of that year, and a Halloween 2002 target release date. Businessweek[4] reported that Hines abandoned this approach after the World Trade Center attacks.[1] Two weeks later, with the support of Charles Keller, the director of the H. G. Wells Society, Hines began writing a new script with producer Susan Goforth, while they were filming Chrome. The new direction taken was that this version was to be adapted directly from the Wells novel.

Little information appeared about the film until 2004, when it was revealed that the principal photography had finished under the fake title of The Great Boer War, and the producers planned to release the film on March 30, 2005. That date came and went with no film release; the film never opened in theaters, but was released in North America on DVD in June 2005. In a series of questions presented by audiences,[5] Hines claimed that the film never saw a theatrical release due to exhibitors pulling out, either from being bullied by Paramount, or through fear of reprisal from the studio.

A book published in early 2005 entitled War of the Worlds: From Wells to Spielberg which includes a respectable amount of information on the Pendragon film, says that the budget amount was approximately $25 million.[6]

Critical reaction

Although the film's score by Jamie Hall was well received,[7][8] the film as a whole saw mixed reviews by critics; who, while often praising the good intentions behind the project and its faithfulness to the source material,[9] variously described the result as "unendurable"[10] and "terrible in almost every way a movie can be",[11] with "awful" effects.[12]

Reaction evoked the work of Ed Wood,[11] and the worst of Mystery Science Theater 3000.[13] However, one reviewer suggested the performances were like that in British period melodramas, and likened Hines to Karel Zeman.[14]


Film rights to The War of the Worlds are in the public domain in the United States, with Paramount Pictures claiming rights in the European Union, leaving the rest of the world markets wide open and thus allowing adaptations such as Pendragon's version to be legal. However, Hines claimed that Paramount had harassed him over legal issues and held up the release of his film, showing a letter from Paramount to Susanne Ault,[15] which proved Hines' statements that Paramount was threatening Hines legally.

In July 2006, Pendragon Pictures gave formal legal notice on the claim that the Dark Horse Comics publication comic book, the similarly named H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, lifted certain unique elements, such as camera angles, from Pendragon's film. The production company set up a site that displayed comparisons and let audiences decide for themselves, but as part of a settlement of the legal action with Dark Horse, this site no longer exists.


To date the film has been re-released twice, available in 17 countries including Japan, but neither is available in the European Union.


H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds: Director's Cut

Released: September, 2005
After complaints about the original film's three hour running time, this version cut about forty-five minutes from the running time. The version was only available in regions 2 and 4, and thus not available in the United States and Canada.

The Classic War of the Worlds

Released: December 25, 2006
This edition is the special final cut edit of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds and is 125 minutes long, fifty-five minutes shorter than the original film. It has added scenes, re-edits, and re-tooled special effects. The director says this is the definitive version. The Classic War of the Worlds replaces the 3 hour rough cut version, H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, that was widely distributed and is now discontinued.


The early part of the film follows the early part of the novel's plot in great detail. But much has been omitted during the latter parts of the story. In particular, the scenes of devastated London are largely gone. Use of Black Smoke, so prominent in the novel, is almost entirely absent. The climactic scene of the novel, where the Narrator looks down into the Martians' great pit, their headquarters, is also missing.

Main cast

  • Anthony Piana - The Writer/The Brother
  • Jack Clay - Ogilvy
  • John Kaufmann - The Curate
  • Darlene Sellers - Mrs. Elphinstone
  • James Lathrop - The Artilleryman
  • Susan Goforth - The Wife
  • Jamie Lynn Sease - Miss Elphinstone


External links


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