Neither Do Men Live Nor Die In Vain
Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m pretty forgiving with a lot of shows and don’t really go in too hard unless there’s a drastic change in quality or a show falls at the last hurdle, delivering something utterly unforgivable. The War Of The Worlds then is a show that makes it very hard for me to remain positive. From the perversion of the source material through to the lackadaisical pacing and strange stylistic choices that do little other than suck all life from the show, The War Of The Worlds is one of the worst adaptations I’ve sat through, ending with an utterly bizarre and tonally jarring finale that ends the entire project in the same ruinous disarray England is left in by the end of the episode.
We begin in the future, during the desolation of England following the martian invasion. A priest tells the people that the church grounds is the only hallowed place left while Amy stares impassively into the distance as humanity hangs on by a thread.
From here we jump back in time to find Amy awakening at 9am to Frederick commenting that the day hasn’t dawned. As he and George step outside with Amy they watch on in horror as the remnants of the monstrous machine sits as a metallic gravestone by the side of the house. With a door unlocked down the hall, Frederick and Amy head off, where they appear to be stalked by an alien creature lying in the depths of the basement. Before they can continue on however, the creatures mechanically roar their way into the room before slowly and methodically dragging the old lady away.
In the future Amy continues to despair, watching her son sleep before teaming up with Ogilvy to discuss what to do next. This then brings us back to the present too, where George decides that the alien invasion is a a result of Britain dominating the world. Frederick screams at George, telling him to get a grip, as the scene constantly shifts between past and present. Between these flashes, we see the alien creatures kill Frederick after they throw firebombs at them while George and Amy embrace as they take refuge inside.
Amy’s theory is that sickness causes the aliens to die and as she approaches the priest in the present, she and Ogilvy try in vain to convince him to let her experiment on the sick. With syringes and hoses, they begin to spray the sickness in the ensuing fields to try and test the theory Back in the past, George begins to go mad, suffering the effects of typhoid after being cooped up inside for so long until she slaps him across the face. In the present, we see the experiment has been a success and they toast their victory.
Back in the past, George has enough and sacrifices himself to save Amy. As she runs away, we cut back to the present where Amy discusses the situation with Ogilvy. As the episode closes out, Amy narrates the final scenes as she talks about the world she used to know. After putting her son to bed, she walks outside and notices a solitary shrub rising up from the ashes. As she stares at the heavens, the sun shines down on her. The new world beckons as the series draws to a close.
The future scenes suck all tension out the story because you know Amy will survive, rendering any suspense here pointless. To make matters worse, the entire invasion feels boring and lifeless, lacking any sort of intensity or humanity to it with long, drawn out scenes of characters staring into space. I don’t doubt the hard work I’m sure many people put into creating this show and hats off to those who worked on the project but it seems utterly bizarre to me how you can take a relatively simple book and turn it into a contrived, mundane invasion lacking intensity and direction.
The entire episode relies heavily on this back-and-forth motion too and while I understand they’ve tried to make the series artistic and visually different, it just doesn’t work at all. The colours feel off, the constant jumps are ill-timed and the entire episode lacks any dramatic tension for what’s happening on screen. While the overall camera work and musical score is pretty good, it only elevates the show into the realm of poor, rather than the terrible depths it somehow manages to slip into. I wasn’t a fan of the Tom Cruise film either but based on this showing, I’d recommend watching that instead of this disappointing three-part miniseries.
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!