War of the Worlds

 

Dan’s reactions to War of the Worlds (1953)

 

Paranoia

At first, watching this movie made me think how paranoid life used to be back in the 50s, but then I realized that Independence Day is almost an exact clone of this film, right down to the City Hall/ White House blowing up.  Nothing has really changed.  Intergalactic xenophobia is alive and well. 

 

Abandonment of Reason

The whole notion of jumping to conclusions – even when they fly in the face of logic and reason – is so troubling.  The biggest of all of course, is that everyone puts on their safety goggles and raincoats to watch the nuclear blast.  And what’s with the idea that the safest place to be is as far from Los Angeles as possible?  The martians were landing everywhere!

 

Stereotypes

Ok, why does every scientist speak English with a German accent?

 

Science is Useless

Can’t the scientists do more than just put the Martian blood under a microscope and stare at the Martian hardware?  Anyone can do that.  Did the scientists do anything at all? What are we paying these people for? 

 

Faith Rules

When you’re up against a wall, just pray for a biological miracle.  How unsatisfying.  It’s like those Spiderman episodes where he’s dead in the water and he escapes with dumb luck.  I don’t want my protagonists relying on luck, especially scientists and superheroes.

 

Bomb First, Ask Questions Later

“Oh no, our bombs aren’t working…run to the hills!”

 

Self-Reflection

We watched this film at the media lab on a laserdisc that required that we stop the film three times to put in the next disc.  I was amazed to notice my own reaction to such a “primitive” form of technology.  Laserdiscs have only been around for 10-15 years, yet the idea of stopping the movie to put in the next disc was so objectionable to us.

 

Los Angeles is Screwed

Earthquakes, floods, riots, fires – and now Martians!