Movie Review: War of the Worlds (1953)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1953 science fiction movie starring Gene Barry and Ann Robinson.

Synopsis: A large meteorite crashes near a small California town and an expert is brought in to investigate it. However, while waiting for the meteorite to cool, a hatch opens up revealing it is really transporting a deadly alien. And, as more, similar meteorites begin crashing to Earth, the world finds itself at the mercy of an army it cannot defeat.

Who's in it?

Review

I recently made my oldest daughter read H. G. Wells' "War of the Worlds" book. And, when she finally finished it this past weekend, I rewarded her by watching this version of the movie which, to this day, is still my favorite version despite being made 23 years before I was born.

There are a couple things I like about this movie. The first is the way it focuses on how humanity copes with a threat that, for all appearances at least, is going to destroy them and cannot be stopped.

I always liked the various contrasting ways people deal with the situation, including trying to fight them, reason with them, lose all sense of humanity fleeing from them and, ultimately, just simply praying for God to intervene with a miracle. This is an aspect that a lot of the newer, bigger budget versions don't fully capture.

Another thing I've always been somewhat impressed by are the special effects. Obviously, by today's standards, they are a little weak (especially the alien lasers). But, even today, are still somewhat believable.

This is particularly true of the aliens which, when revealed outside of their sophisticated machines, are actually kind of creepy looking. Even my daughter, who is actually kind of critical when it comes to monsters in older films like this, had to admit the three-eyed alien was surprisingly realistic.

My only real complaint about this movie was Robinson's character. Other than being a potential love interest for Barry's character, she didn't bring much to the movie and the fact she seemed to scream and cry over every little thing did get old after a while. I think the movie would have been better with a female character that was a little stronger and much more independent.

War Of The Worlds, The (1953)

War Of The Worlds, The (1953) (DVD)

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Final Opinion

This is a classic film that stands the test of time and, even though there are newer versions with better special effects, I do still believe this one is the best.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 04/25/2017, StevenHelmer
 
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