Sci-fi film is a genre witch shows any given situation that could have some chance of happening via science etc. when the original film was released the genre was not heavily dominated with sci-fi movies. But when the modern day version was released the market was full with epic sci-fi cinema. The original war of the worlds was made in 1953 and directed by Byron Haskin. It stared Gene Barry and Ann Robinson as the lead characters. The opening sequence stared Cedric Hardwicke as the voiceover. The story follows the two lead characters as they fight for survival when their world is invaded.
The modern day version of war if the worlds is directed by Steven Spielberg. It stars Tom Cruise as Ray Ferrier. The story follows ray and his family as they fight for survival when their world is invaded by a wave of aliens. The opening sequence includes a voiceover by Morgan freeman. The opening sequence of the original war of the worlds starts with stock footage of the first and second world war. The footage is accompanied by a chilling voiceover by Byron Haskin. The voiceover then goes on to explain that there have been many advancements in the fields of super science but nothing can prepare earth for the war of the worlds.
The use of world war stock footage gives an initial showing of war and conflict. The scenes of war would have had a high impact when the film was released as the film was made soon after the ending of world war two. This meant that the people who were going to see this film would have been terrified of invasion. This would mean that the idea of some foreign bodies coming to invade would be quite chilling. the sound of the voiceover by Cedric Hardwicke has a chilling sentiment with a sinister deep voice. It would have and effect on the audience as with such a powerful voice you cannot help but listen to.
The second scene in the opening of the film shows the night sky and the different planets. This is also accompanied by a chilling voiceover by Byron Haskin. Byron Haskin narrates about each planet explaining about how the invaders cannot survive there. This ultimately comes to why the invasion on earth is taking place. When the film was released there would have been great awe at the amazement of the special effects. But in comparison the modern day effects it does not stand up well. This makes it appear comical in this day and age because the effects are hand draw which would be almost unheard of in today’s vast area of special effects.
As the backdrops are painted its hard to feel a sense of realism when watching the film now. But when the film was released this would have been the latest technology available. The camera pans trough each of the planets and zooms in at them to show a startling view of the different planets. As the film is about an invasion from another planet it makes sense to show the planets as something to be afraid of. The third scene in the opening shows the view from earth as a comet crashes on to the surface. We see peoples reactions outside a movie theatre when they see what has occurred.
The theatre looks as if it is in small town and the scene is easily recognisable as being set in the 1950s. You hear the screech and thud of the comet as it makes its journey to earth. The camera shows a simple shot of a conversation outside the cinema as the comet hits the ground. The final part of the opening shows a truck going upwards on a hill, a view of the landing site of where the comet hit, and a view of a spacecraft. This scene gives a feeling uncertainty as the people do not know what is going to happen strait away with the aliens.
The camera pans as the truck drives up the hill with the sound of the engine dominating the scene. The opening sequence of the modern day version of war of the worlds starts with a view of life form cells. The camera zooms out to show that the little life forms that are all around us. It also shows that even something that small can still have an effect on our lives. The whole of the opening sequence is accompanied by a chilling voiceover by Morgan freeman. The second scene shows a montage of city life. The scene shows different camera shots of people living their lives and shows view of famous landmarks around the earth.
Morgan freeman’s voiceover continues as the scene progresses. The scene shows people living out their lives normally unaware of the near threat of invasion. The third scene shows the night sky and planets and the narrative accompanies this with comments on how the aliens came to invade earth. The camera pans trough the different planets. The special effects are good. They show realistic images of the planets. The final scene of the opening sequence a harbour is shown with a crane. Then camera then changes to a shot below a mans feet. This shows an immediate set up for the lead character.
The man then leaves the crane on a long forward tracking shot while he talks with someone else on the site. The scene is obviously set on a American industrial harbour as you can tell trough the accents, cranes etc. The setting of the story isn’t that different in each film. They are both set in a somewhat small town in America. The use of camera shots is far greater in the modern day version as more technology was available. But for its day the camera work is well done in the original. In both films the portrayal of the aliens is done in a very convincing way. The aliens feel like a very real threat in both films.
The original film focuses on Gene Barry’s character and his wife. However in the modern day version of the film children are introduced into the plot which has a more real effect in the story than the originals couple. In conclusion I think that the original film would have had more response when it was released. The original may seem out of date now but when it was released it would have been seen as a brilliant innovation in film. So much so that it won an Oscar for its special effects. I think that the opening of the original has more of an effect as it uses war stock footage to show images of conflict.
This sets up an immediate idea of what the film is based upon. Invasion. The modern day version for me does not have such a great effect as the technology in the film maybe good by not groundbreaking. I feel that the movie is not doing anything new for the genre as there as many other great sci-fi films available. The story of both films has the same basic premise. I believe that the modern day version had a more lively adaptation of the story. However if the technology was available for the original director I believe he would have done a more compelling version of the film.
I also think the voiceover for the opening scenes is done more effectively in the modern day version. Morgan freeman has a recognisable voice witch makes it easier to get in to the start of the story. The modern day film made more of an impact on me mainly because it was easiest to relate to with the resent constant threat of terrorist attack. However If I was to watch the original when it was released I think it would have more of an impact. I think that the modern day version does nothing too groundbreaking and that is why I prefer the original.