As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I will never stop loving Steven Spielberg’s 2005 take on H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.” It was a damned decent science fiction epic, the special effects were fabulous, and it’s actually pretty scary upon its first viewing. The movie successfully channeled post-9/11 anxieties without exploiting them, and Spielberg characteristically humanized the story’s apocalypse by framing it through the eyes of a realistic, relatable modern family. (The terror of the genocidal monsters is a little ironic, too … when I was a kid, Spielberg was known for the wondrous aliens of 1977’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and 1982’s “E.T. — The Extra Terrestrial.”)
Say what you want about Tom Cruise … I think he’s a decent actor, and he’s led some really terrific science fiction films. Dakota Fanning was fantastic child actor here, and Tim Robbins was predictably brilliant (even if his story arc, in my opinion, was largely unnecessary and too depressing).
This was a great flick.
My friend made eggs this morning that look like the martian from 1953’s “War of the Worlds.”
CHANGE MY MIND.
What a find! A poet I admire passed this along to me, and it was too good not to share — 47 hours of science fiction radio classics that Open Culture recently added to its Spotify page. You’ve got to be a Spotify member to hear these, but signing up is free and easy. (Spotify also makes it easy to reset your password if you’ve forgotten it, as I did.)
Right at the top of the list is Orson Welles’ famous/infamous 1938 broadcast of his radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.” (Yes, this the show that made people believe that martians were actually invading. How’s that for “fake news?”)
Welles’ broadcast was actually the first classic radio I’d ever heard, when I was a kid in the 1980’s. I’d gotten it on a pair of cassette tapes for either Christmas or my birthday, along with an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” If those strike you as weird presents, I was a weird kid.
I loved those tapes — the Poe recording was so good it genuinely scared me. (The narrator really nailed it.) If I happen across that online, I’ll be sure to post it here.