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Noel Smith

BBC Filming War Of The Worlds in UK

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43 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

I don't watch ITV, nor a whole load of junk TV, but I have to pay for them all anyway.

You don't have to pay for them if you don't buy them,you look at the ad's for bog rolls for example you have a puppy running around a house and a Koala look alike climbing from a window and others which gives you a choice...The beeb doesn't give you a choice when it comes to paying the licence fee...

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Re being shown abroad, it was made in the UK by a production company paid for by the BBC and a Canadian company. 

I was disappointed by it for a lot of reasons others have mentioned. The Martians themselves were unimpressive and my 25 year old son who watched with me and like me enjoys science fiction, felt by the end of it that it left him with the feeling that he didn't really care whether humanity died out or not. I agreed and thought the producers didn't either. 

Edited by Mr T
Inserted missing words

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I confess that I do like the old Auntie Beeb and dont mind the licence fee as long as it generates interesting and public service broadcasting.  I think one can be both a supporter and a critic at the same time on this one.

 

On WOTW for me it was rather like too many of the drama series we see these days. The story telling is poor.  WOTW should be a slam dunk, edge of seat, attention grabbing piece even though the story is well known.  There are two things broadly wrong with modern drama these days and some of the problems go back to the 60's and 70's vogue for 100% drama and Zero % story line content, the end product being deemed arty and therefor of merit by that fact alone.  All too often now I leave Mrs T watching the latest drama in parts over a few weeks while I read a book.  At the end I ask her what it was about and she either says she is not sure what happens in the end and thinks there might be a follow up that never happens or the fiendishly complex scenario evolves into it was the butler after all so what was the fuss about. Its like the great idea for a plot/drama but cant think of how to close the story down.    In other words the story just peters put after several episodes.  It starts well, there is tension, plot and and unfolding story line that was interesting but by the end one is tempted to quote Gobber (those with kids that like How to train your dragon will understand)  "Is that it??"

 

The other type of drama is the surreal or impressionist type from the beginning where the story is totally unreal and so far off the wall that all that's really left is the actors performance.  To my mind you need all the ingredients for a really good memorable drama to come together, ie good acting, good coherent credible story line, good filming and sets and production values.  All too often one or more is missing or even left out almost deliberately it seems.

 

I thought WOTW production not bad at all except the clumsy portrayal of the martians, the acting a bit two dimensional/stereotypical and the plot line lost its way increasingly as the three parter moved on.

 

A pity as I really wanted to like this mini-series.

 

 

 

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One of the biggest problems for me was some of the editiing and pacing, which i must say comes from feeling like it was originally supposed to be some kind of 2 Part, Sat/Sun Night tale, roughly 70 mins a peice, but then someone decided to re-cut it as a 3 part 'mini series' , hashing it all about in the process.

Could be totally wrong here, but there was a feel in the last 2 episodes that were trying to balance sfx/action/drama just enough to keep each one watchable.



I am now onto the Fox/StudioCanal modern day retelling of WOTW, which whilst it has not been 'Edge of your seat', i find a lot more gripping and realistic (in terms of human behaviors) than the beebs offering. This one is about 8 episodes, so it remains to be seen if it can keep the pacing. 


Half of the problem i think was that HG wells original really showed how 'hopeless' the chances of victory were for the humans, and the savagery of the martians, which i think doesnt sail well in an 'independence day /marvel /superhero everyone wins' dominated sci-fi landscape. 

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I have to agree with all the very well made points already put across.

I was really looking forward to the series (should have known better) but it bore hardly any resemblance to the book at all and just through in the odd well known line from it. As for the completely unnecessary addition of the un-married expectant couple, the PC anti-empire speech and the need to make the story told by the female lead made it utterly disappointing.

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3 minutes ago, modelling minion said:

anti-empire speech

Is in the original HG Wells:

Quote

“We must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its own inferior races. The Tasmanians . . . were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space if fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?”

 

Telling the story from the point of view of a female shouldn't be a problem. The unmarried couple thing, didn't bother me. I don't even mind the fact that it wasn't a straight re-telling of the original Wells' story. You could say that Independence Day was a modernised version of the story with a computer virus taking the place of influenza/cold.

 

The problem wasn't the elements introduced into the story per se, it was everything else, the script, the depiction of the Martians, the direction, the pacing and most of all the story telling.

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4 minutes ago, Rumblestripe said:

Is in the original HG Wells:

 

Telling the story from the point of view of a female shouldn't be a problem. The unmarried couple thing, didn't bother me. I don't even mind the fact that it wasn't a straight re-telling of the original Wells' story. You could say that Independence Day was a modernised version of the story with a computer virus taking the place of influenza/cold.

 

The problem wasn't the elements introduced into the story per se, it was everything else, the script, the depiction of the Martians, the direction, the pacing and most of all the story telling.

I don't have a problem with female leads or with women at all but what i do have a problem with is the apparent need to replace male characters in well known books and stories with a female version, if someone changed a lead female role to be played by a male there would be hell to pay.

 

I really don't think any of the series worked well at all and don't think it would have been better with a male lead, or even a Martian one!

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1 minute ago, modelling minion said:

I don't have a problem with female leads or with women at all but what i do have a problem with is the apparent need to replace male characters in well known books and stories with a female version

I didn't mean to suggest that you did, but seeing as you  bring it up. Why not? I see this regularly particularly in discussions of Sci Fi. Dr Who has been cited most frequently. Why does it matter? If the story telling is good why not have a female hero or villain? I have yet to read a logical argument against it.

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2 hours ago, Rumblestripe said:

I didn't mean to suggest that you did, but seeing as you  bring it up. Why not? I see this regularly particularly in discussions of Sci Fi. Dr Who has been cited most frequently. Why does it matter? If the story telling is good why not have a female hero or villain? I have yet to read a logical argument against it.

I think that issue depends on context. Female Dr Who ? Maybe, why not.  Female James Bond, shurely not Monneypenny. Strong female character as a double O agent , yes. Female Sherlock Homes, ridiculous Watson. It’s context and of course a reaction against changing well known characters to be trendy pc. It’s also lazy as it stops writers inventing and developing strong female roles which is to be deplored (stopping creating them that is). So no female James Bond please but yes to an action movie about a female MI6 agent. 

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42 minutes ago, JohnT said:

So no female James Bond please but yes to an action movie about a female MI6 agent.

I mostly agree with you but I don't see the difference between a "female MI6 agent" and Bond, Jayne Bond?

 

By changing the gender or race of an established character you create a new narrative but if this is not accompanied by good story telling it is exactly as you say, lazy.

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9 hours ago, Rumblestripe said:

I mostly agree with you but I don't see the difference between a "female MI6 agent" and Bond, Jayne Bond

What I was thinking was don’t just take the format for the movie and just change the gender and leave it at that.  So no Jemima Bond please. Find something new and write a whole new storyline etc. Eg don’t turn the male character in Raiders of the List Ark into a female but instead create Lara Croft. Women deserve their own stories and roles. 

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6 hours ago, JohnT said:

What I was thinking was don’t just take the format for the movie and just change the gender and leave it at that.  So no Jemima Bond please. Find something new and write a whole new storyline etc. Eg don’t turn the male character in Raiders of the List Ark into a female but instead create Lara Croft. Women deserve their own stories and roles. 

This is absolutely spot on John. There is no way I would dream of changing the lead in the Alien franchise from a female to a male or the Sarah Connors role to a male one in Terminator, these roles were written for and work fantastically with female leads and should not be messed with. 

The same goes for the likes of James Bond, written for  a male and been acted by a male for decades and as you say it would be cheap to just have a Jane Bond when a properly written role for a female agent ( such as Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde ) would make for a very good film or series of films.

Women most definitely deserve to have new good quality material written for/about them.

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Definitely think that there is a bit of overkill of late of just changing the chromosome of a main character and calling a retelling "Socially Relevant", even if it does butcher the original story. I was discussing this with a friend when i heard that both Mask of Zorro , Cliffhanger, and Dorian Grey are all being rebooted, with gender swapped main characters.

Worst thing is there are a fair number of very good films with female leads, in original roles, and they almost seem to get ignored by those screaming for "More female lead driven stories" - Ripley (Aliens), Sarah Connor (Terminator), Broughton (Atomic Blonde), Leeloo (5th Element) Eberdeen Katniss (Hungergames) 

 

However i am sure that this isn't really the downfall of BBC's war of the worlds, but more of a lack of cohesive direction. Some parts/roles/scenes were done in such a way that you could have thought we were creating a several episode character arc etc, only to ignore/cut/off the character 5 mins later. Other elements could have been shot in quite a different way (In my opinion, the whole 'flashbacks to the invasion from point 8 years in the future' was a bit jarring. had it been a longer series, they could have just transitioned to this time/setting after the major invasion, but again i am sure a lack of direction was why this didnt 'feel' right to me) 


Another commented in this thread remarked on how disappointing they were with the alien beings themselves. I think this was again a case where either the writers/producers didn't quite know how to portray 'terrifying intelligence and cold, emotionless eyes' and so went the 'lets just make them scary' route. After re-watching some of the scenes with them, they look more in keeping with Starship Troopers than any loosely interpreted description of martians by Wells. 

Oh well, on to 2020. There looks to be a few good fantasy/scifi series on the horizon, with BBC America even working on a 8 part Discworld adaptation. Lets keep our hopes up for the next one eh!? 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Kushan_Farsight
Added some other female lead movies because its disturbing how Minion and i quoted exactly same movies :D

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40 minutes ago, Kushan_Farsight said:

Oh well, on to 2020. There looks to be a few good fantasy/scifi series on the horizon, with BBC America even working on a 8 part Discworld adaptation. Lets keep our hopes up for the next one eh!? 

 

Oh dear, this worries me, there has not been a very high success rate on adapting PTerry to TV.  The closest so far IMO was the cartoon adaptation of Soul Music although I can't remember if they retained the Kirsty McColl joke at the end of the book (one of my favourite jokes in the whole of Discworld which takes most of the length of the novel to set up)

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1 hour ago, modelling minion said:

This is absolutely spot on John. There is no way I would dream of changing the lead in the Alien franchise from a female to a male or the Sarah Connors role to a male one in Terminator, these roles were written for and work fantastically with female leads and should not be messed with. 

The same goes for the likes of James Bond, written for  a male and been acted by a male for decades and as you say it would be cheap to just have a Jane Bond when a properly written role for a female agent ( such as Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde )

In that we'll staged stairwell scene.

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2 hours ago, Kallisti said:

 

Oh dear, this worries me, there has not been a very high success rate on adapting PTerry to TV.  The closest so far IMO was the cartoon adaptation of Soul Music although I can't remember if they retained the Kirsty McColl joke at the end of the book (one of my favourite jokes in the whole of Discworld which takes most of the length of the novel to set up)

 

The "Bloke down the chip shop one?..."

 

IanJ

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I really liked the Sky Hogfather and Going Postal adaptations...

 

It looks like we’re getting a female 00 but not 007 in the new one, which is great, and I’ll add Mad Max Fury Road to the list of a great female-led franchise movies, because it doesn’t do mad Maxine. Black Widow looks pretty good as well. It’s about time we got a movie franchise from Alias, though...

 

best,

M.

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1 hour ago, Kallisti said:

Thats the one :)

 

It's up there with "Does your dog bite?.."

 

IanJ 

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Trouble with Discworld is that the love people who read the sequence have for it is based on immersing yourself in that world, "getting" the humor, and then seeing how the characters develop and growing with them. It's really hard to choose an entry point for a TV series that will grab an audience, and then they really have to be in for the long haul. Not sure The Colour of Magic would have been my choice... Better The Watch with Philip Glenister as Sam Vimes, the Witches with Maggie Smith as Granny Weatherwax and Judi Dench as Nanny Ogg, the rest of the Moist van Lipwig books continuing with Richard Coyle as Moist, the Death books with Benedict Cumberbatch (it's the voice, right...) or (post-His Dark Materials) the Tiffany Aching series with Dafne Keen as Tiffany...

 

best,

M.

 

 

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WOTW actually made me angry. Announced as a faithful in-period adaptation but utterly ruined. 

 

You can tell this story in period but with a more modern sensibility without wrecking it. There was a bbc radio adaptation three or four years ago which managed it.

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On 12/5/2019 at 5:41 PM, Kushan_Farsight said:

 


Half of the problem i think was that HG wells original really showed how 'hopeless' the chances of victory were for the humans, and the savagery of the martians, which i think doesnt sail well in an 'independence day /marvel /superhero everyone wins' dominated sci-fi landscape. 

There was a point about ten minutes into the first episode when they mentioned she had a degree in natural sciences and I said to the wife “oh god she’s going to figure it out and save the day isn’t she”. Called it!

by the end of the third episode I was shouting at the TV! “The fact that mankind is utterly helpless and saved by no action or knowledge of their own is the entire point!!!!”

 

The writer also also seemed muddled. At the end of the second episode the tripods start to crash, but only then do the Martians emerge and feed, thereby getting infected. It feels like they didn’t have the budget to do all the cgi scenes in the original script which would have been required to make the prefer of events clear and it was hashed together in the edit suite. 

 

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I'd love to see Hugh Bonneville and the rest of the "W1A" crowd self-justifying their way out of all these criticisms.

 

(Yes, I know it's fictional, but I always felt it had more than a whiff of realism about it.)

Edited by Dave Batt
gramer & spelin

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10 hours ago, wombat said:

It feels like they didn’t have the budget to do all the cgi scenes in the original script which would have been required to make the prefer of events clear and it was hashed together in the edit suite. 

 

There was no need to make a 3hr mini series,90min's would've been perfect....

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Oh but they needed the extra hour to do all the too-clever-by-half giving the unnamed narrator HG Wells’ own backstory. Which I didn’t actually mind in its own right, but for the fact they left out half the story to make room for it.

 

Oh and are we in for another of those bludgeoned Poirots this Christmas, you know, the ones where he’s an ex-priest and they changed who the murderer was...?

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