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Posts Tagged ‘The War of the Worlds’

What the hell is the point of the BBC adaptation of The War of the Worlds? This is not a rhetorical question. After what felt like an endless wait and much teasing publicity, what eventually oozed onto the screen was possibly the most God-awful thing I’ve seen on TV all year, including second-season episodes of Space: 1999. The absolute best one could say about it is that it is well down to the usual standards of a BBC adaptation of an SF or horror classic, even worse than their version of The Lost World and quite as bad as their take on The Day of the Triffids in 2009.

There is a weird double standard within the Corporation when it comes to this sort of thing. Andrew Davies or whoever may take the odd liberty and stick in some nudity which doesn’t appear in the original text of a non-genre novel, but they are usually pretty restrained when it comes to the general thrust of the story and its subtext. And so they should, because what’s the point of doing an adaptation if all you’re going to keep of the original is the title and a vague sense of the premise?

And yet this is what we got when it came to The War of the Worlds. Let me put it another way: if the same creative talents get employed to oversee a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, I confidently predict that what emerges will focus on a turbulent lesbian romance between one of the minor Bennet sisters and the scullery-maid, all wrapped up in a frame story possibly concerning the Boer War, and quite likely performed on ice, to boot.

The back-of-a-stamp, idiot’s synopsis for both is pretty much the same: early in the 20th century, projectiles from Mars arrive on Earth, disgorging metallic tripods which proceed to devastate civilisation, their occupants pausing to snack on any locals unfortunate enough to cross their path. Doing so without having your pre-trip jabs proves to be a mistake, as Earthly bacteria end up wiping out the Martian invaders. But that is more or less the extent of their similarity to each other.

I was seized by a terrible sinking feeling before the first episode even got properly going, as the continuity announcer let rip with some blether about ‘spheres from Mars’. Spheres? As any fule kno, your self-respecting Martian invader travels by cylinder, not sphere. Then again, these were not Wells’ Martians – huge-eyed, glistening, tentacled creatures the size of bears – but apparently the work of someone angling for a job on the sequel to A Quiet Place: all angular, scuttling legs (the dubious logic involved seems to be that the Martian Fighting Machines resemble tripods because they themselves are tripedal, an idea pinched, whether knowingly or not, from John Christopher).

But these are just cosmetic issues and don’t really take us to the nub of the issue. I would have thought it was simple good manners on the part of an adapter to do the original writer the courtesy of focusing on the characters from the actual source, not new creations, and likewise focus on settings and incidents from the text, rather than making new ones up. Yet we ended with a story a good chunk of which was set in a doomy post-apocalyptic wasteland, an Earth tainted by the Red Weed, with various survivors staggering about miserably. Key amongst these were the character played by Eleanor Tomlinson, and her small son, played by a small boy whose name I can’t be bothered to look up: wife and child of the Rafe Spall character, who I guess was supposed to represent Wells’ original narrator. Tomlinson and the kid are not in the book. The post-apocalyptic wasteland is not in the book.

I mean, what the hell? Really, what the hell? In what sense of the word does this qualify as an adaptation? The brutality to the English language is nearly as appalling as the brutality to one of the foundational texts of science fiction. Let us see what the writer responsible had to say when interviewed about his aims for the new adaptation:

The version of The War of the Worlds that I wanted to make is one that’s faithful to the tone and the spirit of the book, but which also feels contemporary, surprising and full of shocks: a collision of sci-fi, period drama and horror.’

Let us put to one side the mystery of what exactly he thought was the ‘tone and spirit’ of Wells’ book and consider the rest of this startling utterance. I was certainly surprised to the point of shock at various points throughout the three hours of the series, but contemporary? What, honestly, the hell? This is an adaptation of a late-Victorian novel, set in Edwardian England, so what are you bibbling on about when you say you want to make it feel contemporary? How is that remotely supposed to work? If you want to make The War of the Worlds feel contemporary, the best way is to set it in the present day: George Pal and Steven Spielberg figured this out when they came to make their versions, both of which – perhaps not coincidentally – genuinely do seem to capture the tone and spirit of the novel much, much better than the new BBC effort.

(I am fairly sure that ‘contemporary’ is modern writer code for ‘female lead character’. Certainly, in this version, Wells’ actual narrator is too psychologically fragile to survive, and his brother is too hidebound and seized by jingoistic impulses to make it through. Of Wells’ men, only Ogilvy, a very minor character in the book, makes it through to the end of the new version, and this may or may not be because we are invited to assume he is gay. My God, I wish I were joking.)

I expect that the makers of this thing will defend their work by saying that it does stay faithful to Wells: the novel’s original subtext (in which the British Empire gets a taste of its own medicine from technologically-superior colonisers from elsewhere) is clumsily elaborated in a long speech in the final episode. Well, for one thing, Wells didn’t feel the need to articulate his subtext in quite such an ideas-for-the-hard-of-thinking way. The whole point of subtext is that it should be obvious without needing to be made explicit, and I suspect the reason it did need making explicit was that the story had been so thoroughly mangled by this point that the original message was no longer discernable without the aid of expository dialogue.

Instead we got a story we didn’t seem to be about anything, much. The innards of the story had been roughly scooped out and replaced by… well, not a great deal of anything, really. Some stuff which was presumably about climate change. Other bits riffing on imagery from recent real-world disasters. A lot of faintly mystifying material about Edwardian social mores. Possibly some of this was there in the name of making the adaptation more ‘contemporary’ – but, really, it’s a book from 1898. It’s never going to feel contemporary unless you do severe violence to the story. Why would you bother trying to bring it to the screen, if contemporary is what you’re after? Let it be itself, let it be a late-Victorian novel full of late-Victorian ideas about evolution and society. Put modern special effects in it, to be sure – but don’t lose track of what the author actually intended it to be like, and to be about. If you do that, you just end up with something that bears a vague, superficial resemblance to the source novel, but isn’t actually about anything and has nothing to say for itself. This is an adaptation in name only, made by people who seem only marginally interested in H.G. Wells. It takes real determination and talent to screw up such a great story so thoroughly.

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I am given to understand that there were some grumbles that the TV schedule for the festive season just past was in some way sub-standard, with rather fewer ‘treats’ than people have become used to. It may not come as a surprise if I reveal that I am not the kind of person to be particularly stimulated by Christmas specials of Call the Midwife, Strictly Come Dancing or (God help us) Michael MacIntyre’s Big Show, and lavish all-star Christie adaptations don’t really do it for me either. However, on reflection, I must admit to a little surprise and mild disappointment, for at one point all the signs were that one of the BBC’s Christmas offerings was going to be a new adaptation of The War of the Worlds.

Now, when I think about it, I’m actually quietly certain that this thing is going to be a disappointment to me whenever it actually appears, because the BBC, which is usually pretty faithful when it comes to bringing Jane Austen or Anthony Trollope to the screen, has historically shown no such fidelity when it comes to classic genre fiction – see, for instance, the atrocious version of The Day of the Triffids they inflicted on the world at Christmas 2009. But such is my fondness for The War of the Worlds that I will stay optimistic until it actually arrives.

I should make this clear – The War of the Worlds, the novel? Love it. The radio version? Love it. The concept album? Love it. Stephen Baxter’s authorised sequel? Love it. The Spielberg movie? I can appreciate its merits. The 1980s TV show – well, now, let’s be sensible. I watched pretty much the whole first season, which many would say was going above and beyond the call of duty. One of the (many) problems with the War of the Worlds TV show is that it’s operating two steps removed from H.G. Wells, in that it is basically a small-screen sequel to the 1953 movie produced by George Pal and directed by Byron Haskin. You will not be terribly surprised to learn that I really like this movie, too, even though it has an extremely liberal attitude towards the source novel.

After a slightly frantic set of credits, the film gets underway, as any self-respecting iteration of The War of the Worlds must, with the famous ‘No-one would have believed…’ passage from the book, updated to reflect the film’s 1950s setting. Through the wonders of gorgeous special effects and rather dubious astronomical exposition, we learn that the planet Mars is dying, and its inhabitants have only one option when it comes to migrating to another planet – it’s Earth or bust!

Everyone on Earth is oblivious to this, of course, even after what seems to be a rather unusual meteorite lands in the California hills. The locals are delighted, thinking that their ship has come in and a new tourist attraction has arrived, but rugged scientist Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry) is less convinced – the new arrival seems to be radioactive, and didn’t behave like a normal meteorite. He goes off to the local square dance with impressively-banged local girl Sylvia (Ann Robinson – not that one) to pass the time while the rock cools down.

Needless to say, the town is in for a surprise, for the meteorite unscrews and a death ray on a stalk proceeds to obliterate the locals left to keep an eye on it, while a powerful magnetic field knocks out the town’s electricity. The army is called in, with a view to containing the Martian invaders – for other Martian cylinders have begun landing all over the world, with reports of chaos and destruction filtering through – and the kindly local priest makes a brave attempt to establish peaceful contact with the aliens. Naturally, the Martians smoke him. The US military aren’t about to let this sort of behaviour carry on unchecked, and unleash their might at the alien war machines, only to find them impervious to earthly weapons. The authorities are forced into a desperate, futile rear-guard action as the Martians expand their terrestrial dominion, and all seems hopeless for the human race…

My general feeling about both The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine are that they are foundation stones of science fiction, but also books which are now sort of dated: both of them are driven by social and philosophical concerns and are indeed essentially topical satire – of the British class system, in the case of The Time Machine, and the British empire with The War of the Worlds. Unsurprisingly, the satirical and allegorical element of the novel does not survive into the film, which is instead almost as pure a piece of Red Scare thrill-mongering as you can find. It is telling that, for all the indications that this is a global catastrophe (we are shown the Eiffel Tower toppling, and Martian war machines in front of a ruined Taj Mahal), there is not one mention of the Martians attacking the Soviet Union, or indeed that the USSR even exists. Wells’ concerns have been extracted and replaced by those of 1950s Hollywood.

I could easily fill the rest of this piece by cataloguing all the other numerous and comprehensive differences between the original novel and this adaptation: most obviously, there is the shift in setting, from southern England in the early 20th century to California in the 1950s, and there’s also the fact that the Martians in this movie cruise around in sleek manta-ray hovercraft, rather than the iconic tripedal fighting machines of the book. It’s really the case that virtually none of the specifics of the novel’s plot survive into the film, which concerns itself almost exclusively with the first half of the book.

This concerns the initial Martian landings, their crushing of the forces sent against them, and the panic and chaos that convulses human society. Other than the conclusion, the second half of the novel – which deals with the Martian occupation of England, and goes into slightly more detail about their nature and technology – is entirely absent. This is no doubt partly due to the technical limitations of the period – it’s hard to imagine how the special effects of the 1950s could have rendered the spread of the red weed, for instance – but Wells’ more philosophical musings are not really the stuff of an American sci-fi movie, while in another key respect the film is entirely at odds with Wells’ conception.

Whether you consider the end of The War of the Worlds to be an outrageous deus ex machina or a subtly-foreshadowed denouement entirely of a piece with the rest of the book is probably a matter of personal taste, but it survives in the movie more-or-less intact. However, Wells intent has been comprehensively subverted, in another fundamental change. Wells’ atheism is discarded, and – like many classic SF movies from this period – the themes of the film are presented in almost spiritual terms. People take refuge in churches; there are many references to prayer and miracles; when one boffin gravely announces the Martians will conquer the world in six days, Ann Robinson reminds us all that this was the same length of time it took to create it. In short, the film is basically reminding the audience that technological superiority is all very well, but victory only comes by the grace of God – the death of the Martians here isn’t simply a matter of biological process, but presented as divine intervention. The end of the film, with church bells tolling and a grateful population flocking to give thanks, appears to have been an influence on at least two other films – the film version of Day of the Triffids, and the British catastrophe movie The Day the Earth Caught Fire.

It seems, therefore, that very little of the actual substance of the novel survives into this adaptation. Why, then, am I so fond of it? Well, quite apart from the fact it often has a kind of hokey charm unique to itself, it’s also the case that while the film changes virtually every detail of the book, it captures its tone and spirit with an accuracy which is hugely impressive. The Martian onslaught against the US army, death rays slashing in all directions as the human guns fail to hit their targets, is absolutely of a piece with the novel; the eerie scenes with Forrester and Sylvia trapped in a ruined house, Martians all around them, are also closely inspired by the similar section in the book. The climactic sequence depicting the breakdown of law and order and near-rioting in the streets as the Martians advance on downtown Los Angeles also catch the essence of Wells’ description of ‘the rout of civilisation… the massacre of mankind’ extraordinarily well, in the circumstances.

In the end I’m almost moved to describe the movie of The War of the Worlds not so much as an adaptation as a cover version – it retains only the most basic outline of Wells’ book, changing virtually every detail of narrative and theme. And yet it also seems to have locked onto the most vivid and powerful segments of the story and retained them, in terms of their emotional impact and effectiveness. It’s a fairly irregular way to go about adapting a book, but the result is a movie that still somehow does credit to the source material. Not many adaptations of classic SF novels stand up as well as this one.

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H.G. Wells is rightfully celebrated as one of the founding fathers of science fiction, but he is rather less well-known as one of the pioneers of tabletop wargaming. Wells’ Little Wars is way down on the list of his books in terms of general name-recognition, outside the better-read segments of the wargaming community, but it’s difficult to read it without concluding that the great man is staking out the territory a huge number of subsequent games have occupied in the century or so since its first publication.

It’s essentially a description of the rules that Wells and his friends – we are invited to assume that Jerome K Jerome was a regular opponent – concocted to play wargames using a mixture of infantry, cavalry, and artillery pieces. Some of Wells’ system feels distinctly odd to me, as a modern gamer – beyond the very occasional use of a tossed coin, it makes no use of randomisation, gunfire is handled by the players physically launching pellets at each other’s miniatures, hoping to knock them over, and there are some (fairly unwieldy, if you ask me) rules for models being taken prisoner – but time and again Wells either hits upon a consideration which will be familiar to any modern player – army comp, how much terrain to use, unit coherency – or comes up with a gaming convention which is still in use today – for instance, one player setting up terrain and the other getting choice of sides. I rather think that, were Wells to walk into any branch of the UK’s leading wargames store chain, he would find much more that he recognised than was strange to him. Would he, perhaps, recognise power-armoured SF warriors and colossal titans toting melta-cannon as somewhat-distorted descendants of his own creations? I don’t know. I would like to think so.

In any case, these two threads of Wells’ career come back together, sort of, in Osprey Games’ War of the Worlds: The Anglo-Martian War of 1895, written by Mike Brunton (whom I dimly recall as a GW writer back in the mid 80s, when they didn’t just sell their own miniature games). Osprey are one of the newish, small wargames publishers that I have become rather more familiar with since severing my own engagement with Games Workshop. This book, along with the rest of the range it belongs to, are slightly odd in that they are composed entirely of ‘fluff’ – in other words, they’re all background, with no actual game rules included.

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To be honest, a War of the Worlds tabletop game would be a rather odd prospect, given that the whole point of the story is that the war is a one-sided slaughter pretty much from start to finish, with the Martians suffering only a few token casualties along the way. However, the book, which presents itself as a ‘historical’ account of the war written from a modern perspective, is rather engaging – although I am admittedly a bit of a War of the Worlds devotee, and thus most likely biased.

The book takes an ambivalent approach to the ‘facts’ of the Martian invasion as recounted by Wells himself (perhaps most obvious from the title of the book itself, which dates the conflict to 1895, when the author explicitly specifies it took place in ‘the early years of the twentieth century’). The text indicates that Wells was ‘not the most accurate of war correspondents’, and inclined to present the Martians as more of an implacable menace than was actually the case, which is presumably the justification for some of the divergences from Wells in the new book. However, unlike most books and films inspired by Wells, they agree with the author that the Martian invasion was limited to southern England (no global despatches on this occasion).

Things get underway with an overview of the disposition of the two forces prior to hostilities commencing: the stuff on the British army is a little bit dry but historically interesting, the material on the Martians and their technology obviously a bit more imaginative: Brunton comes up with some interesting amendations when it comes to Martian biology and the nature of the silicaceous-boned servitors brought with them from Mars. The revelation that the Heat Ray was actually a maser should really surprise no-one, though.

Past this is an account of the war from beginning to end, which is… well, it’s faithful to Wells up to a point. The thing about The War of the Worlds is that much of it concerns the initial weekend of the Martian arrival, and the days on either side, with the government having effectively collapsed by Monday (the same day as the Thunder Child‘s battle with three Fighting-Machines). Wells’ primary narrator spends most of the next fortnight in the cellar of a ruined house, emerging into a devastated landscape where the last of the diseased Martians is about to expire (do I really need to give a spoiler warning for a book published in 1898?). What the army and the Martians have been up to in the interim is mainly a matter of hearsay, as far as the book is concerned, so you would have thought this would be fruitful territory for Brunton to expand on.

But apparently not. The Osprey book diverges considerably from the actual chronology of the novel, with the Martians arriving on a Saturday, not a Friday, and the Thunder Child engagement happening ten days later rather than three. The saturation use of the lethal Black Smoke by the Martians to destroy the defences around London is only obliquely referred to, although Brunton does come up with a few instances of actions taking place not mentioned in the novel – heavy fighting around the Palace of Westminster, for instance. On the whole, though, he seems happy enough to deviate from his source material in terms of the details, but very reluctant to make really significant additions to it in terms of narrative.

Hey ho. As I’ve said before, The War of the Worlds is such a magnificent book, and such a brilliant idea, that it takes a really concerted effort to totally stuff it up (for the record, I think Greg and Sam Strangis were the only ones who really managed it), and Osprey’s The War of the Worlds is entertaining enough, especially when it’s not dealing with the particulars of the novel. There have been many worse offenders, after all, and there’s a sense in which the novel has surely become a sort of folklore, or collection of ideas and images which different people play with in different ways: it seems to be an irresistible, endlessly rewarding game.

Post-invasion history is also touched upon, with the Russians being the only foreign power to get their hands on a Heat Ray projector – the technological bounty brought by reverse-engineering Martian devices, which Wells alludes to, doesn’t really seem to have been an issue, however. Brunton also suggests a reason for the Martians not making another attempt, but nobody tell Stephen Baxter about that (Baxter’s own War of the Worlds sequel is out next year).

Perhaps inevitably, the Osprey book engages in the usual metafictional conceit where every significant literary figure from Victorian England lives in the same city: I remember reading Anno Dracula back in 1994, when this seemed terribly new and interesting. Now it just feels routine. The results are not quite as grotesque as in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen‘s version of the Martian invasion: we hear of Fu Manchu’s role in the upheaval afflicting London, and of Colonel Sebastian Moran bagging himself a trophy like no other. (It’s not quite the same thing, but we also learn of a young Winston Churchill’s exploits in the war.) Elsewhere, the author looks further afield, with perhaps more laboured results: we are told that, luckily, the Martian landing which damaged the botanical gardens at Kew did not result in the escape of any triffids, while many years later a ‘lost’ Martian cylinder turned up, mistaken for an unexploded bomb when it was discovered under an underground station in Hobbs Lane. Hmmm.

Whatever you may think of this sort of thing, the writing itself is consistently brisk and engaging, and the art is very nice: these are slightly steampunky-looking Fighting-Machines, and not entirely faithful to Wells’ description, but then that fits pretty well with most of the rest of the book. Quite who this is aimed at, though, still bemuses me a little: there’s pretty much zero wargames content for anyone intent on recreating a series of one-sided massacres on their tabletop, while it’s simultaneously neither detailed nor expansive enough to be a totally satisfying addition to the already-sizable War of the Worlds canon. The slimness of the volume when you consider its price is also likely to be an issue for many people. Hard-core fans of The War of the Worlds, in all its incarnations, will likely find a lot to enjoy here, though.

 

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One of the ways in which cinemas have been boosting their profits recently has been through the screening of, well, other cultural things which are not movies. On more than one occasion I’ve turned up at the local Picturehouse to find a scheduled movie delayed due to a live broadcast from the opera over-running, while plays, football matches, and transmissions from art galleries are also fairly common events.

Personally, I’ve always been a bit suspicious of this sort of thing, for all that I’m sympathetic to cinema-owners’ need to turn a profit. It’s not just that broadcasting a stage show or the ballet takes up space where they could actually be showing a proper movie, it’s just that I think there’s a proper context for everything – just as I think by far the best place to watch a movie is a cinema, so the best way to watch a live show is, well, live.

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Nevertheless I was coaxed into giving this sort of thing a chance by the as-live screening of the latest incarnation of that perennial chart-botherer, the musical of War of the Worlds. Or, to give it its full and extremely unwieldy title, Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds: The New Generation – Alive on Stage. (Jeff Wayne is clearly a man who knows when he is onto a Good Thing – rumour has it there is a statue of a Martian Fighting Machine in the garden of his mansion.) I first properly discovered this extraordinary blending of founding-text SF and prog rock when I was about ten, and I’ve been listening to it ever since (not continuously) – the original version, anyway. I’m very fond of it, and the chance to hear it over a proper sound system was an appealing prospect.

Surely everyone know the story of HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds by now? There have certainly been enough adaptations and riffs on it (as befits what is probably one of the five or six best ideas in the history of fiction). Martians invade the Home Counties at the end of the Victorian era, crush all resistance with vastly superior technology, topple human society, start thinking about full-scale colonisation but reckon without the pestilent, germ-saturated atmosphere of Earth, to which they have no resistance. The Jeff Wayne version is basically the same, but with a somewhat underdeveloped romance and some songs added.

If watching a live show on a cinema screen seems like an unsatisfactory compromise, it does suit this particular show quite well, as it is itself a borderline-peculiar multimedia production incorporating filmed sequences, on-stage pyrotechnics, musicians, and singers, and the presence (through the miracle of ‘3D holography’) of Liam Neeson as the narrator. Neeson’s physical absence leads to a few dubious moments (at one point he has to punch out someone actually present on stage) but he lends the undertaking an appropriate level of gravitas.

It goes without saying, I hope, that a prog-rock-disco-orchestral fusion steampunk-inflected musical version of a Victorian SF novel including roles with names like ‘The Sung Thoughts of the Journalist’, ‘The Voice of Humanity’, and ‘Beth, Parson Nathaniel’s Wife’, is quite colossally uncool and even borderline absurd – well, to be fair we’re well across the border and probably well on the way to naturalised citizenship. All this was true of the original album.

And yet – and I’ve no idea what strange alchemy is at work here – for all of its uncool absurdity, the War of the Worlds album is also quite breathtakingly brilliant, with some killer tunes, tremendous performances, and memorable lines (one of Wells’ throwaway pieces of dialogue has almost reached proverbial status simply because it’s been incorporated into the lyrics of the album). The question is, how much of this has been preserved in the sort-of-live show?

Well, the stage show kicks off with the understudies (as astronomers) getting some dialogue about odd things happening on Mars, which leads us into some rather spiffy fully-CGI’d footage of the Martian High Command planning the invasion (rather more impressive and sophisticated than most of the footage which accompanies the show, which blends live action and CGI with varying degrees of success) – all very well, but I think that not to start with ‘No-one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century…’ is a bad call, and it also lessens the impact of that initial da-da-DAHHHH from the string section.

From this point on the live show follows the album very closely in musical terms – indeed, apart from a few little tweaks and additions to the script, the New Generation version seemed virtually indistinguishable from the original. As an actual spectacle, there’s a bit of an issue with some of the numbers outstaying their welcome – the animators run out of things to put on the screen towards the end of The Heat Ray and resort to showing a rather cringeworthy ray-gun jiving along to the music – and, as previously mentioned, some of the stuff on the screen is less stirring than one might have hoped for, the demise of the Thunder Child (the subject of the original album cover) being a particular disappointment. (On the other hand, the moment when a full-scale Fighting Machine first appears on stage is genuinely gobsmacking.)

And most of the on-stage performances are excellent, which given that the singing and music are what this show is about is surely the most important thing. It is, admittedly, a little odd to hear a new set of voices tackling the songs I have grown up listening to, but this turned out to be refreshing rather than jarring. I was particularly dreading the new version of The Spirit of Man, mainly because I really doubted that Jason Donovan had the chops to fill the shoes of Phil Lynott. Well, credit where it’s due: Donovan is up to the task (Kerry Ellis replaces Julie Covington with equal aplomb) and this segment is as much a highlight live as it is on the album – in fact, I can’t imagine Lynott giving an acting performance as good as Donovan’s.

The decision to reprise a full-cast version of The Eve of the War in the middle of the climax is distinctly odd, and the epilogue, with a present-day NASA mission running into problems, feels as dubious as ever, but on the whole the live show does full justice to both the spirit and the substance of the original album. I suspect seeing the live show actually, er, live, would be even more impressive, but watching it on a big screen with proper sound was a reasonable alternative. I’m just left pondering the prospects of a full movie adaptation of the Wayne War of the Worlds, which seems to me to be an idea loaded with potential. Maybe the existence of the live show is an indicator this is never going to happen – but I hope not.

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