Great Martian War 1913 – 1917 [Review]

Great Martian War Footage_

I’ve always been a big fan of H.G. Wells and particular The War of the Worlds, so when I saw that the History Channel had done a 2 hour special on the Great Martian War, I just had to watch it.

Great Martian War

A Savage Human Invasion Of The Great Martian War

Basing the story between 1913 – 1917, the program brought us the story of the invasion that took place between Earth and Aliens.

Using WWI grainy WWI footage with added CGI for the Herons and Spiders to tell the story of our fight for our survival.

Great Martian War

To say the show was griping is an understatement, right from the beginning I was glued to the show, adding the interviews from over the years from the 70s onwards, just adds to the realism of the piece.

Causing Controversy

One thing that was inevitable was the amount of negativity the show was getting, such as it being in bad taste, for using WWI footage, I saw many tweets going around from people very unhappy with the way the special had been done.

This was bound to happen and I could see their points of view, but then again!

Much of the available ‘real’ archive WWI footage of frontline ‘combat’ was actually reconstructed during and after the war well away from the front line for propaganda and dramatic purpose, but where we had any doubt we avoided that archive and made our own. We did this from scratch, painstakingly constructing our shots with reference to photos and footage from the war and deliberately tried to confine ourselves to angles and camera technology available in 1913- 17. Cameras then were hand cranked at an irregular frame rate locked onto a tripod and rarely mounted in anything moving. Source – Q and A with producers

Great Martian War Footage_

During the program I was watching the tweets going around and I do have to say that the negative tweets were outweighed by the positive by those watching it that thoroughly enjoyed the documentary with an alien twist.

I personally think, and this is my point of view, that H.G. Wells would have loved to see this being done with his masterpiece, let’s face it, The War of the Worlds has never been given the film it deserves.

The book should have been made in to a film the same as the book, not moved to America in the 50s, Tom Cruise’s version I enjoyed, but it’s not the book, for me Jeff Wayne making it into a musical is the closet.

Anyway I digress, anything using images similar to our fallen heroes is bound to cause a stir.

The whole style of The Great Martian War is strictly Specialist Factual Documentary. A mixture of archive, onscreen expert analysis and survivor testimony linked together using narration. We all recognised that the minute the illusion that working within that style gives us was broken and didn’t feel real then the show would stop functioning – Just as if every five minutes Orson Welles would have halted his radio broadcast to remind the audience it was only a play then it too would never have had any impact. Source – Q and A with producers

Great Martian War, The Lost Legacy

With the underlying idea of a hidden text in some symbols that were found early in the story, gives you the urge to know more and what is that Lost Legacy, bringing in a rather lovely twist, but that’s all I’m saying.

By taking H.G. Wells classic and giving it a twist with a part of our history is superbly done, by using what can only be described as an alternative timeline, is genius.

The program may not have had the effect that Orson Welles radio show did in the 1938, but is certainly has the emotion and documentary style of something that if made around that time, it would have had people in shock!

Thumbs up to the History Channel and the makers of the show, for an entertaining two hours on a Sunday night, not only fascinating to watch, but very realistic right to the very end.

Originally posted Dec 8, 2013

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Great Martian War 1913 - 1917 - TV Show
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Karen Woodham
Karen Woodham is the founder and owner of the Blazing Minds, an avid blogger and bona fide journalist. She is also a Cinema Film Reviewer, based at the Scala in Prestatyn, where she reviews the latest movies, she has also had several articles published in various publications. She has recently become an Award Winning Blogger and is listed in the UKs Top 10 Film Blogs.
Karen Woodham


Award Winning Entertainment Website, with film & theatre reviews, event coverage & exclusives, listed as one of the 10 Best UK Blogs. Founder @KWoodhamBlogger
Karen Woodham
Karen Woodham
  • JJ

    This certainly looks a good bit of TV, the History channel have some great programs on lately, do you know if they are repeating it.

  • It’s being repeated tonight (Monday) at 7pm.

  • Oh! So that’s what it’s about! I saw you tweeting about it but wasn’t sure. It sounds absolutely fascinating! As a fan of HG Wells, I love th concept especially as initial dramatisations of his work caused quite a panic.

  • Yep, it was fascinating, if you get chance to catch the program, give it a watch, I must say a big thanks to History for giving me permission to use info from their site. It certainly helped with my review. 🙂

  • Andrew Jackson

    2 hours (well 1.5 – I quit before the end) of my life I will never get back – turgid rubbish from a TV company that is adrift in a sea of dumb-ass reality programming and appalling pseudo-history, ie ancient astronauts and the like.

  • Thanks for this review, i really loved the great martian war, and less i forget, am a huge fans of HG Wells! Thanks for this review here Karen Woodham.

    Love your blog.

  • Thank you, so which was your favourite part in the fakeumentary?

  • Steven

    I saw it, possibly as a coded prediction , of the shape of a future conflict between earthly powers.

  • I wish I’d known about it just so I could have checked it out; man… sounds intriguing, and there are so many phony people who don’t realize that footage from almost all wars is used in movies and TV shows all the time.

  • I dare say it will be out on DVD soon Mitch, it is certainly worth checking out. It’s quite funny that in my search terms people are looking for “Great Martian War cover up” lol

  • Hmmm, interesting theory Steven

  • Roh

    I must say that I was appalled to see the great war, in which 7 million people died, portrayed as an alien invasion. Wouldn`t it be better to show our younger and some of our older generation the sacrifice, senseless killing and horror that occurred during that war. Men 17 years old being sent to the front. Anyway, remember…. `lest we forget`. I`m afraid to say we almost have.

  • That’s pretty cool. The classics will always be a favorite and the History Channel always does a nice job keeping it interesting. I actually have Orson Welles’s 1938 book “The War of the Worlds” in my Audible library waiting be be listened to.

  • It was certainly a fascinating program and I think that’s one of the reasons that people think it’s real 😆 I have a copy of the book for War of the Worlds, one of my favourite reads.