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

Karen Woodham
Karen Woodham is the founder and owner of the Blazing Minds. She is also a Cinema reviewer, based at the Scala in Prestatyn and at the many Cineworld screens, where she reviews the latest movies, she has also had several articles published in various publications. In 2015 she became an Award Winning Blogger and also has her website listed as one of the UK's Top 10 Film Blogs.
Karen Woodham
Karen Woodham