This movie was written by H.G. Wells, the screenplay and the story it’s based on. It starts on Christmas, 1936, then a world war is declared and last for 30 years. At the end of which, the air has been so heavily poisoned with… um… poison that everyone who hasn’t been killed is now slowly dying. This doesn’t really show much of the war, and instead cuts 30 years later to when the war ends and shows how humanity has to rebuild itself after the fact. Then, later in the movie, it cuts ahead again to the further-further future.
It’s obvious this movie is written by a book writer. Wells can’t seem to determine the proper way of conveying information on screen. Mostly his way of doing this is to have characters turn to the screen or the character they’re talking to and explain exactly what’s going on. It’s similar to the problems I had to Forbidden Planet in that it has a lot of science-y stuff going on, and in this case political-y stuff too, and their solution to explain this is with as much exposition as possible. Here though, it’s okay in certain scenes but not all. I think that this is why book writers don’t always make the best screenwriters. In books you can basically explain as much as you want for as long as you want. Movies, however, are usually best when you convey as little information as you possibly can and still get the point across. That and you can also expect your actors to be able to, you know, act. If you say, “act like your sad” in your script you then don’t have to have your character say “I am sad.” The audience will be able to see that they’re sad by how they’re acting. I don’t know, I just expected more from a Wells-written script is all.
Visually this movie is quite stunning. The cinematography was way ahead of its time, and, though I know H.G. Wells wanted to make this movie as a sort of opposite of Metropolis because he hated that film, the visual similarities are clear. There are a few montages in this movie and every time they went through one, I kept thinking of Metropolis and how they show things visually there. In both situations, they have cinematography more akin to modern films, almost never seen at the time of each movie’s inception.
I also think the acting was very good on this movie. Well, enough that it covers up some of the more unnecessary dialogue that probably didn’t have to be in the final cut of the film. But still, solid acting, especially from Raymond Massey and Edward Chapman, who play the two leads in the movie in the second and third part.
Oh, that reminds me, the first part of this movie wasn’t necessary, where it starts on Christmas and then a “World War is declared,” as the news report on the radio describes it. It could have started in the 2nd part with the text crawl explaining what was going on after the war and would have been a better movie.
OH! That reminds me again! There was two text scrawls and at least one voice-over narration in this movie. Pick one and don’t use the other. Or, even better, don’t use either of them! Show don’t tell! Gosh!
Also, this movie was preachy. I’m not even sure what they were trying to preach. That war is bad? Everyone knows that. That the future is scary? Don’t be neophobic. That people shouldn’t start wars for no reason? See the first answer, also Hitler. Maybe if he saw this movie he’d be like, yeah, I shouldn’t take over the world and kill all the Jews. Actually, he probably did see this movie and it confused his tiny brain so much he had to invade Poland to clear himself out. Okay, no more Hitler jokes, but you have to admit it’s a bit coincidental that this movie came out 3 years before the outbreak of World War II: World War 1 Harder. Worst movie ever by the way, lasts 6 years for one thing, and most of the audience involved died. Hell of an ending though.
Why you should watch it before you die: Well, if you’re a fan of conspiracy theories you might enjoy this movie for the “Predictive Programming” aspects. If not, it has visuals that were 60 years ahead of its time, so if you’re a big fan of cinematography you might like it. Or if your an H.G. Wells fan, definitely check it out. Outside of that though, I would say you can pass on this movie. It just doesn’t hold up to other films in the genre.