Three versions of the 1953 version of The War Of The Worlds were released in the US on laserdisc; two real low end versions from the early 80′s and one in 1994 that was a remastered edition. My copy was the 1981 edition by Paramount Home Video featured in full screen with standard analog sound.
The first side of the laserdisc had some visible laser rot in the picture and audio, but was still watchable. The second side was clean and was a lot more enjoyable. Now, remember when talking about laserdisc, just because my version had laser rot, doesn’t mean that every copy of this edition will have it too. The key with any laserdisc is that if you have disc rot, make a note of it and keep purchasing copies of the same edition. Eventually, you will get a complete clean set even though you may have two discs in order to get said clean copy.
Honestly for the copy being 32 years old, it’s pretty decent…now the movie on the other hand is from 1953, a time when sci-fi film were making big breakthroughs in technology. Besides the digital green rays that were being fired from the space ships, they film makers had to also create a disintegration sequences that included people and objects and not make it look cheesy. For the time, the special effects were far beyond even later films from the 60′s.
Based on the H. G. Well’s novel, The War Of The Worlds tells the story of a southern California town that has a meteor-like large thing that touches down in the hills. It is burning hot and smoking. As soon as it cools, a hatch from the object unscrews and something that looks like a periscope pops up out of it. The three people who were supposed to be watching it throw up white flags trying to sat they are friendly. The three people are fired upon and killed. The blast also damaged an electrical tower that powered the town causing alarm.
When other reports from around the world come in, the military steps in at the original landing site to try to destroy what they consider the mother ship. The world is under attack and everyone is running for cover and safety, some finding refuge in the sanctuary of local churches. Military firearms are not standing a chance up against the technology of the aliens and soon humanity feels helpless against the martians.
My problem with the film is that it there is tons and tons of build up, especially with the scientist, Dr. Clayton Forrester, who seems to be the one in charge. You are expecting him to create something that is going to stop the attacks and that would put an end to the madness; but that is not what is given to us. There are great war scenes, but the ending lacks the punch that would have you cheering. The film, overall, is fine and for its time is very good. I just wish I could have had a fantastic finish instead of the fizzle that was given.
This film is rated G and it’s definitely tame for today’s audience. Its available on DVD but not on Blu-Ray. If you are looking to get this laserdisc, the second hand market is valuing this disc at about $12 at the moment.