War of the Worlds (2005)

An excellent rendition of terror, of the utter fear of being hunted, dominated, destroyed. The film opens on KOYAANISQATSI-esque shots of humans busying themselves about, while Morgan Freeman narrates from H. G. Wells’ novel, talking of aliens scrutinising humans while they went about their lives unawares. After a quick establishment of the tropes Spielberg puts…

The War of the Worlds (1953)

Why do so many adaptions of H. G. Wells’ THE WAR OF THE WORLDS seem to hollow out all the themes? There’s next to nothing here in keeping with the considerations of imperialism or social Darwinism in the novel, and little else in their place. The Martians using humanoid species as a source to feed…

The War of the Worlds (1897) by H. G. Wells

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS is a novel predicated on a self-reflexive fear of death and domination, a kind of catharsis of the imagination during the height of the British empire. Being alive invites the fear of being dead, and being so powerful and in domination of other lands and peoples invites the fear of…

The Golden Compass (2007)

Chris Weitz was the first, and the third, director for the film. You could say it was a troubled production. The novel was controversial enough, and both fans and religious groups gnashed their teeth at how it was being adapted. Add to that the technical issues involved in realising the fantasy world, the studio expectations…

Northern Lights (1995) by Philip Pullman

It is difficult to talk about this first novel of Philip Pullman’s HIS DARK MATERIALS series without the context of the future entries in the series. This is largely by design, as the series is designed to flower into something stranger and loftier than the initial scope and style suggested by the first novel. NORTHERN…

Goodfellas (1990)

A dizzying, decade-spanning crime epic, utterly enchanting, immersing the viewer so deeply into Henry Hill’s mindset that it’s genuinely jarring when the film ends and reality comes roaring back in. While it starts mid-story, in a scene with three gangsters and a problem in a car trunk, bathed in red glow reminiscent of MEAN STREETS,…