Home » Reviews » Exclusive review – The War of the Worlds – This period sci-fi drama set in Britain with a pandemic angle has a strong emotional appeal

Author H.G. Wells famous work The War of the Worlds is a classic. And yes, I am guilty of not having read it, even though the book has been in publication for over 100 years (and reportedly has never gone out of print ever). Hence, when I found out that a mini web series has been put together by Craig Viveiros, I was excited to check out what the story had to offer.

As it turned out, The War of the Worlds is not just about alien invasion on earth (in this case, The Great Britain) but is all the more relevant in the current times. Reason being that there is this whole pandemic angle to it as well, and the serum which is created to battle it out, which plays a major role in the story.

What brings in further unique dimension to the The War of the Worlds is the British setting. Of late, Indian audiences have been exposed to not a lot of Indian as well as American content, and majority of that belongs to the crime genre. Hence, it is a welcome change to watch a sci-fi affair instead, and that too come from Britain, with a very strong emotional appeal embedded into the narrative. As a result, this turns out to be one of those rare series that one can actually watch with a family.

This is also one of the unique stories which is actually told from the point of view of a woman. The lady in question is Amy [Eleanor Tomlinson], who is in a live-in relationship (a taboo even out there in the West a century ago) with a married man, a journalist [Rafe Spall]. His brother, who is at the top of the political hierarchy [Rupert Graves], is the man of reasoning and then there is an astronomer/scientist/medical practitioner [Robert Carlyle] who believes that actions find a better result than praying to God.

Together, they fight a battle as there is an alien invasion from Mars, hence resulting in mayhem, catastrophe and a pandemic no less. However, what sets The War of the Worlds apart from such usual dramas that one sees in the sci-fi genre is that there are no easy battles being fought. As a matter of fact no motivational speech, no nationalistic heroism or no patriotic jingoism succeeds in taking on the Martians who arrive in a massive meteor-like ball and then show their true face (well, literally), as four legged creatures.

This is where the technical aspect of the series come into fore as well as never once do you find this as a web series on display which is primarily for the small screen. Instead, there is a big screen feel to the entire set up with VFX, cinematography, period locations and costumes, sound design, background score and action creating the mood just right.

Of course, there is a somber mood right through the proceedings, especially in the flash forward portions where Amy is narrating her story. There is an all around feel of sadness for most part of the narrative due to which at times you hunt for some sort of euphoria. You just want that bit of sunshine to come in but due to the gloomy nature of the proceedings (both literally as well as figuratively), that hardly comes. In fact even the end, though justified and positive, doesn’t really make you jump with joy as there is all around loss everywhere.

Still, somewhere in the middle of it all, there is a message thrown in between about how modernization could well be playing a culprit here. That holds relevance in the current times as well as time and again there have been debates around how the whole ecosystem is going for a toss due to the ways mankind is taking nature for granted. However, the message is not pushed down the throat, which is a good way of dealing with the story.

Eventually, what stays with you the core plot, its treatment and the fact that there is so much in there which is relevant even in the current times. Yes, had the series been even longer, it would have been all the more fun. For now though, this one makes for an entertaining watch.