Tuesday, July 28, 2009

War Of The Worlds: Goliath

Heavy Metal looks set to cash in on the popularity of Steampunk with the upcoming film War Of The Worlds: Goliath.

"Heat rays, steam-powered battle Tripods, souped up biplane and triplane fighters, a 1,500-foot long, armored battle Zeppelin and a re-imagined steampunk New York City are some of the striking visuals that are being brought to life in this epic production."

There's something in the American psyche that can't stand the idea of alien invaders being defeated by Nature instead of by Yankee might. Right after H. G. Wells' original novel, The War of the Worlds, was published there appeared an unauthorized sequel, Edison's Conquest of Mars, which saw Americans launching a counter-attack and giving those damned aliens what for.

Needless to say this completely misses the point of Wells' novel which put the shoe on the other foot and dramatized what it would be like for the dominate world powers to be the victims of imperialist aggression, rather than the perpetrators.

And I think it's not without significance that this new movie features not the scientist/inventor Edison but the cowboy/soldier Teddy Roosevelt. So much of what passes for science fiction is just military fiction with sf trappings added to try and give its played-out plots an illusion of novelty.

So this new movie may end up being entertaining, but I suspect that it won't be much more than that. I'll have to wait and see. In any event, for substantive steampunk there's always Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

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