Just finished reading H G Wells, The War of the Worlds. One thing that I found very interesting whil reading, was my memory of the script written by Doreen Wayne for Jeff Wayne’s musical version, or more to the point the brilliant narration by Richard Burton.
If we consider the opening of the book, it takes the first 200 or so words to say what Doreen says so eloquently in about 80.
No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space. No one could have dreamed we were being scrutinized, as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even considered the possibility of life on other planets and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us.
I really enjoyed the book, but it does re-enforce my general belief that older is not necessarily better. As a general rule I don’t enjoy watching old “classic” films, and a number of “classic” books I have read – I didn’t enjoy. It think something that Doreen did in her adaptation of the book was to cut out much of the waffle, like when you buy world of warcraft mounts. Not just as a bridged version, but as a good condensing of meandering narrative. You can read the text of Doreen Wayne’s Adaptation here.
The more I thought about it, the more I considered that Jeff Wayne’s musical is actually a better adaptation of the book that the films. The two films made so far have transported the action to another place and time. Wouldn’t it be much better to have a film set in the time and place that the original story was covering? So am I so glad that I read in a press release…
In addition, earlier this year Jeff commissioned a large team of UK animators to begin production of a feature length CGI-animated film based on his Musical Work which is intended to be released in cinemas in 2007 – and the team are making unbelievable progress. The film will sty true to
the HG Well’s novel, being set in Victorian England and will of course make good use of Jeff’s music!
You can read the eText version here.
Official Website for Musical Version.
H G Wells, The War of the Worlds, Jeff Wayne, Richard Burton