War of the Worlds

Question: Manny replaces the starter motor on the car Ray steals, and it works fine. Once the engine is running it doesn't need the starter motor, so how did all the cars suddenly stop if all the aliens did was fry the starters? Any cars already running wouldn't have been affected. Yes you could argue that it affected their ECU's, but not all cars have ECU's and some still rely on good old mechanical engineering.

Question: Several other answers and corrections state that the reddish liquid sprayed by the tripods was what essentially grew the red vines. However I thought I heard someone in the film say something along the lines of "using us (i.e. blood) as fertiliser". Can someone please clarify?

19

Answer: Since the tripods tended to spray the red fluid shortly after pulling a human into themselves, it seems a good assumption that the red fluid is essentially blood. Given this, it seems likely that the "spore" of the vines is spread in the red fluid.

scwilliam
13

Question: Is there any indication as to where the aliens come from and what exactly they want?

MovieBuff09
16

Chosen answer: In the original George Pal version they were Martians and the reasoning for what they were doing was never explained. In this version, it's never explained where they come from, but their mission is simple, to eradicate human life from Earth, and use our bodies to fertilise the planet, probably so that they can colonise the planet for themselves.

GalahadFairlight
13

If it was to eradicate us they could have done that millions of years back, why now, so that doesn't add up.

You want to grow the substance (people) that grows your food source before using it. If they waited too much longer, they'd have a harder time because we'd have the technology to fight them back.

4

The reason which was apparently provided by Wells was that Mars was dying by lack of natural resources and that Martians needed a new home and food source.

1

They were waiting until the population grew large enough to sustain terraforming efforts. As they used our bodily fluids seemingly as a primary material for their terraforming.

Answer: All versions of "War of the Worlds" are based on the novel of the same name written by H.G. Wells and published in 1897. Wells explained that the aliens are from the planet Mars, and they came to Earth for the natural resources.

Charles Austin Miller
7

But that still doesn't answer why did they wait till then to attack when they could have done it years ago with less resistance. The natural resources were still here.

Perhaps the Martians considered the technological advances of Mankind as "resources," also. The prologue states that the Martians had been observing humanity on Earth for a long time before they chose to attack. Why? Possibly observing our advances in engineering (dam building, for one example, mining for another). It could be viewed that the Martians allowed us to perform the hard work of making natural resources more accessible and consolidating those resources. Personally, I always thought the Martians intended to come exploit the fruits of our labor, allowing us to advance as far as we could without becoming a physical threat to them. If the Martians had waited a few decades more, they could be dealing with a technologically-dangerous human species.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: Maybe they were waiting for use to get up to very high number in population. Before we didn't have over 7 billion people in the world. More people more food.

5

Question: I'm still a bit confused on the tripods' actual height. I can't find it anywhere and I just wanted to make sure how tall the tripods are. Preferably in meters but any measurement is fine.

6

Answer: They're reported to be about 100 feet tall.

3

Which is about 30.5 meters.

lionhead
4

They definitely seemed a lot taller than 100ft in the movies though that's for sure. I would have guessed maybe a few hundred feet.

Question: What's all the orange liquid that comes out of the tripods?

Socks1000
9

Chosen answer: This has been answered before. The liquid, which is apparently a mixture containing human blood, is a defoliant that destroys Earth's foliage and replaces it with alien vegetation.

raywest Premium member
8

Answer: I believe that this orange liquid has nothing to do with the red weed or something like this. As this liquid is only visible when tripods are being attacked from inside or seriously damaged, this may hint that it is blood from the creatures or some kind of liquid flooding the whole habitable spaces inside the tripod, as the creatures look a little amphibious. Both theories fit the fact that in the last scenes, the liquid comes from the same door the alien puts his arm out.

Question: What caused the tripods shields to go down?

Socks1000
15

Chosen answer: The aliens, who had no resistance to Earth's germs and microbes, were falling ill and dying, causing the tripods and the shields to fail.

raywest Premium member
18

Question: At the end, a tripod collapses after behaving erratically for an hour, because the aliens inside were dead or dying. If so, wouldn't the tripod just stop moving and stand there because the aliens were too sick to operate it?

8

Answer: Or they had a mental link with the tripods.

11

The tripods are a mech suit for the aliens.

3

Answer: Depends on exactly how the disease affected the aliens. They might have entered a state of dementia and started piloting erratically, or even just have muscle spasms that knocked the controls around inside the cockpit.

Gary O'Reilly
8

Answer: Remember, when the tripod is spotted acting erratically, a cloud of birds are seen swarming the vehicle (presumably feeding on the dead/dying aliens inside). We can speculate that, although the aliens inside were incapacitated by disease, the tripod itself was probably functioning on auto-pilot with no precise operator control. Vulnerable, the staggering tripod was then an easy target for the military rocket-propelled ordnance, which easily brought the tripod down.

Charles Austin Miller

The birds weren't feeding on the dead aliens. Ray noticed that they were landing on top of tripods, showing that the force fields that had protected the machines and were impenetrable to military weapons were no longer operable. The military could then destroy them.

raywest Premium member
8

In the original H.G.Wells story, it is plainly stated that the birds were feeding on the dead aliens. So, the aliens are already dead, even though some of the tripods were still staggering around on autopilot.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: In the original H.G.Wells story, it is plainly stated that the birds were feeding on the dead aliens. So, the aliens are already dead, even though the tripods are still staggering around on autopilot.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: It's a vehicle. If the driver dies or begins to die and is unable to control it properly, it's not going to be a smooth ride. Just like someone might drive erratically when sick or incapacitated, the tripods are going to movie a little "wonky" due to what's happening to the drivers.

Answer: Its theorized the tripods are bio-mechanical (half organic half machine) and so the system itself can get infected.

Question: In the scene at the ruined house, what is Ray doing in the closed room while his daughter is closing her eyes and singing?

7

Answer: Tim Robbins was shouting quite loud (and losing his mind) and Ray did not want the aliens to discover their hiding place. He therefor had no choice but to kill (or possibly beat unconscious) Robbins in order to keep his daughter safe. Rachel was told to sing so she would not hear what her father was doing.

dgemba dgemba
9

Question: In the scene where Tom Cruise and co. are in the tripod's 'basket', a man is sucked up into the tripod and no-one does anything, but as soon as its Cruise's turn everyone grabs him to try and help, why?

8

Answer: When Tom covered his daughter he noticed a grenade belt dangling from the cage. He grabbed it as he was being pulled into the tripod. When the soldier noticed Tom had the grenades he immediately grabbed Tom to pull him out, and ordered everyone to pull as well.

24

Answer: Everyone in the basket realised he had a child with him so they decided to save him. Only after they pull him out did they realise the grenade pins were pulled and then the army guy told everyone to brace themselves.

Question: When all of the people are trying to get on the boat, how does a tripod just randomly come out of the water like that?

jaimem6
5

Chosen answer: While it's never explained, there are several possibilities: as all the tripods were buried deep underground, this one may have been lodged below the lake and was just emerging. Also, a tripod could have "walked" from somewhere else, then went underwater to explore, and, attracted by the ferry's noise and movement, surfaced to investigate. It's also conceivable that, observing how ferries worked, it slipped underwater from further away and ambushed the boat, or the tripod was simply making a crossing from one shore to the other (traveling underwater if it was deep enough) and just happened upon the ferry when it did.

raywest Premium member
12

Question: Why do the tripods make a horn sound?

5

Answer: Adding a horrifying sound is also intimidating to the people they're attacking.

6

Answer: It is a signal to the other tripods. They coordinate their attack with the signals. For instance, a specific horn sound is heard when a tripod discovers a group of humans and other tripods come to assist.

BaconIsMyBFF
7

But if it is the case, there would probably be a more efficient way to communicate. They can travel through the lightning but they can't use a walkie talkie.

4

We know virtually nothing about the aliens or their culture. Using the horns in this manner could be ceremonial. It's also a misconception that a society more advanced than ours must have mastered everything our society has mastered. Just because they built death machines millions of years ago doesn't necessarily mean they ever developed a walkie talkie. The Martians seem to be perplexed by the wheel. The scene with the wheel also occurs in the source novel, wherein the narrator theorizes Martians never invented the wheel, "skipping over" this crucial milestone in human advancement.

BaconIsMyBFF

I mean, from a cinematic standpoint it definitely darkens the mood even more. A walke talkie wouldn't hold the wow factor as a loud sinister horn sound did.

Question: How did Robbie survive?

Socks1000
6

Answer: Robbie said that he only wanted to watch it happen, and not interact. He most likely ran off somehow and hid from the aliens before you saw the burning Humvee indicating the death of the military squadrons flying/driving in.

6

Chosen answer: Dumb luck? A soldier chased him off from the fighting? Who knows?

Grumpy Scot
9

Robbie's survival is a movie all on its own.

16

Question: How come the grandmother's house was not attacked while the tripods were taking down every neighborhood.?

3

Answer: Not everything was destroyed at once. Small pockets of city neighborhoods and other urban areas escaped destruction. If the aliens had survived, they would have eventually eradicated every human structure on the planet.

raywest Premium member
7

Question: Do we know the human casualties by the end of the war?

3

Answer: No such numbers are ever discussed in the novel or in the subsequent radio and movie treatments. What we may surmise, however, is that the human casualties were comparatively minor. Once the Martians were exposed to earthly microbes, they were wiped out pretty quickly.

Charles Austin Miller
9

Voiceover by Morgan Freeman at the end of the movie: by the toll of a billion lives.

Morgan Freeman says "By the toll of a billion deaths, man had earned his immunity, his right to survive among this planet's infinite organisms." He is saying that Mankind evolved with microorganisms for countless generations on Earth, making Mankind immune to most of those microorganisms. Perhaps a billion humans or more died of bacterial and viral plagues throughout human history; but, as a species, we gained immunity. Freeman's quote has nothing to do with the number of Martians that died because they had no immunity.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: The ending dialog states a death of 1 billion.

The billion deaths spoken of don't refer to those that died in the alien attack but the billion deaths from the microorganisms that killed the aliens. "By a billion deaths man earned his immunity."

Bishop73
11
3

I feel that he meant that the organisms that killed the aliens killed a billion humans first before we got our immunity from them.

2

They are saying that.

lionhead
2

Question: Is it realistic to think that Manny, the garage mechanic would have NO idea of what was going on when Ray steals the van from him? After all this is probably about 20 minutes after the Tripod emerged a few blocks away. Surely news would travel faster than that! And you'd think Manny would have felt the massive tripod moving or heard the destruction.

5

Answer: There's no electricity, so the only way Manny could have heard was through word of mouth. The few survivors from the initial attack scattered in different directions and if any happened Manny's way, they were probably too busy running to stop to explain anything to a garage mechanic. As for his awareness of the destruction, anything he may have felt or heard he likely dismissed as further manifestations of the freak electrical storm.

JC Fernandez
8

People are running scared all around him, and there is a burning tree nearby which can be seen when the van drives away. By that point Manny should have caught on to what was happening.

Question: Near the beginning of the movie during the lightning storm Ray says "where's the thunder?", Isn't thunder just the sound lightning makes and if you were close enough to the lightning wouldn't the sound occur at the same time as the flash?

5

Answer: Precisely - Ray is seeing the lightning but there is no sound of thunder at all - there is also no sound of the thunder as the lightning is getting closer too, it's just the lightning itself and that 'whooshing' sound, but the sound doesn't sound like thunder.

Sam Johnson
3

Question: What happened to Ogilvy?

Socks1000
5

Chosen answer: Ray couldn't trust Ogilvy to be quiet when the aliens arrived. So Ray had to kill Oglivy in order to save him and his daughter.

6

Question: Before Tom Cruise is ushered into the tunnel in Boston, he tells the army man, "______ is the key." What does he say; what is the key?

4

Answer: It is actually the army guy who says this, not Tom Cruise. Cruise notices the birds are able to land on the tripod and realizes the shields are down. He points this out to the army guy who yells to his men "The Javelin is the key." The Javelin is the anti-tank weapon they use to take the tripod down.

5

Question: Can anybody shed some light on how the Tripod's laser works?

MovieBuff09
4

Answer: In the original War of the Worlds book and movie, they were called heat rays. They (the tripods) generated incomprehensible amounts of heat, hence the laser's white color. They forward the heat in coordinated blasts of energy, that energy contains the heat. That's why the victim disintegrates so fast. The heat quickly evaporates all the liquids in the body and turns everything else (except the clothes) into ash. The ray blow burst of the air around it down at the ash remains of the victim, blowing the rest of the victim away.

4

Chosen answer: This question is beyond answering here. There is nothing to go on other that what we can see onscreen. Anyone's attempt to actually answer this question would be purely speculative.

GalahadFairlight

Or from clues we have from the book. I would have to agree that it is most likely a heat laser. It makes sense with the color of the beam and the destruction it causes.

Question: Why do the aliens want Rachel?

3

Answer: They don't particularly want her. They're capturing humans in general and use their blood to manufacture a solution that will vegetate the earth with alien plant life.

raywest Premium member
5

Other mistake: When Ray pulls up to Mary Ann's home, the front exterior layout and dimensions of the house are evident, from its near center front door to the two car garage, in front of Ray's van. The side exterior wall contains two large garage doors, which are about 35-40 ft from the location of the front door, with no small basement windows at ground level; inside, beside the front door, the stairs that lead to the basement run parallel just under the stairs in the foyer. In the basement, the small windows on the far end of the furnace room they run into are only about 20 ft from the basement stairs. Not only are the small windows non-existent in the exterior shot, but it's entirely impossible for two small windows to be where they are, considering the exterior footage of the house. (00:34:30 - 00:40:20)

Super Grover Premium member
More mistakes in War of the Worlds

Ray: Can you think of a plan that doesn't involve your 10-year-old sister joining the army?

More quotes from War of the Worlds

Trivia: In an early scene in which Rachel is watching television, she's channel surfing. At one point, she hits briefly upon a shot of a car being demolished by a speeding locomotive. This is, in fact, a scene from "The Greatest Show on Earth," which Steven Spielberg has reported as the first movie he ever saw.

More trivia for War of the Worlds

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