War of the Worlds

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?

Chosen 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

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

MovieBuff09

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, its 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

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.

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

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

Socks1000

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

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?

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

The tripods are a mech suit for the aliens.

Chosen 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

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

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: What caused the tripods shields to go down?

Socks1000

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

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?

Chosen 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

Question: Why do the tripods make a horn sound?

Chosen 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

Question: What happened to Ogilvy?

Socks1000

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.

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?

Chosen 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

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?

Chosen 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.

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: 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.

Chosen 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

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

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

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?

Chosen 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.

Question: How did Robbie survive?

Socks1000

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.

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

Grumpy Scot

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

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.

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

Which is about 30.5 meters.

lionhead

Question: Why do the aliens want Rachel?

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

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

MovieBuff09

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.

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

Question: Aside from puzzling the heck out of aliens who never invented the wheel, was the bicycle in the cellar bit perhaps a little directorial homage to ET?

Jean G

Chosen answer: This is probably a bit of a stretch. I have two old bicycles in my basement.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Answer: I assumed that these were alien "toddlers", and were just "playing" and "exploring."

Question: I was a little confused. Why did the aliens die? I know it had to do with micro organisms but the answer doesn't come clear to me. Can someone please explain this for me?

Sir William

Chosen answer: It's similar to how the Native Americans were decimated by smallpox and other diseases when America was colonised by Europe - They had never encountered that virus before, so they had no immunity to it whatsoever, and many of them died. The aliens would have no immunity to any diseases, or even a basic hereditary immunity to default earth viri. Basically they all caught some disease or other (maybe even a cold), and died because they had no immunity at all to it.

Gary O'Reilly

Question: When Tom Cruise is battling to get free of the tentacle pulling him into the ship from the cage, there is alien (presumably) writing visible on the underside of the tripod just beyond his arm and above the lights. Can someone shed light on what this may say (theories, previously suggested writer/director thoughts)?

scodoc

Chosen answer: My guess is that it could be a manufacturing symbol or name like you would see on today's construction machines. It could also be a warning like, "Caution: Hot Vent", or something along those lines. To my knowledge it is never clarified by anyone. Also could have been the number/name of the unit the tripod belonged to.

Answer: Like it stated in the movie these tripods were buried years upon years ago, and if you slow don't the movie it appears to be Egyptian writing.

Question: How exactly were the birds involved in the death of the Tripods?

Chosen answer: They were not involved as such, but the fact that they were able to land on the tripods told Ray that the shields were down and the tripods could be destroyed.

Twotall

Question: Why didn't the aliens take over earth for their own means millions of years earlier? And why send machines millions of years before any humans or life that could be considered a threat?

Answer: The aliens needed human blood to grow their blood vine, for future colonization. Precisely why they waited perhaps millions of years to create the harvest of human blood, because there was enough humans now to grow an acceptable crop for colonizing us.

Chosen answer: It's not known when the aliens sent the machines--the 'millions of years' comment was just one bystander's speculation. The machines could have been sent well after humans evolved and for whatever reason, the aliens did not journey to Earth until much later. Obviously, humans were never considered a threat--just an inconvenience to be eradicated. Because we don't know who the aliens are or how their society and technology works, many questions will remain unanswered.

raywest Premium member

Question: Does anyone have any clue as to why the aliens are vapourising people when they first appear? They never seem to do it again after that one scene (instead opting to grab them and drain them). Any help would be appreciated.

Gavin Jackson

Chosen answer: The aliens saw the humans as an immediate threat to their ship getting out from underground, so opted to vaporise anyone in the near vicinity so that it could leave the ground unimpeded.

GalahadFairlight

Answer: My guess is that they are in search of a specific blood type needed for the growth of the vines that is why some people are harvested and other people with "useless" blood types are killed off.

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

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

Question: Can you ever see inside the tripod?

Gman2116

Chosen answer: No, the closest we ever get to see is at the end when a hatch opens up and one of the aliens slips out of the hatch.

GalahadFairlight

Question: When Rachel is laying on the couch in Harlan's basement and Ray is holding her hand, she shows him a medal that she won. What did she win it for?

Chosen answer: She was showing him a third place ribbon that she won at a horse show.

s.ounder

Question: What were the red vines for?

Sir William

Chosen answer: If my memory serves me correctly from the radio play and the musical (as well as other sources, although I've never read the book), the reason Mars is red is not from the "rust" that we accept now, but from red vegetation. The aliens came and brought this vegetation with them, perhaps to give the earth a more suitable atmosphere (for them).

Gary O'Reilly

Question: How come Boston was relatively intact with no signs of destruction?

Socks1000

Chosen answer: The Martians hadn't gotten that far yet.

Grumpy Scot

Question: How were the tripods underground for so long and no one noticed them?

Socks1000

Chosen answer: It is never explained how or why they were underground or just how long they had been thre. However, they may have been buried too deep to have been detected.

raywest Premium member

Question: During the course of the film we see the "Tripods" spill out an orange colored liquid. What is that fluid supposed to be?

Chosen answer: The reddish liquid is a defoliant that eradicates indigenous vegetation and reseeds the planet with alien plant life.

raywest Premium member

Question: What exactly is the lightning the aliens use to get inside the tripods? How does it work?

Socks1000

Chosen answer: Impossible to answer, there's no indication onscreen as to how.

GalahadFairlight

Question: Why did the aliens need the human blood, and why did they spread it around? Also, when Ray and Rachel are in Boston, he breaks a white thing off a statue. What was it? And why was it dying?

Chosen answer: They didn't spread blood around. That was a red fluid seeding the planet with the red vine. The red vine was the first stage in making the Earth suitable for Martians. At the statue, Ferrier broke off a piece of the red vine - dead and brittle. It was the first clue that Martian life wouldn't survive on Earth.

scwilliam

Question: When Rachel and Ray were down in the basement, how did that tentacle with the flashlight know that they were down there?

Answer: It didn't. It was checking to see if the place had anyone in it. The only way it would know is if it was following them the whole time, which it wasn't.

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

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

Question: About half way through the movie, before Ray and co meet Robbins, why is everyone running up the hill towards the explosions? Surely they would be running away?

Answer: They see the army is about to attack they aliens. Thinking the army will prevail, they want to see the battle.

Jason Hoffman

Answer: There is more than one alien machine and explosions are going off that are not seen on screen. The people are panicked and running in all directions.

raywest Premium member

Question: Why did Ray blindfold his daughter?

Chosen answer: Ray's little daughter, Rachel, was prone to panic attacks in tense situations (depicted a couple of times early in the movie). When Ray and Rachel are hiding out in the basement with the neurotic Harlan Ogilvy, Ray realises that Harlan is completely losing his mind, and Ray knows the only way to save himself and Rachel is to kill Harlan. Ray even says to Harlan, "You KNOW what I have to do." Ray then goes to Rachel, blindfolds her, tells her to cover her ears and sing a lullaby. This was to prevent Rachel from seeing or hearing the violence that followed (which would surely send her into a panic attack, giving away their location to the aliens outside).

Charles Austin Miller

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Quotes

Ray: They came from someplace else.
Robbie: What do you mean, like, Europe?
Ray: No, Robbie, not like Europe!

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Mistakes

On the ferry, Rachel wears the purple/pink camouflage hoodie over her orange knit sweater with the colorful stripe sleeves, as usual. Now this is where things become strange. In the first shot as the trio come ashore, she is only wearing her orange sweater, she is not wearing the purple/pink hoodie - note the clear lack of fur hood. In the very next shot as they climb a bit more and then rest, Rachel is wearing the purple/pink hoodie - note the hood, but now it's on under her orange sweater. In the underwater shots she is also wearing it under the orange sweater. (This odd mistake has absolutely nothing to do with the very long wool cloak that Rachel wears in the next scene).

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Trivia

Gene Barry and Ann Robinson, stars of the 1953 version of this movie, make a small cameo in this movie as Mary Ann's parents. You can see them at the end when the whole family is reunited.

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