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The novel:

  • Harsher in Hindsight: The book's references to the use of poison gas by the Martians were scary enough in 1898, but after World War I...
    • A similar thing happens in the Orson Welles version. Their take on the Thunderchild scene involved a bomber performing a Heroic Sacrifice by crashing into a Tripod. A tactic the Allied servicemen in the Pacific would become all too familiar with a few years down the line...
      • And the late stages of the European theater.
    • The artillery man in particular is a disturbingly prophetic figure. Even though he does not have the will to follow suit with these plans, the ideas that came up with do sound a lot like the things that thirty years latter by a group of people in Germany with good dress sense and a tenancy to march without bending their knees led by a certain rejected art student.
    • At the year 1898, the thoughts of a war so brutal that entire cities could be destroyed to the ground were considered as paranoid nonsenses and wild fantasies, especially if they were about this kind of war between the "civilized" European nations...

The 1953 movie:

  • Fridge Logic: One of the first characters to be disintegrated in the 1953 film claims that they are Martians because Mars is currently at its closest approach in years. Other characters also assume this as the basis for where they come from, later on in the film. While this is true, no-one ever questions that this is only an assumption.
  • Misaimed Fandom: The Tripods are iconic images in the history of science fiction and what everyone remembers. For some reason the 1953 film made them into flying machines.
    • Most adaptations take place in modern-day America instead of Victorian England, which actually makes the Martian threat significantly weaker from a story point of view, since Victorian characters from the novel didn't have the luxury of missile launchers and nuclear weapons to throw at the Martians; this has necessitated modern depictions having to give them force-fields in order to be a credible menace.
    • Also, the 1953 version's Fighting Machines don't fly. They are held up by three "legs" of electrical energy. Granted, only one close-up establishes this. The electricity was a practical (i.e. not optical) effect, generated in real-time, and even then it's not very obvious. At all other times, the "legs" are implied by a faint lighting effect under the body.


The 2005 movie:

  • HSQ: Spielberg keeps this as high as possible. One scene involves a crowd of people, including our protagonists, walking through town, when a railroad crossing signal sounds. Everybody clears the tracks as the gate comes down. Then the train passes. It is on fire. It leaves, the gates go up, and it is not commented on by anyone.
    • The train was in the novel, as well. It's a clever nod to the original story.
  • The Scrappy: Rachel qualifies for being The Load, and she spends most of the time being carried around, screaming, or staring off into space. Ray might not know much about parenting, but he sure risks his ass for her twenty times over in the film while she stands there and does nothing. Frequently parodied in Scary Movie 4.
    • Hell, Robbie counts as well. The first few scenes he's in involve him being a Jerkass to his father, up to and including the invasion. After demanding to go to his mother and stepfather, Ray agrees, to which Robbie argues that Ray is just trying to get rid of his children. This is all surrounded by Robbie trying to go Leeroy Jenkins and fight the invasion despite Ray's insistence that nothing good will come of it.
  • WTH? Casting Agency: When people think "blue-collar New Jersey single father", Tom Cruise is probably not the first name that comes to mind.
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