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Joe Pearson
Peter Wingfield, Adrian Paul, Adam Baldwin, Elizabeth Gracen
Writing Credits:
David Abramowitz (screenplay)

A retro-futuristic epic of steampunk battle set in 1914.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$13,385 on 18 Screens
Domestic Gross


Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Bahasa Malaysia
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 88 min.
Price: $20.99
Release Date: 4/1/2014

• Both 2D and 3D Versions of Film
• Audio Commentary with Director/Producer Joe Pearson and Writer/Producer David Abramowitz
• “Stories Before the War” Featurettes
• “Meet Our Voice Actors” Interactive Guide
• “The Art of War” Elements
• “The Making of War of the Worlds: Goliath” Featurette
• “The Lovers” Featurette
• “The Movie In Storyboards”
• Trailer and Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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War of the Worlds [Blu-Ray 3D] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 15, 2014)

For a sequel of sorts to the HG Wells’ classic, we get 2014’s animated War of the Worlds: Goliath. In this parallel universe, Wells’ Martian attack took place and failed, but 15 years later in 1914, it began again when the alien assault renewed – right before the start of World War I.

Back in 1899, a British boy named Eric Wells (voiced by Alexander RK Henderson) watched the Martians kill his parents. Now an adult, Eric (Peter Wingfield) joins the war effort as part of the Allied Resistance Earth Squadron (ARES). While WWI rages in Europe, Secretary of War Teddy Roosevelt (Jim Byrnes) leads ARES against the Martians.

After the 1899 alien assault, humans managed to reverse-engineer technology based on the Martian equipment. This allows them to create a new battle machine called the “Goliath”. An ARES captain, Eric gets the command of the Goliath and we watch these endeavors.

If nothing else, Goliath brings us a fun concept. With its extension of HG Wells’ original material, it acts as a form of “fan fiction” and comes up with a mix of intriguing “alternate universe” elements to expand the source.

Beyond these clever ideas, does Goliath have much to offer? Not especially, as the film can’t expand beyond its intriguing premise to become a satisfying movie.

Clearly made on a fairly low budget, Goliath lacks much visual polish. Actually, it offers pretty good design, and some animation elements come across well; in particular, the computer-executed vehicle and battle components work nicely.

However, the hand-done characters fare less well. These offer “Saturday morning” quality and don’t mesh especially smoothly with the more appealing CG elements. I’m not sure why the movie’s producers chose to meld the two styles, but they don’t fit and the contrast between CG and cel work becomes a distraction.

Perhaps it makes sense that the human animation seems so stiff and wooden since the characters themselves never rise above the level of basic stereotypes. We get the usual heroes and cowards in the standard rag-tag army, yadda yadda yadda. Even the attempt to give Erik a “backstory” via his childhood trauma adds next to nothing; the characters consistently remain flat and one-dimensional.

The battle elements bring a bit of life to the proceedings, even though they don’t tend to seem especially original. I suspect viewers will encounter flashbacks to other sci-fi/action flicks, as Goliath wears its influences on its sleeve. Still, the movie renders the fights with reasonable vigor, and those scenes become minor highlights.

Even so, Goliath falters because we simply never care about the characters. How can a movie about the possible end of humanity seem so free from emotion? Goliath has its plusses, but it lacks consistency or much to develop it into a winning action flick.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

War of the Worlds: Goliath appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect an attractive visual presentation here.

Sharpness excelled. The movie always came across as tight and well-defined, so don’t expect any signs of softness. Jaggies and moiré effects also remained absent, and the image lacked edge haloes or artifacts. In addition, print flaws were a non-factor and didn’t appear at any point.

In terms of colors, Goliath went with a “period” palette that favored tans and subdued hues. The tones looked solid, as they showed positive richness and vivacity. Blacks were deep and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity. Across the board, the image worked well.

I thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Goliath opened up the material well. The forward channels brought out the majority of the material, but the entire package added a lot to the movie. Music presented strong stereo imaging, while effects cropped up in logical spots and blended well.

The surrounds also contributed good information. For the most part, these reinforced the forward channels, but they also contributed a fair amount of unique material. These instances mainly occurred during storms or bigger action scenes. The back speakers brought out a nice sense of space and environment.

Audio quality always satisfied. Speech was warm and natural, without edginess or other issues. Music sounded lively and full, while effects displayed good definition. Those elements seemed accurate and dynamic. All of this led to a positive presentation that deserved a “B+”.

In this two-disc package, we get both the 2D and 3D versions of the film. The picture quality comments above reflect the nature of the 2D edition – does the 3D image add much to the proceedings?

Not really. To be sure, the movie makes active use of the 3D presentation, but I don’t think these visuals make the flick more interesting. The nature of the 3D tended toward “Viewmaster” territory, as the elements didn’t blend in an especially natural way. They could still look cool – particularly when debris floated around the screen – but the 3D pieces didn’t bring a whole lot of involvement to the image.

Quality remained good, though not as strong as the 2D version. Sharpness took a minor hit in some shots, and the image tended to look darker; this made shadows more opaque. Colors were still fine, largely because they lacked much pep anyway. If the 2D image got an “A”, the 3D version earned a “B+”.

The same extras show up on both discs, and we find an audio commentary with director/producer Joe Pearson and writer/producer David Abramowitz. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, visual design and animation, cast and performances, music and editing, and a few other domains.

While it comes with a moderate amount of information, the commentary never becomes especially interesting. It tends to move slowly and veer toward basics that lack much insight. I’ve heard much worse, but this still seems like a mediocre track.

Two pieces appear under Stories Before the War. We get “St. Petersburg” (3:38) and “The Oath” (8:41), and both act as backstory for the main film’s events. The first shows General Kushnirov during the 1899 invasion, and the second lets us see aspects of the initial 1914 attack. Both offer decent prologues.

For info about the cast, we go to Meet Our Voice Actors. It shows icons of the characters; when clicked, we see images of the performers and learn basic notes about both the actors and the characters. It’s a minor addition.

The Art of War breaks into two categories. “War Machine Blueprints” shows designs for a mix of battle creations, while “Production Gallery” gives us stills under six subdomains: “Opening Titles”, “Characters”, “Martians”, “Environments”, “Props” and :”Vehicles”. Both deliver good behind the scenes art, though the “Gallery” is the more interesting of the pair.

A production featurette called The Making of War of the Worlds: Goliath runs 24 minutes, eight seconds and includes Pearson, Abramowitz, executive producer Kevin Eastman, producer Leon Tan, audio director Mike Bloemendal, composer Luka Kuncevic, post and stereoscopy supervisor Scott Inglis, technical supervisor Toby Risk, and actors Peter Wingfield, Adrian Paul, Tony Eusoff, Jim Byrnes and Adam Baldwin. The show looks at the movie’s origins and development, story/character areas, cast and performances, animation, audio and music, and 3D elements. At times, “Making of” becomes a little fluffy, but it provides a decent level of information, so it merits a look.

Something akin to a deleted scene shows up via The Lovers. This sequence lasts two minutes, 10 seconds and combines recording session footage with storyboards. Through this, we can approximate an extended version of the segment in which Eric and Jennifer get intimate. Most of this already appears in the final cut, so the additions don’t provide much of interest.

We get what we expect via The Movie in Storyboards. No matter which disc you view, you find the 2D version of Goliath, and storyboard art appears in the upper right corner as the flick progresses. Although I’m not a huge fan of storyboards, I like the scope of this presentation and think it becomes a good addition.

The discs open with ads for Time Warrior and Poseidon Rex. We also get a trailer for Goliath.

Despite a cool premise, War of the Worlds: Goliath can’t develop into anything more than predictable action. It suffers from lethargic storytelling and one-dimensional characters as it sputters from start to finish. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals and good sound as well as a decent array of bonus materials. I wanted to like Goliath but didn’t find much about it to embrace.

Viewer Film Ratings: -- Stars Number of Votes: 0
0 3:
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