No. But that's what Pendragon Pictures are alleging. Apparently there are numerous similarities between their 2005 film and the recently released Dark Horse comic, which also attempts a Victorian period reproduction of the story. I can't see it myself, though Pendragon are trying hard, having set up a website to promote the case and ask people to vote if they agree that they have been ripped off. Without a doubt, there are a couple of inadvertent matches, but consider, both versions are working from the same source material and there is only so many ways you can present the material. If you go through the website set up by Pendragon, the similarities become ever more tenuous and desperate as you scroll down the page. Lets take their assertion regarding a scene between the narrator and curate beneath the Martian Cylinder. Says Pendragon of their production: "Writer on the right, curate on the left as the house collapses”, while Dark Horse has "Writer on the right, curate on the left as the house collapses." Well wow! That clinches it. I'm reluctant to give this silly case the oxygen of publicity, but here's the link, if only so you can make your own judgement and if you agree with me, vote a big fat no.
One of the most frustrating things about the recent Spielberg version of The War Of The Worlds was the drought of background material on the making of the film. Even the DVD did little to redress this, with a bunch of fairly awful making of featurettes that were long on back patting, but short on content. We've not even had a making of book, which is frankly incredible, so kudos to Iceblink studios, one of the companies that did pre-production art for the film. They have posted a ton of fantastic images at their site. Access direct it here.
You might recall that during the media campaign last year to promote a little film called The War Of The Worlds, there were signs that all was not well between Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise. The somewhat vocal Mr Cruise made a bit of an ass of himself on Opera declaring his love for Katie Holmes and then rumours surfaced (well, pretty much true by all accounts) that his beloved Church Of Scientology had a rather conspicuous presence on set, with a tented facility on hand to dispense wisdom to the cast and crew. But it appears that the New York Post has uncovered the truth. It was not his love for Holmes or the Scientologists on set, but Cruise's bizarre outbursts against the use of Ritalin to treat children, and specifically, the apparent outing of a Doctor known to Spielberg, who was subsequently picketed by Scientologists. The question is, did Cruise pass on the name?
I've only been able to get this to work on the Firefox browser and its not the most pretty looking page I have ever seen, but its a great concept. Go to the gutenkarte website and select War Of The Worlds. Then you can browse a map of locations from the book. It would be great if they extended this to the Orson Welles broadcast set in New Jerseym but for those people (especially those outside the UK) who want to get a flavour of the locations used by H.G. Wells, this is a fantastic resource.
NASA has been warned in a new report that it is falling short on its requirements for future Mars exploration, especially if it wants to translate future robotic missions into a manned attempt to visit the planet. The report from the National Research Council, which advises the government on science issues, was requested by NASA itself, so the findings will hopefully have weight with officials. Plans for the next decade get a broadly positive report, but the main problem for NASA is that billions of dollars have been stripped from their science budget in order to keep the Shuttle and International Space Station in operation. One of the biggest casualties has been a sample return mission, which is not likely to happen now until the early 2020's. Complex detailed robotic missions such as this are vital to improving our understanding of the planet, given that astronauts may need to spend a year on the surface.
London's Royal Society is giving visitors a chance to fly over the surface of Mars this week in a groundbreaking demonstration of 3D landscaping tools. Using images of Mars from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) onboard the European Space Agency spacecraft ‘Mars Express’, people can peer into Volcanoes or plunge into a frozen see. "It will be great fun,like having your very own jetpack and whizzing around the Martian landscape without leaving your chair" says Dr Sanjeev Gupta, of Imperial Colleges Department of Earth Science and Engineering. Also on display will be a meteorite from Mars and a scale model of the ESA's Mars Express. Find more details of the exhibition at the Royal Society website.