The chances of anything coming from Mars was a million to one they said and that is the same ratio of you hating War of the Worlds (basically it was great but I wanted a cool opening line). About a month ago, I got the chance to go to the War of the Worlds Interactive Experience in London. This review meant to come out earlier but I like to pair these with my retrospectives so I’m going to get to it now. I will spoil some things from the story so you should definitely read the book or listen to the Musical Version of War of the Worlds (in my eyes, the definitive versions) or you can watch either version of the movie. Now further ado, on with the review.
In short, I think this is an excellent experience from start to finish although I still have some problems with it. The experience actually starts in the entrance before going into the main attraction. This starts with an atmospheric steampunk bar where you can buy souvenirs or drinks before you enter (although they are non-alcoholic). It’s a cool add-on to the experience which really helped you get into the atmosphere as you wait for your turn to go through. Then there’s the experience itself which creates full sets Victorian London with Martian ships and with great practical effects. Everything that even feels cheesy makes it feel like you are in a fifties movie that has the soundtrack as the main inspiration. You start off watching a film about the fictional creators of the attraction telling you their story and introducing you before going through the events of the book/musical version.
I won’t really spoil anything else, but the acting of the characters and the sets were perfect as they take you through. A bit less perfect was some of the Virtual Reality portions, although the creators did what they could with the current technology available to them. Whilst watching the Martians descent on Victorian London is great to watch, it was very glitchy which would take me out of the experience along with character models being bad in a way that was hilarious although not much they could do due to the budget and technology. There is a scene where you use virtual reality for a boat scene which was a much larger improvement and one of the most memorable parts of the entire experience as well as a scene where you get kidnapped which was also incredibly well done with staff equipped with claws in case you tried moving your hands out of the pod.
In the middle there was another bar, underground in the lore of the experience, where you can take a break to drink or go to the toilet. Then the experience continued during the section of the musical version where you are safe underground with survivors dreaming of building a new world (which had a cool visual experience to go along with it). The story then follows as normal with some more VR sections that I won’t spoil and some great sets and acting by the staff before you end the experience and are cheered by the crowd waiting outside for surviving the invasion.
Overall, without some problems with the Virtual Reality, it was a great very immersive way to experience the War of the Worlds story by H.G. Wells and accompany the Musical Version by Jeff Wayne. As a Sci-Fi addict, I firmly recommend it if you are in the London area as it is very memorable although it is important to mention some tiny jump scares and moments that may frighten the easily scared or younger audiences. It was really great, even with its problems and I hope you give it a shot. One of the most memorable Sci-Fi experiences I’ve had.
Anyway, we are at the end of this review/recommendation of the War of the Worlds Interactive Experience. If you’re on holiday in London or live near the area and love the album (which is a brilliant piece of Science Fiction and one of all-time favourite albums), I highly recommend going to it at least once. Even if you just like steampunk, you can wear costumes and really get into the experience. I’m releasing this along with my Blade Runner post about its importance and production problems so check that out as well if you haven’t. if you have checked out the experience, what are your thoughts on it, future thinkers? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Let me know down in the comments below…
Michael McGrady, Signing Off.