War of the Worlds

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.


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

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.


Answer: In the movie there are 3 different Tripods 1. Fighting Machine 2. Brute (Seen at the ferry coming out of the water) 3. Harvesters which take the humans.

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.

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

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.


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.

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

I've read that they buried the tripods on earth before us and that they made us they sent a meteor containing the key ingredients for life and that they were waiting for enough humans to collect their blood and use it.

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

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.


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: 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?

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


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


Answer: For this film, the Martian tripods were already buried deep in the Earth's surface, lying dormant for thousands of years (or more) and only waiting for the actual Martians to arrive. When they did arrive, the Martians did not "teleport" into the tripods, but they were carried down in high-velocity capsules. Fairly early in the movie, a television news crew captures video footage of lightning striking the earth; upon replaying the footage in slow-motion, the TV crew can actually see these high-velocity capsules (containing the Martians) riding down the lightning stroke and into the ground. Therefore, the lightning probably served a dual purpose: It physically bored shafts into the ground directly to the tripods; it then served to guide the high-velocity capsules to the tripods.

Charles Austin Miller

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


Actually the movie does explain how the beam works but as for what it's made of? Who knows.

Answer: I'm sure that's their teleportation beam.

Except that, if the Martians possessed extremely advanced matter-energy teleportation technology, they could have destroyed the entire human population without the Martians ever setting foot on the earth.

Charles Austin Miller

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


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

Grumpy Scot

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


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?

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

raywest Premium member

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?

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.


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

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.

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: A technical question about the movie. How exactly did they film the scene where the camera keep circling around the car Ray and his kids are fleeing the city with? There're no cuts or any visible sign of a camera platform or other classic filming tricks. It looks awesome.


Answer: The corridor crew on youtube talked about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkvXGI6bk2Q&t=1017s Timestamp is 15:35 to skip to the scene you want.


Question: Which countries were invaded by the tripods? I know that Ukraine was attacked but other than that are there any others?

Answer: I'd say each country was invaded off screen. Since we don't see any other countries helping fight in the US I'd say each country was busy fighting for their own countries. And each one had the same outcome with the aliens becoming sick.

Question: Why did Ray get Robbie and Rachel into the car before he even knew that Manny had fixed it?

Answer: He doesn't know for sure. He's just reacting to the situation, making an assumption after talking to Manny that the car was fixed.

raywest Premium member

Answer: They were in immediate danger and needed to flee. Ray knew that all the vehicles around him had dead batteries, but Manny and his helper were working on fixing the van - which meant that the van was THE only possibility for a working vehicle. Ray was not necessarily certain that Manny had fixed the van, but knew that Manny agreed with his recommendation to try changing the solenoid. The van was not only a good prospect, it was the ONE immediately available chance at getting to flee in a vehicle. If Ray's assumption that Manny DID fix the van turned out to be wrong (the van did not start), little time had been wasted. Ray and his kids would then be running for their lives ("hoofin' it") like everyone else. In short, Ray put the kids in the van because he presumed Manny changed the solenoid and it was now in running condition; fleeing in a vehicle would be much faster than fleeing on foot.


Question: So I know this was asked but I'm going to go a little deeper, How were the aliens killed by microbes/bacteria? They are so much more advanced then we are that they didn't think to protect themselves from this possible threat? They were ready for battle with the lasers how did they not think about what is in our environment?

Answer: I think the issue of they're more advanced than us therefore how would they not know about Earth's diseases is a bad assumption. Having knowledge of space travel and weaponry doesn't mean having knowledge of microbiology, even if we think it must because of our own advancements. We know when Europeans came to the Americas, the diseases they brought over were devastating to the indigenous people who had no immunity. There's a theory that the Americas never had such plagues or diseases because they didn't live in overcrowded cities like the Europeans. Had the indigenous people carried unique diseases that they were immune to, their diseases could have easily wiped out of the Europeans, despite being "more advanced." Mars may simply never had experience with plagues or diseases that required the concept of immunization or they may have thought they were protected.


Answer: They had never been to Earth and test out of the biological nature of the planet and its life. They just assumed to be protected in their machines from any hostility against them and never thought to protect themselves from the bacteria. They thought that if they would just destroy the life they wouldn't be affected by it.


So you said they had never been to Earth, but how did the machines they are using get here? If they are so intelligent and have these fancy machines how did they not think to look more closely at the life on this planet first when they brought the machines?

They didn't bring them, they sent them. A long, long time ago too. Who knows why they didn't think of it? That's just the story. They want the planet and kill everything on it to gain it. Why study an inferior species?


Answer: The aliens may have been aware there were biological hazards but underestimated how lethal that would be to their physiology. Their intent was to quickly and completely eradicate all Earth's flora and fauna, sterilizing the planet by reseeding it with their own alien biology.

raywest Premium member

Other mistake: When Ray pulls up to Mary Ann's home, the front exterior layout and dimensions of the house are evident, from its near center front door to the two car garage, in front of Ray's van. The side exterior wall contains two large garage doors, which are about 35-40 ft from the location of the front door, with no small basement windows at ground level; inside, beside the front door, the stairs that lead to the basement run parallel just under the stairs in the foyer. In the basement, the small windows on the far end of the furnace room they run into are only about 20 ft from the basement stairs. Not only are the small windows non-existent in the exterior shot, but it's entirely impossible for two small windows to be where they are, considering the exterior footage of the house. (00:34:30 - 00:40:20)

Super Grover Premium member

More mistakes in War of the Worlds

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

More quotes from War of the Worlds

Trivia: In an early scene in which Rachel is watching television, she's channel surfing. At one point, she hits briefly upon a shot of a car being demolished by a speeding locomotive. This is, in fact, a scene from "The Greatest Show on Earth," which Steven Spielberg has reported as the first movie he ever saw.

More trivia for War of the Worlds

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