War of the Worlds - postscript 2

(5,000,000 Years to Earth)

Copyright 2005 Bob Persons
August 12, 2005

Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds couldn't plausibly have intelligent Martians launching space ships to earth in the 21st century, so he left the origin of the aliens ambiguous. The part about their ships being buried under the surface of the earth millions of years ago, however, to erupt and mount an invasion, tickled my memory, but not enough at the time I saw the film. Finally, today, I realized what had bothered me. That idea had been done before. In 1967 the Brits produced a movie called 5,000,000 Years to Earth (see AKA Note below).

In this film a Martian space ship is uncovered while working on the London Underground. (After the 7/7 bombings in London we all know how deep some of those Underground lines are - as much as 100 feet below the surface.) Turns out Martians (human-size grasshopper-like creatures) came to earth 5,000,000 years ago to guide the evolution of the human race to no good end, even taking humans back to Mars as slaves. In 1967 there was still a remote possibility that intelligent life could have existed on Mars.

Not in 2005, however. So ... Spielberg, stymied for a plausible origin for his aliens, postulated they had buried their machines under our planet's surface millions of years ago. And then they erupt with their machines from the earth to wreak havoc. Hmmm, sounds familiar; did he see this 1967 film?

Anyway, 5,000,000 Years to Earth is a pretty scary movie. Since I first saw it, it has haunted me as much as The War of the Worlds.


AKA Note. The title of the film I saw on late-night TV in the early 70's, so I always remember it that way. Its original title is Quatermass and the Pit, the third of 3 movies based on a British TV science fiction series.


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