Review of The Martian Invasion #RichardArmitage

 here

 

BFCL014_themartianinvasionofearth_1417The above review is more positive than what you can expect from me, which I’ve decided to provide with bullets.

  • I took the time to read the book after my first listen. It took less time to read than to listen ( Okay – I did a lot of scanning – so I got through it in under an hour). I didn’t like the book, so I didn’t like the audio adaptation, but they are very close to one another. I thought the whole thing was quite dated, and at times, hard to follow. There are change of scenes in the audio version that often confused me. This was especially so when the story skipped from Herbert in the country-side to a naval battle near London, and frequently when the scene shifted from Herbert to Edward ( see below).
  • This is a radio dramatization of a science fiction work that relies heavily on sound effects to depict explosions, rushing water, fires crackling, machinery, buildings collapsing, weapons, horses running, etc. This couldn’t have been easy to achieve, but because of it, I found listening difficult, especially as the characters are often talking over the sound effects and it wasn’t easy to figure out what every sound was supposed to represent. I wonder whether some of the sound effects were used while they were speaking or were put in afterwards.
  • Because the characters are witnessing horrific and dangerous events, and are often in the path of danger, there is a sort of Into the Storm vibe, with a lot of yelling ( Run! Hide! Quiet! Look!) as well as moaning and sounds of pain. Of all the main characters, Herbert ( Armitage) seems to have the most injuries, poor guy.
  • This adaption changed the story slightly by giving a larger role to the protagonist’s wife. In this version, Herbert Wells ( HG himself, played by Richard Armitage) is the narrator and a character who witnesses a lot of whats happening in the countryside and paints some transitions to the other set of main characters) In the original, he drops his wife off at a cousin’s and she never resurfaces. In this version, Amy ( Lucy Briggs-Owen) is with Herbert throughout his travels. She is often the more practical, less hysterical of the two, and has an equal task in determining their course of action. She also has a pretty good sense of humor and a no-nonsense approach to their predicament. So, good for the writer for giving a female a more equal role)
  • Another change from the original is the parallel story of Herbert’s brother, Edward (Christopher Weeks), who is in London at the time of the invasion. He hooks up with a youngish married woman, Agatha (Helen Goldwyn) and her dying mother- in-law. In the original, Agatha is with her sister-in-law. In the original, they come upon one another when Edward intervenes to save Agatha from brutes who are trying to steal her horse and cart to escape. In this version, Agatha and her mother-in-law are trying to escape in a hot air balloon. Without giving anything away, this story change has some odd and dark differences, aside from the hot air balloon. Like Amy, Agatha is a strong, reliable, and feisty  partner/eyewitness to Edward as they observe the scary, violent invasion and try to survive. So, again, kudus to the adaptor, Nicholas Briggs.
  • Richard Armitage fans might be particular amused by the scene where he and Amy have to submerge themselves under water for longish periods in order to evade a deadly Martian weapon. His gasps, and coughs, and the sound of them trying to talk under water, are a hoot. Luckily for him, he didn’t go near anything closer than a water bottle while working.
  • For Richard Armitage fans who like him best when he’s doing period pieces, they should be mightily pleased by the Victorian, formal speech patterns in this work, and when he’s not screaming, or groaning, his baritone voice, especially in narration, should be  familiar and welcome.
  • I know these people were going through a hellish experience, but I thought it was still over dramatic for my taste. I imagine this is necessary, though, when one is only listening.
  • I suppose this will be much better received by H.G Wells or Sci Fans, and by those who like radio plays. I think what will make this special for most – the sound effects-  is what I liked least – but there’s really no way around them, considering the story.
  • I was a bit disappointed when I compared the star quality of the cast to that of Richard Armitage. Except for Lucy Briggs-Owen (Doc Martin), most of the other actors have few to no credits, or have been in only B-type films with an occasional TV appearance. So, once again, I ask myself, Richard Armitage – why? Unless he feels some kinship with Big Finish, which gave him some work during his Robin Hood days.

With all the audio work Richard Armitage is producing, I’m beginning to wonder if he doesn’t want to be seen much.

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11 thoughts on “Review of The Martian Invasion #RichardArmitage

  1. I wondered when I listened to the 15-minute excerpt if the sound effects would be distracting and whether the transitions between scenes would be a bit hard to follow. I usually listen to audiobooks while driving, but I’m not sure I could with this. I found just listening to the clip that I had to close my eyes to focus on it.

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  2. This! l had exactly the same impressions! Didn’t like the script/ book, found it dated, all in all too melodramatic and at times hard to follow ..

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    • I didn’t get to read the script because of a screw up with Big Finish. They say my order was cancelled – but the payment went through and I got the book – just not the extras, yet.

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  3. I’m a bit disappointed by the projects RA is involving himself in recently. He seems to go from one project to another, none of which is a meaty part for him. The latest, the Lodge, looks to be an appearance at best and not a role of any significance. While I am a huge fan of his acting, I think he is selling himself short and taking on roles, just for the sake of an acting job. I won’t be listening to this, even though his sultry voice is beautiful to hear. He deserves better, even if he doesn’t think so.

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    • I don’t know motivates him to take specific projects. Though I don’t intend to listen to it, I think The Tattooist of Auschwitz, coming out soon, is solid. In terms of voice work, it could be as simple as that he finds it very easy, and thus, easy money and work that he can jam in between other commitments. I’m disappointed in The Lodge also, for a number of reasons – should he take a small role in a well-pedigreed film in a specific genre or wait for a starring role in something more iffy? How picky is he able to be? We don’t know what’s offered. This Big Finish series seems to have a strong following – so I guess he’ll get some good reviews among fans of it. But I’m with you – I don’t know. He could also be killing time before Berlin Station or keeping himself free in case that stage thing develops. ( I have doubts about it now). But I’m with you. He deserves better.

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      • i suspect sadly given the outcomes his choices are somewhat limited; or rather, as is the case with the vast majority of actors, they go for many projects and get very few… It’s not been the most exciting stuff for us lately on his plate…

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  4. Pingback: Three reviews / responses to “The Martian Invasion of Earth” | Me + Richard Armitage

  5. I, too, found it hard to follow in parts. I wonder if more narration, or even chapters, would have helped. Especially when the character of the brother was introduced. And I do wish it were longer. They packed a lot of material in a small amount of time.

    I had never read the book or heard this before, so I did enjoy it, overall. I think Richard’s grunts, groans and sounds of pain were artfully done. And I like that he plays an ordinary man who loves his wife. This sort of ordinary character seems to be quite a change for him.

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  6. I didn’t expect it to be this short but having listened i think it was quite ok as length, it could have hardly continued in this vein for longer 🙂 I was a bit surprised by just how dated it was in terms of language in particular. In a way that was the thing i also enjoyed about it. I really liked the voice he used and the changes you mentioned worked well for me, i particularly liked the way the managed to say a lot about his relationship with Amy, his wife without using too many words. Some of the sounds effects were too dense but otherwise the sense of panic and doom would have been hard to convey without the sounds of hundreds of people screaming in despair. The problem is sci-fi has moved on so much that these days we do find it a bit simplistic through our contemporary eyes 🙂

    As radio drama it worked for me, but i like radio drama in general. I enjoyed all the voices and his in particular and although it was different from what i expected i am glad i heard it. I can imagine the fuss it created back in the day 🙂

    And i got a real inappropriate giggle out of the water scene…. even on radio!!! poor Rich 😉

    In many ways i enjoyed this more than Dr Jekyl which i found harder to digest due to the style it was written in. But in both cases his narration helped keep me interested in the material. I don’t think in either if i had just read the book i would have necessarily finished it. I certainly wouldn’t have gotten through Dr Jekyl! He gave the character more dimension and kept me interested enough in their inner workings to finish it. Will i listen to either again? Very unlikely 🙂 But for the credits i used i don’t regret having listened. At least it was good writing, regardless of the varied opinions we might have about the subject of the stories.

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  7. So I’ll pass on this audio not my type of genre at all. But my eyes darted to 2 things:
    1. I love love love Doc Martin. Sue recommended it to me and I’m so glad she did. It is just fantastic writing, directing, cast play so well together and I love the location. Next year is the final season

    2. I thought his role in The Lodge was pretty big. Doesn’t he play the lead dad of the family who gets stuck in this holiday shack in the middle of nowhere? His role in My Zoe is pretty big too.

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