In his iconic first novel, The Time Machine, H. G. Wells sends his Victorian protagonist 800,805 years into the future to a parasitic civilization that contributes nothing to knowledge, art, or culture. He could have cut the journey short by 800,780 years to describe a similar society, our own, as evinced by the new BBC adaptation of his later classic, The War of the Worlds. The miniseries doesn’t reimagine Wells’ extraordinary vision; it contradicts it, turning the tale of interplanetary conflict into a feminist-antimilitarist-secularist screed. All the men appear frightened buffoons, while a marginal female character from the book becomes the main hero. “It’s time for a woman to do it,” says star Eleanor Tomlinson (who also plays Demelza in Poldark — where she has become increasingly insufferable for all the woke reasons). She’s right in that today’s vacuous progressive auteurs can only feminize popular male characters rather than create good female ones — see Ghostbusters (2016), Ocean’s 8 (2018), and The Hustle, a 2019 remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
The War of the Worlds’ writer, Peter Harness, actually attacked the source material while promoting his take on it: “Religion is pretty roundly rubbished. Religion and militarism and these notions of nationhood in Wells’s book … they just wither in the face of these aliens.” In Wells’ novel, God and the military combine to save the planet. At great cost, British forces manage to resist the Martians long enough for Earth’s bacteria to kill them. The book’s narrator pronounces them “slain, after all man’s devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in His wisdom, has put upon this Earth.” But Harness and the producers believe they know better than a literary giant they deem too conservative — and H. G. Wells was a socialist. Result: the most damning Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb.com) user reviews I have ever read, some by liberals put off by the show’s ideological heavy-handedness.
The liberal brains behind this year’s Terminator: Dark Fate also cannibalized the franchise in their desperation to woken it. They gender-swapped the ingenious concept of a futuristic male warrior come to the present to protect the man who will one day save humanity from killer robots. That hero, John Connor, is not yet conceived in 1984 Terminator, so the target is his party-girl future mom, Sarah Connor. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Sarah has body-built herself into an Amazon to safeguard the teenage John, but she’s still no match for the latest Terminator, and both Connors must be continually rescued by a good Terminator.
The Dark Fate auteurs could have failed on their own merits by forcing three unpleasant heroines on an unreceptive audience: Linda Hamilton as a haggard Sarah Connor (“I’ll be back,” she says in a sad attempt to own the signature Schwarzenegger line), Natalia Reyes as the John Connor replacement (with a character twist that will surprise nobody), and Mackenzie Davis ludicrously male-posturing as the protectress from the future. And they had to take John Connor down with them, slaughtering him at the start of the film. The very notion of a man as future world savior proved too noxious to the new Hollywood players. In their PC delusion, the filmmakers expected young male moviegoers to flock to the sexless main trio instead.
Dark Fate director Tim Miller went so far as to insult his potential audience, preemptively calling them sexists should they dare to dismiss Davis, using the now-standard Hollywood faux badass vernacular: “If you’re at all enlightened, she’ll play like gangbusters. If you’re a closet misogynist, she’ll scare the f___ out of you, because she’s tough and strong but very feminine. We did not trade certain gender traits for others; she’s just very strong, and that frightens some dudes…. I don’t give a f___.”
Doubtless closet or even overt misogynists would be terrified of a half-robot warrior woman should they encounter one, but that seems an unlikely prospect. In the real world, the problem is men posing as women and dominating and destroying women’s sports. Miller also seems to forget that the underrated third film in the series, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, featured a stronger, hotter, and, yes, sexier female Terminator. So what was the result of all the virtue signaling and crowd bullying by our Tinseltown betters? Terminator: Dark Fate is not only the worst performer of the series, it’s also one of the biggest bombs of the year, predicted to lose Paramount Studios more than $100 million. Perhaps Miller should have given a f____.
Financial disaster won’t discourage these people. They’ll continue to blast traditional values even as they sink. Reports coming out of the new James Bond film, No Time to Die, co-written by feminist screenwriter Phoebe Waller-Bridge, will have Ian Fleming turning in his grave. In one scene, Bond wakes up next to his new bride, Madeleine (from the previous film Spectre). “Good morning, Mrs. Bond,” he says. “Don’t you mean Ms. Swann?” she replies. I’m sure 007 fans will line up to see the new henpecked, emasculated Bond in inaction.
Actually, more likely they’ll stay home and watch the classic first seven movies, including Bond’s first wedding in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) to a classier woman than Madeline. “My lords, ladies and gentlemen,” booms the wedding announcer in the film. “This is the bride and bridegroom, Mr. and Mrs. James Bond.” Women love that scene, and many still take their husband’s name, but they matter little in the higher progressive scheme of things.
There is a huge paying audience for traditionalist entertainment, especially that which includes traditional romance — which is more real and commercially successful than the fantasies Hollywood keeps trying to fabricate — but they have nowhere to go, other than literature. According to the Romance Writers of America, the romance fiction industry is worth $1.08 billion a year, about the size of the mystery/thriller and sci-fi/fantasy genres combined, this type of entertainment is shockingly rare in film and television. The journalist hero of my new novel, Paper Tigers, challenges a major Hollywood producer on this very point:
“What would happen if you made a good old-fashioned bodice ripper?”
“I’d make a boatload of money,” said Weinberg. “Assuming I could get the project past my partners without a Lawrence or Chastain, who’d never do it. Although any unknown starlet would jump at it. But then I’d be ostracized at the golf club by my peers.”
I’ve been researching Hollywood history for my next novel, a Hollywood epic. And I think I know what MGM head Louis B. Mayer would have said: “If the audience is sexist – make sexist movies.” It’s a philosophy lost on his Lilliputian successors. The Time Machine stops here.