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2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8 out of 5 stars
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on 29 July 2010
If you've read the book, you must avoid this hopelessly inferior re-boot. It's clumsy in the extreme and is full of unnecessary re-writes.

However, if you've no real knowledge of the story, or don't fancy the book, this is a decent enough TV drama BASED on the book with a "modern" twist to the outstanding 1950s story. Reading the reviews here, it's hard to disagree with those appalled by the way Wyndham's vision has been warped with a US TV audience in mind. The final scenes in particular are laughable.

But getting there is actually quite an enjoyable ride. Unlike some others, I thought Eddie Izzard did a good job as Torrance, who's role is given much greater prominence than in the book. His unpleasant character has a quietly sociopathic, detached demeanour which Izzard does justice to, albeit without any real menace. I have no idea why he had to survive a plane crash in order to be introduced. Part of me wonders if the crash was simply a strand of the eco-frenzy agenda behind this version of the story. But it's ridiculous to suggest he could away from a central London plane crash by locking himself in the toilet and surrounding himself with inflated life jackets. The plane careers into Big Ben on its way down. Izzard emerges, blackened and frazzled, looking like he's survived a cartoon blast.

Other random thoughts:

Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Cox are criminally under-used but both are superb.

The CGI is passable (not outstanding but then this has TV budgetbut the triffids are certainly not the plants that Wyndham envisaged. Here, the roots are essentially tentacles that drag the victim toward the carnivorous beast to be quickly devoured. A perfectly neat idea but in the book the triffids killed with a sting to the eye then spent several days feasting on the rotting flesh of the victim. Obviously the TV execs didn't fancy something that plodding so "sexed up" the plants.

There are some very good scenes. The one in the food warehouse springs to mind. The one where Joely Richardson battles triffids after her escape from Downing Street (!!) is another good one. Her overall performance is less noteworthy.

Basically, to enjoy this mindless adaptation, you have to open your head, remove your brain and insert a bucket of popcorn in its place. Suspend disbelief - all of it - and enjoy the apocolyptic ride, ignoring the glaring plot holes. Better still, get hold of the BBC series from the early 80s and revel in how a drama series SHOULD be made. You may wince at the effects but there is more tension in one 25 minute episode of that version than in three hours of this one.
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on 29 January 2012
Oh dear. If only somebody had read the book this wouldn't have ended up the clanking wreck that it is. The plot is nonsense, stupid plot devices abound - inculding the sun's brief brightening blinding people where it was nighttime. Somhow Eddie Izzard is saved from a plane crashing into the centre of London by inflating lifejackets in the plane's lavatory. At least he is a real comedian. The triffids are even cheesier than those in the original movie and the characters defy description. A stellar cast had no chance of rescuing this crock from the remainder bin where it richly deserves to be.

Poor John Wyndham is spinning in his grave.
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on 30 December 2009
I was so disappointed by this, although I had tried to warn myself not to get my hopes up.

The principal sin commmitted by this latest version of Wyndam's classic tale is that it is not in any way plausible. Plausibility is the one thing that made the original book so compelling - indeed, I would argue that its essential plausibility is what has elevated it to the status of classic literature. It's about an ordinary man forced to deal with extraordinary circumstances. It's a love story and a story of survival - there are no heroes trying to save the world, no insane bad guys trying to take the world over.

In this new adaptation, all this is sacrificed in order to make a pathetic travesty of a Hollywood disaster movie for the small screen. The main protagonist's central objective (to survive, to find his soul-mate, to make a family) is replaced with the wearisome mission to SAVE THE WORLD, and because of this a host of tedious antagonists are thrown in his way, for example an adversarial father figure (a familiar staple in so many US story-lines), an insane nun with a personal retinue of meat-head bodyguards, and a big bad baddie in the shape of Eddie Izzard. The world's population do not witness an amazing comet then go to bed only to wake up blind the next morning, but all get dazzled enmasse in a split second, leading to instant pandemonium and panic. Even the top half of Big Ben falls off in sympathy.

As well as the plausibility issues (for example, Izzard's character sets up base in London, at 10 Downing Street no less, whereas in the book Wyndam is careful to ensure the action shifts away from the capital as soon as possible, due to the fact that the city turns into an open sewer in a matter of days), there is simply no tension or atmosphere. Consider the opening - the book starts with a man with bandages over his eyes waking up in a hospital bed and trying to work out why the hell no-one has come to unbandage him. It's a wonderfully creepy opening and as he finally works out what is going on, so do we the reader. The 1980's TV adaptation did this brilliantly, devoting most of the first episode to having John Duttine alone in a hospital room, scared out of his wits).

In this new version however everything is done relentlessly in the third person - we the audience see the disaster happening first, then just watch the main character reacting to it. The first act is rushed, botched, lacking thrills.

Then the plot goes completely off the rails and gets polluted by all kinds of grafted on garbage, all seemingly designed to cater for an imaginary audience of utter morons who need plane crashes, meglomaniacal psychopaths, turbulent father-son conflicts and, at the end, far-fetched twists involving black magic in order to not switch channels.

To all this add the fact that pretty much all the actors turn in dreadful performances and you really do have a recipe for disaster. Whoever concocted this dire travesty should be ashamed of themselves, and this DVD should be studiously boycotted by anyone with even a modicum of respect for John Wyndham.
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on 30 December 2009
Considering John Wyndham's novel is regarded as such a classic it's surprising that this new TV adaptation is only the third time it has been filmed, the previous one, also made by the BBC in 1981 was superlative, while before that all we had was a shoddy american b-movie that's best forgotton. Long overdue for a glossy new one then, with today's top-notch effects bringing Wyndham's book to frightening, riveting life? Er, sadly no. This new version is absolutely dreadful, bearing very little resemblance to Wyndham's brilliant book, ditching the haunting imagery, thought-provoking scenarios, excellent characters and riveting plot developments in favour of a flashy, all style no substance action-heavy sci fi drama with overbearing music, wooden acting and stupid CGI monsters with ever growing tentacles. It's like a particularly bad episode of the new Doctor Who (yes, as bad as that!). Dougray Scott is as wooden as a sideboard, there is no chemistry between any of the characters, Eddie Izzard hams it up, there's far too much flash-bang-wollop effects and shooting guns and little thoughtful, reflective science fiction (which was the whole point of Wyndham's novel). In fact, aside from the Triffids and the notion of the majority of the world going blind, this film bears very little resemblance to the book at all.
A complete waste of 3 hours of your life, as well as possiby one of the worst and least faithful adaptations of a magnificent book I've ever seen. John Wyndham must be spinning in his grave. Avoid this and watch the BBC's masterful 1981 version, which is truly faithful to the book and a cracking piece of science fiction drama. This stinks!
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VINE VOICEon 18 January 2010
This was an incredibly misguided attempt to convert/update a brilliant novel into what the young audience expects to see these days. As a result it has no tension, no realism, no emotion, and is full of disaster movie clichés. It will not stand the test of time and will be forgotten in a year. Totally disposable. The storytelling departs too much from Wyndham's brilliantly paced novel, and CGI triffids just don't cut it.

If you are buying this because you enjoyed it, then go ahead. There is some good action, and Eddie Izzard deserves a mention as he is also quite good, but wasted. It might appeal to those with no knowledge of the novel, the BBC TV production from the early '80s or even the brilliant radio adaptations. But compared to those other productions, this is very, very shallow indeed. I can only assume the producer and director were following orders from some idiot in a suit.
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on 24 April 2010
As with songs,covers are very rarely anything but a sad lifeless attempt to cash in on the fame of the original.I would like to say that this is one of the rare good ones but no this is a diffuse pointless disjointed waste of time.The 1980's bbc version his still the only time anyone has done this novel justice and like the 1973 Miami Dolphins I don't think the feat will ever be repeated. Hope fully this will be proved wrong but I wouldn't hold my breath.
The Day Of The Triffids [DVD] [1981]
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on 26 January 2011
Once again I'm afraid a modern production team has forgotten that what matters is content. It doesn't matter how clever your special effects are or how technologically advanced your medium is, it's the storyline and acting that make a production good, rather than indifferent, or in this case, dire. Like so many current films and TV programmes, the 2010 re-make of John Wyndham's excellent story tries to rely on violence ('action'), sex (`human interest'), and `visuals' (here its CGI) and of course therefore is very shallow. The ending of this version (I won't give it away in case you want to see the thing) panders to the desperate need for the neat and tidy ('happy'?) finales seemingly essential for American (and now British?) audiences. Contrast this version with the TV adaptation starring John Duttine. This was far superior simply because it didn't have expensive effects or sets; it relied on professional interpretation of a good script; and it was truer to the original book. The recent British re-make of 'Survivors' fell into the same trap as this re-make of 'Day of the Triffids' - it `dumbs down' unnecessarily. Modern film makers seem to think that contemporary audiences can't cope with thoughtful, slower paced presentations. They are wrong. If you like a good story well told, avoid this version - order the British TV adaptation made in 1981.
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on 18 February 2010
This is the sort of tripe that sets me looking for the US made label somewhere on the movie. It is actually worse than the 1960's version.
I actually thought the opening was OK (if the plane crash nonsense had been omitted) and was happy to accept a new storyline for Bills involvement with Triffids, however the flashbacks to tribal masks had warning bells ringing in my head. How right this proved to be!
What were the producers thinking of? Instead of a plausible plant adaptation linked to current themes about global warming and genetic modification fears we get a supposed super monster that proves near impossible to kill and a host of implausible plastic characters.
This movie should have been given another title as it bears little relationship to the themes in Wyndham's novel.
The pity is the possibility of a more in depth version of the book being brought to the screen will now have little chance of happening. The chance to explore the effects on a population even far more disconnected with nature than existed in the 1950's or 1970's has been totally lost in this abomination.
The best bit of script was where Bill borrows his fathers car.
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on 30 December 2009
Bloody Awful. I watched the 80s TV adaptation last year (having been terrified by it as a child) and it is infinitely better. It's still far more frightening that this version and simply repeating it would have been a far better option that this complete waste of time. Somehow, back in the 80s they managed to give the triffids a far more plausible design and that sinister drumming sound. They looked like something that could actually exist as opposed to shambling B-movie mounds grappling with people with their tendrils. Why the need was felt to randomly insert the utterly ludicrous is anyone's guess - for example why was it necessary to have an inexplicably unfazed Eddie Izzard make his entrance by that daft plane crash? - From which he emerges unscathed but with ragged clothes, looking like someone does when they've been blown up in a Carry On film or something. Still, his performance was perhaps the only saving grace - he did play his part well, it's just a shame it was in such rubbish and he was such a pointless, cliched villain. It seems like it was decided to try to make the story sexier and more 'contemporary', doubtless with an eye to flogging it to American TV. What emerged was the bare bones of the original story with seemingly much effort expended to make it as unconvincing and inane as possible. Rather than the triffids being an emerging menace, here they all decide to leg it down the motorway. Perhaps congratulations are in order; the premise of a world struck blind is in itself frightening, but somehow this managed to pull of being not remotely frightening in any way shape or form. Buy the original adaptation - its age may really show in places, but it knew how to tell the story.
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on 31 January 2010
Step 1: Have you read the book?

If you have read the book skip to Step 2.
If you have not read the book, skip to step 3.


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