War of the Worlds: Goliath is an animated film sequel to the H.G. Wells novel. The film received a limited theatrical release in the United States on March 7, 2014 and was released on home video on April 1, 2014.
Director and co-producer Joe Pearson describes it as such:
- It's an R rated, retro-history, steam punk epic set in [the year] 1914, fourteen years after the first failed Martian invasion. Mankind has rebuilt her cities and military adapting a lot of the abandoned Martian technology. They've created an international defense force, A.R.E.S., based on the lower end of Manhattan and under the command of Theodore [sic] Roosevelt. They've built a formidable force centered around giant, steam powered battle tripods. Think of "Band of Brothers" meets "Star Wars", meets World WO. It will be cool-steam powered battle tripods, doomed Cossack cavalry charges, victorian decco, steam punk Manhattan, 1500 foot long armored battle zeppelins, Teddy Roosevelt, souped up Tri-planes, blood on steaming metal, sex in the cockpit. The usual.
The film is set in an alternate-reality Earth. In 1899, the Martians launched an unprovoked attack on the major nations of the world. In Leeds, England, a younger Eric Wells watches in horror as a Martian Tripod destroyed his city and then kills his parents. Before it can kill him, the Tripod suddenly keels forward and crashes into the ground. Over 140 million people were killed by the Martians, and many of the great cities of the world were destroyed until the Martians were killed off by Earth's bacteria, against which they had no defence.
15 years later, in Manhattan, New York City in 1914, the world has radically changed and developed into a dieselpunk/steampunk-like world, where Earth is at the potential onset of the Great War as the European nations' fragile alliance begins to shatter. A now grown-up Eric Wells is captain of a Tripod squad for the Allied Resistance Earth Squadron (A.R.E.S.) organization, alongside American Lieutenant Jennifer Carter, Irish Corporal Patrick O'Brien, Canadian Sergeant Abraham Douglas, and Malayan Lieutenant Raja Iskandar Shah. A.R.E.S. is commanded by strict Russian General Sergei Kushnirov (who lost his family to the Martians in 1899 at St. Petersburg), Secretary of War Theodore Roosevelt (who forsook a second term as President of the United States), and Professor Nikola Tesla, an enigmatic scientist who reverse-engineered the technology from the first invasion of the Martians and created A.R.E.S. weapons and vehicles.
Eric is given the first of a new type of steam-powered, Achilles-class Battle Tripod, (65 feet tall, armed with heavy machine guns and six light rockets, a heat ray and an 88-millimeter cannon) who nicknames his new tripod 'The Goliath'. But as his crew are preparing to engage another group of Tripods in a simulated war game against Japanese Captain Sakai, the A.R.E.S. alliance is threatened by the Great War when Archduke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated in Sarajevo. The members of A.R.E.S. are all called back to their respective countries in preparation for the coming war, but Eric, outraged at the stupidity of the human politicians and leaders, convinces everyone to stay and prepare for the coming Martian invasion.
This proves to be advantageous, as a second, more ruthless, Martian invasion begins, using more advanced, 100 foot tall, heat ray spewing, tripod battle machines, and are now immune to Earth's bacteria. The Martians first attack the War Games, and decimate many of A.R.E.S.'s forces until they themselves are destroyed by Eric and his team. But, according to General Kurshnirov at the debrief, that was just a probing attack to judge A.R.E.S.' combat potential as the real invasion began.
Over the coming months, A.R.E.S. battles against the Martians across multiple fronts throughout most of the movie, just barely holding their ground against the Martian onslaught. As the Leviathan, flagship of the A.R.E.S. airfleet, is travelling to one of the fronts, it is ambushed by squadrons of Martian fighters. A.R.E.S.' fighters, led by Manfred von Richthofen, manage to repel the attacking Martians with moderate casualties. Richtofen later remarks to Kurshnirov that while the Martians' flyers were faster, A.R.E.S.' fighters were more manoeuvrable.
- Peter Wingfield as Captain Eric Wells
- Adrian Paul as Corporal Patrick O'Brien
- Elizabeth Gracen as Lieutenant Jennifer Carter
- Tony Eusoff as Lieutenant Raja Iskandar Shah
- Beau Billingslea as Sergeant Abraham Douglas
- Adam Baldwin as Wilson
- Mark Sheppard as Sean O'Brien
- Jim Byrnes as Theodore Roosevelt
- Rob Middleton as General Kushnirov
Retro Rocket Press, an imprint of digital publisher KHP Publishers, Inc., published an official novelization by science fiction author Adam J. Whitlatch on October 28, 2014. The novelization includes deleted scenes and all-new material, adding backstories for the main cast not included in the film.