Originally Posted by why
I'm not referring to some 'cultural code of conduct'. I'm referring to their nature -- you're not even aware of the humanity you're ascribing to them or else you wouldn't be saying things like the above.
I was differentiating it from the movie Predator. The Predator's cultural code of conduct was what prompted him to fight Arnold hand-to-hand.
I don't think you remember the book very well. Their failure due to infections had little to do with human knowledge of germ theory at the time the book was written. A major theme (common to books written during the Industrial Revolution) of the book was the contempt the Martians had for nature and how they believed they had bested it a long time ago. This turns out to be their hubris.
And again, I have no issue with the book.
And I have no idea how setting the movie in 1898 would change the way infections are transmitted or how advanced the Martians were.
It wouldn't change any of those things, it would change my perception of it. I can forgive an 1898 book, or a movie based in the time period of 1898, that doesn't realize aliens would not be susceptible to Earth germs. I cannot forgive a 2005 film of the same offense.
It's like Independence Day. It's no more plausible that an advanced alien civilization wouldn't have the alien equivalent of Mcafee on their mothership than alien invaders wouldn't have the biological equivalent. It's lazy screenwriting. It's the deus ex machina that pretends humanity has a chance in the face of an extraterrestrial invasion.