Feb 26 2010

Article XVI – In Which I Father Humanity’s Last Hope

No, this is not 2001. It's 2027.

Do you ever reach that point where you feel like you’ve run out of things to say?  Like you’ve written all there is on a certain subject and you just feel like giving up?  Like…you just wanted to finish with this stupid quest you stupidly decided to embark on for no reason other than to get the ladies to like you?  I haven’t.  I’m not a loser.

This week’s column covers one of my top ten favorite films of all time: Children of Men.  As such, I may or may not overcompensate in the not-funny joke area and not actually say anything productive in this article.  And to those of you who insist I never say anything productive – I’ll have you know that my article on A.I. saved a 4 year old Brazilian child from drowning last week.  What did your article do?  Oh, that’s right; you don’t write articles hard-hitting investigative reports.

Released in 2006 taking a measly 109 minutes to enjoy, this film was directed by the same guy who did Y Tu Mama, Tambien (roughly translated: I don’t feel like looking up a translator, do it yourself, also) and was shot in the same London that A Clockwork Orange was.  That is to say – the future.  In the future, Clive Owen and Michael Caine are bffs and Julianne Moore heads up a terrorist organization.  Did I mention this movie is awesome?

The film is essentially a “We need to get from Point A to Point B cuz Point B is way awesome” film.  It starts with the shocking news that the youngest person on the planet has just been killed in a bar fight, and that that person was 18 years old.  How’s that for an opening?  AMAZING.  Clive Owen is kidnapped by a political group of anti-government fanatics and told that he needs to get the first pregnant girl in 18 years to the coast to meet up with a boat from the mythical Human Project to ensure the future of humankind.

There’s a lot to talk about for this film, so try to keep up.  Grab some eyedrops and Mountain Dew and Cheetos – I’ll wait.  Ready?  Good.

This first thing: the actual science fiction in this movie is muted.  This is one of the few movies that does not assume in 20 years or so that everyone will have jetpacks and flying cars and wear purple and silver reflective material.  The future looks a lot like today, but with a couple of new nifty little technologies here and there.  Subtle things like clear computer screens and different models of cars make you believe that this is actually taking place 20 years in the future.  Other than that, and the fact that people can’t procreate anymore, the world is a lot like ours.  It also takes a lot of recognizable London and makes it more impoverished.  Take note future filmmakers – this is what you should be doing for near future pieces.  Hold on a sec, I need to write that down for myself.

Gunga Diner? Wait, that's an elephant.

Okay – if I didn’t talk about the cinematography of this film at some point, I think most critics and God would strike me down immediately.  Obviously, the greatest thing about this film is the look.  There are maybe three or four different places where the scene lasts forever.  I’m talking about multiple minute action sequences and complex camera moves.  As far as complexity and visual information being presented to you – I’d be hard pressed to find a film that has more intricate cinematography.  If you ask the Academy, apparently Pan’s Labyrinth was better, but who wants their opinion?

…Just kidding, Academy, please let me join – I’ll vote for whatever you want.

Acting in this film is top notch, something that’s kind of sad, given that the first couple of films I saw Clive Owen in were fantastic, and now he does things like…okay on a second check through IMDB, it turns out I like him in just about all the films I’ve seen him in.  Go figure.  Michael Caine is amazing as a political cartoonist hippie.  Julianne Moore is awesome in the 15 minutes she’s in it.  Basically all the acting is great – do I really need to fill more space with this? (Editor’s Note: ANNA, WRITE SOMETHING HERE ABOUT HOW I NEED TO CUT BACK FLUFF OR SOMETHING)

Themes?  You expect me to talk about themes in an Impossible article?  Good Lord, what is happening here?  This review feels…wrong somehow.

Here goes: there is a lot of immigration, religion, and unfair treatment of prisoners in this film.  These are themes that we deal with every day in contemporary society.  At least, I do.  Maybe my readership is different.  The way the film is shot and styled is directly mirrored to documentary coverage of wars and current events.

Ugh, that’s enough of that.  Giving in depth analysis for too long kills my brain.  And your souls.  Are you all satisfied with my newfangled critical review skills?  I’m not. I feel dirty using them.

I think this is from Platoon.

Enough jibber-jabber.  I’ll tell you why this movie rocks: it’s epic as hell.  The journey that Theo makes from being a cynical cog in the machine to the guardian of humanity’s last hope is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever seen committed to film.  The subtleties of character and motivation displayed are fantastic, and the setting just adds to that amazing sense of awesomeness.  There are a lot of complex emotions going on in the film, and each gets its turn in the limelight.

The stakes of the movie are quite possibly the highest you could have: the future of humanity.  The odds are all completely stacked against Theo – there’s even a bit in there about how he isn’t able to find shoes that fit him a la Die Hard.  Both the government and the Fishes are out to get him – and he just has to get a pregnant woman to a rendezvous with the world’s last remaining scientific organization.  It’s the perfect epic story.  But what really makes it perfect is that it isn’t overdone.  It’s subtle in its portrayal of the future and its examination of humanity.

Essentially, it fits criteria number one when making a superior science-fiction film: present the film with a “what if” question and then focus on the characters in that fantastic situation.

You guys got that?  You want your sci-fi movie to get a good review from me?  Now you know what to do.  Also slip me 20 bucks.

I swear I won’t spend it on coke movies.

This poster was too cool not to include.


**clicky click clicky**

Damn fusebox.

One Response to “Article XVI – In Which I Father Humanity’s Last Hope”

  • Mitzi Says:

    Nope, I don’t deal with these themes, so I don’t know what you’re talking about. I live in the land of sunshine, rainbows, and I ride a unicorn to non-work.

    Also, I read this whole thing and I still don’t know if I’ve actually seen the movie.

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