Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 295 - Things To Come

Things To Come (1936) directed by William Cameron Menzies

My schedule has been all screwed up lately because I've been focusing a lot on poker. My daily schedule goes something like this: Wake up. Watch a movie. Rush over to the casino and play for like 15 hours. Go home exhausted. Think of typing up the blog entry but decide to do it when I wake up. Rinse, repeat. This is why my past couple entries have been coming in late. And the days that I have managed to have extra time on hand I decide to watch basketball instead of typing. (Jeremy Lin all the way!) Like I've said all along, watching the movies haven't been the problem, writing about them is just grueling work.

Things to Come is a weird movie in that couldn't really say what it was about in just a couple sentences. It is part anti-war, post-apocalyptic and science fiction all rolled into one. It centers around the fictitious city of Everytown over a span of a hundred years. In 1940, the country (presumably Great Briton) is preparing for war with an unnamed country in an eerie parallel to the upcoming World War II. The tone of this portion of the film is decidedly anti-war rhetoric but also points out that the greatest scientific progress has come during times of war which is actually true. A lot of the greatest innovations have come from military applications. Everytown is bombed much like London was during WW2. The war spans several decades and we now see Everytown lying in ruins in a post-apocalyptic world resembling that of Mad Max where fuel is scarce. There is also the issue of the wandering sickness, a black plague type disease that has killed half the world's population. Everytown is rulled by a dictator like leader as all post-apocalyptic worlds seem to be. Then in comes the weird science fiction angle as a new civilization called Wings Over the World come rolling on through. While Everytown is a dystopia, Wings Over the World represents some type of utopia imagined by John Lennon. Fast forward to 2036 where Everytown is now a futuristic advanced society where progress is key, represented by the mission to send a man to the moon. (While they got World War II right, I guess it would have been difficult to imagine people going to the moon just thirty years later rather than the far distant year of 2036.) But is all progress good? A character in the film claims that it isn't, that the purpose of life is to live for the now rather than to forever prepare for the future. I think it's kind of a silly argument. Your now that you live in is only this way because of past preparations. And what about the whole thing about making the world better for your children and all that? The tone of the film shifts dramatically into a long winded philosophical lecture that quite honestly, I didn't care too much about nor did I find particularly engaging.

It's hard to say whether I enjoyed the film or not. I don't really recommend it on any pure cinematic level. The story was disjointed into unrelated segments so it was hard to get into it. In the end Things To Come is merely an interesting film to see for its vision of the future, but not for any type of drama or human interest.

Grade: C+

No comments:

Post a Comment