Things to Come
The future is here!
Late 1960 and the world consists of feudal cities after decades of a global war and plague. 2035 and the world has been rebuilt with fantastic technology, but has progress gone too far and has man learned anything.
My immediate reaction to Things to Come is essentially the same as it was to Avatar - a big budget spectacle with a too-preachy message and a fairly dull story. While I did appreciate the anthological structure to Things to Come, the stories of each of the time periods (present-day war, dystopian fiefdom, and futuristic utopia) were littered with overly dramatic, overly talkie, and overly dry characters that I really couldn't care less about, let alone the sheer horror I felt imagining having these types of people running society. Without a lick of intentional humor and a surprising lack of overt optimism until the end of the last act, the film beats the horrors of war over your head while…
Epic in scope and impressive in design, but severely lacking in engaging characters. The structure is such that you never really get a chance to care about anything that is happening. You begin with a pastoral Christmas setting in "Everytown" with the rumblings of an impending war permeating the news and conversation. We spend a few minutes with some friends and family celebrating, but it is very brief and we are quickly thrust into quite an epic and visually amazing war.
From there we see a plague, then a resulting regrouping of Everytown under a half-wit oligarch, then his downfall, then we get Utopia. This all occurs by flashing forward chunks at a time and we only get a relatively…
In some respects, this is an Interesting foray into the barbed narcissism of mankind's megalomania. In others it's an exercise in production design.
The dialogue is an afterthought, and the acting is victimized by its own inability to elevate itself out of what seems like a community sponsored stage play where everyone is desperately trying to show their chops ("I AM SHOUTING!" "I AM FURTIVELY LISTENING" "I AM WEARING A CLOAK").
From an academia standpoint it's interesting, but it's also indulgent and boring as hell.
Quaint vision of the future with some hammy acting, but powerful visuals. The movie is strongest in the beginning. Predating WWII by only a few years, the movie makes some startling predictions that came to pass. But as the movie reaches further into the future, it becomes increasingly silly. I mean from the vantage point of 2013, it's funny to see that the filmmakers imagined 2036 as an underground world full of futuristic sets and man skirts. A world where we haven't even been to space yet. A world where men rail against the evils of "progress" itself. The movie deals in vast, broad strokes where characters speak only in terms of lofty subjects: peace, progress, death. Little is personal in this movie, but how can it be when it bounces from generation to generation so fast? It's a fascinating movie, but not a very affecting one.
Indeed. What it actually predicts is the modern blockbuster, in which everything is subordinate to production design and special effects—magnificent structures populated by declamatory drones. And it's cowardly, too, envisioning a century-long battle between scientific, humanistic progress and various dictators and Luddites without ever even one single time alluding to religion in any way (unless you count the fact that the opening takes place on Christmas). If there's one thing that's not gonna change for centuries, it's people pointing to some imaginary dude in the sky to justify their fear and ignorance. < /soapbox> Anyway, Menzies does what he does best, which is spectacle, but giving guys like Massey and Richardson free rein with dialogue this stilted is a recipe for md'agony.
If we don't end war, war will end us.
A flawed masterpiece directed by William Cameron Menzies from an H.G. Wells screenplay which in turn is a loose adaptation of his own novel The Shape of Things to Come. It's said that Wells had unprecedented control over the production of the film. Whether or not that was beneficial to how it was made I'm not sure.
The movie clearly has some wooden performances accompanied by a few instances of pompous diatribes but all that is overshadowed by the scope of the story and it's incredible visuals. We follow the fictitious future history of the world from the years 1940 to 2036 which includes some truly inspired visual montage…
Some of the story and dialogue is a bit corny but memorable visuals and a fun movie experience.
I first heard about this movie when it was announced for the Criterion Collection and couldn’t believe that such an oddity hadn’t been brought to my attention sooner. It’s a 1936 science fiction movie written by H.G. Welles that sets out to predict what was going to transpire over the course of the 20th century. Some of these predictions (like the world going to war in the early 40s) are fairly correct while others (like the prediction that said war would last until 1966 and leave the world in a plague-ridden dark age and that the first trip to the moon would be in 2036) were maybe a bit off. It was probably the most immaculately staged science fiction film…
This film is as good as Metropolis.
A '30s movie with an interesting plot; a sci-fi movie from before the '50s; a prediction of WWII including a dogfight scene (easily the highest moment in the entire production). This sounds like the sort of thing I would be a fan of, and I'm writing this to try to explain why I wasn't. 5/10 is not a negative review (from me), but I was sort of expecting I'd give a positive one and it didn't happen.
For one thing, the acting is sub-par. It seems like professional reviewers as a general class are inclined to give anything with decent acting from before 1950 "full marks;" if you check out the reviews cited at Rotten Tomatoes or a similar accumulator,…
Tremendously influential in the history of sci-fi, with production design literally meant to rival that of Metropolis, but eerily of-its-time and now caught on the wrong side of history: its depiction of an ill-conceived intellectual leadership and a patronizing patriarchy reveal the dark side of the socialist utopian moment sparked during the interwar years.
Unique and fascinating utopian sci-fi with tons of expressionistic angles and sets as big as skyscrapers. Starts to drag around the halfway point, but they truly don't make them like this anymore.
A bit to much speechifying and constantly stating the themes for my taste, but the future world is impeccably designed.
Ambitious and visually stunning British film let down by some preachy and heavy handed dialogue.