All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
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.
Sometimes, when I watch an old film like Things To Come, I wonder if I'm being really patronising with my thoughts towards some aspects of it. I even felt patronising calling it an "old film" just then.
By this I mean that I looked at so many things in Things To Come with such utter amazement, always partnering this amazement with thoughts like, "Cor, how could they do that back then? Surely that was impossible! They didn't even have computers back then!" I can't help it. Maybe the makers could have regarded this as a complement to their ingenuity, though, I don't know.
Of course, they got by, on this occasion, on using what they had available and astonishing levels…
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.
"All the universe—or nothingness. . . . Which shall it be?"
Yes it has some poor characterisation and yes the acting isn't great in places. However HG Wells film "Things to Come" was not made, I do not think, with acting and character driven plot in mind. It was made with a vision of a possible future and a really strong message at its core, the sort of message we so rarely see in modern movies these days.
At its conception Things to Come was a spectacularly big budget film for its time and it certainly shows as I couldn't quite believe how damn beautiful this film looked throughout.
All I really enjoyed this and I would definitely class it as one of those science fiction films you SHOULD see despite some of its flaws.
Madness! Yet eerily accurate prophecy! (WW2 did begin at almost the same point in time.) This is H.G. Wells' response to Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis'. A *completely* different vision of the future and what's at stake in human society. I want to rip this film apart (especially the acting), but it's of such a different era...melodrama was still acceptable form, I believe. In spite of myself I was glued to it. A very different kind of entertainment. Watch it to the end to see the space gun fired (was the philosophy in this film some of the inspiration for the NASA Apollo missions?). And the use of Iraq as a location? Creepily portentous...
A schizophrenic film that simultaneously displays an innate understanding of its medium and shoehorns in a fundamental misunderstanding of how to utilize that medium to its fullest extent. It is a masterpiece of production design and montage, a spectacle of the highest order in the purely visual moments of warfare, civilizational progress, and space exploration. But its human moments are supremely lacking. Ham-fisted dialogue about the evils of war spews from stiff actors. The movie can't let these people be characters. Rather, they're mouthpieces for the message. No matter how positive peace and the expansion of humanity's understanding are, for the story to be a success, it needs these characters to serve it, show actual humanity, and experience arcs of learning. The characters in this century-spanning epic don't ever change. They are either defeated or vindicated. That's a sign of poor filmmaking, no matter how phenomenal the purely cinematic elements are.
A parable in science from H.G. Wells, Things to Come has not aged well. The stilted, stagy performances (only Ralph Richardson has any sort of life in him), fractured narrative and too-obvious symbolic scenes make it more like an essay written by a lunatic who thought the late 20th century skies would be full of sky fortresses. Wells devotees bang on about how the thing was only about a year out in predicting the start of WW2 but that's just about it.
The design and effects aren't that strong either - especially considering Metropolis predates the thing by an entire decade. The costumes especially evoke laughter - you seriously mean to tell me it's somehow a sign of advancement to fly a plane while wearing a novelty aquarium?
It's ambitious and, yes, it's about 80 years old. But that doesn't make it any good, does it?
Good: The scenery design and special effects were really good for the 1930s. How it predicted WW2 and was only off by a year. How awesome was it that it predicted LED TVs, portable TVs, and minimal home designs?
Bad: Boring storyline and equally dull characters. In fact, you won't remember any of their names. Too preachy of a message
Overall: Is it worth a look? Mayve but only for the special effects . There are no memorable characters. To me, it felt like the film's producers were more concerned in its effects than the storyline or the characters and it shows. The preachiness of this film's message reminded me of WALL-E, another film I can't stand for the same reason. Apparently this was HG Well's answer to Metropolis, a film he considered too silly and disliked greatly; however, in my personal opinion, Metropolis is far more superior than this film.
There are some great visuals, designs and ideas throughout and the structure is definitely unique for the 1930's but the film is plagued by some of the most on-the-nose unironically posturing dialogue this side of Tommy Wiseau. Most of this is due to the fact that we spend so little time with each set of characters that they are forced to only speak in exposition and speechifying; first to tell us what has happened in the past and then to tell us what that segment of the film is supposed to mean. The result is pretty messy but despite all that there are gems within the mess that give the film some redeemable value. It falls into the essentially flawed genre of "The World of Tomorrow!".
Uncannily accurate in its depictions of the future, Things to Come is also surprisingly lyrical for a Hollywood joint, even (or especially) for one all the way back from the 1930's.
Yes, the film ends a tad too preachy for its own good, but when the writing's this good, it hardly seems to matter.
And on a practical effects/design level, this really is right up there with the best of them.
I had to check twice, really, 1936. The script was even written in 1934. 5 years before WWII broke out this story predicted a new great war against a not further described nation. A hint is given when someone mentions another speech from 'him'. Then again all kinds of predictions are thrown in, zombie-like plagues, flat screens, communication wristbands and even a space program. The film only lacks a proper narrative. It's just a foretelling of the future in different time settings. A nice bridge between early sci-fi like Metropolis and the boom in the 50's. I liked the models particularly.
Quite remarkable science fiction, this. Prophetic, bold, daring, and with a clear point of view, Things to Come deserves a place among the great films of the genre. And yet, not only does it seem to have been somewhat forgotten amongst science fiction titles, it doesn't seem to get much mention when it comes to the golden era of cinema either. In plain terms, this film deserves to be much better known than it seems to be.
The film itself is remarkably well done. The special effects are fantastically realized, holding up well even now, and the conceptual design is superb. The designs of the aircraft - giant flying wings and pocket fighters - and underground cities are forward-thinking and…
tbh it feels kind of stupid
might have to watch it again but not rlly impressed
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
- Grand Illusion
- Seven Samurai
- The Lady Vanishes
- The 400 Blows
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 160/739
- Grand Illusion
- Seven Samurai
- The Lady Vanishes
- Crook's Tour
UPDATED: August 26, 2014
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…