All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. 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…
It's fun to look back at the future.
Made in 1936, this movie spans a centuries time period. Starting at the cusp of another world war, the story advances a decade showing the devastation that the war has caused. Society is in ruins. Only small villages are left. Technology is stone aged at best. Then a wave of technical progress and evolution takes holds. 80 years later, the threat is that now progress with smother out what it means to be human.
The immediate visual reference for this film is Fritz Lange's METROPOLIS. But unlike that movie, this film lacks any real sense of humanity or the struggles of man.
The acting in this film is so stilted and Shakespearean…
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.
Difficult to rate this guy, as the visual effects in this are extraordinary, regardless of the time it was made. It continued to impress me till the end, and the look and feel were very original.
But good grief the script is terrible. Everything is so preachy and hammy, I was so bored with what they were saying and just waiting on the next effects sequence, that I'm still unclear on the film's message.
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…
Intriguing view of the future, with screenplay by H.G. Wells and impressive production design.
Great sets (and even greater text scrolls; if someone hasn't already created fonts based on the text scrolls in this film, someone should ASAP), but the script (for all its accidental prescience & good intentions) is dogmatic tin-eared blather, & while Menzies seems to have an admirable fondness for Dreyer & German expressionism, he has no idea how to translate that fondness into something that doesn't come off as hollow mimicry. Also, the editing's terrible (cf. all the needlessly recycled shots in the air-raid montage) (also cf. the air-raid montage as a whole). As one poor actor in this spectacle proclaims: "Stop this PROgress before it's too late!"
Not exactly accurate, but Things to Come does manage to paint a fevered dream of the tech progressives pitted against neoreactionaries that persists on the deep sidelines of political discussions today. I'll admit I have a strong love for good-faith predictions of future societies, which always end up being valuable time capsules for certain breeds of political thought. Wells', here, is fairly typical of sci-fi writers and intellectuals at the time - too trusting of academics and scientists, who would shortly develop the atomic bomb. It's at least more optimistic than the deep fear of aliens (read: Soviets) that would infect the sci-fi culture not 20 years later.
Even before Criterion put out this movie a few years ago I had known of this British sci-fi tale featuring tremendous sets and effects for the time. Finally, I saw that it was on Turner Classic Movies last night and I knew this was the time to check it out, despite the wide variety of opinions I've heard about it here. It's based on the H.G. Wells novel The Shape of Things to Come; I've heard differing opinions on just how much influence and impact Wells himself had on the film while they made it, but it can be agreed that he did not love everything about it, which is the opinion that most in general have of it.
(screened via Turner Classic Movies)
One and a half stars for the creative art direction; zero stars for the laughably simple-minded story. The dialog is so exaggerated, overwrought and artless, I literally did find myself laughing out loud from time to time. Too bad, because the film is often beautiful--or at the very least, interesting--to look at.
A “hard” sci-fi film about the collapse and rebirth of society in the future. The imagery and special effects are fantastic, but the ideas are naïve, and there’s no unifying human story that threads through the narrative and gives it dramatic interest.
I like H.G. Wells, but this pseudo science fiction tale was too preachy. After a chemical weapon in a future war decimates the planet, society evolves into a cold, authoritarian society ruled by technocrats. And according to the film, this is the best possible outcome. A few nice scenes can't hide what a bummer the film is.
A list of all films associated with the Criterion Collection, including laserdiscs, DVDs, Blu-rays, Essential Arthouse, Eclipse Series, Hulu Plus,…
UPDATED: January 28, 2016
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