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…
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.
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.
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…
Design >>>>>>> storytelling and character
Conceptually, “Things to Come” is a compelling future history of mankind in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, laying out H.G. Wells’ prediction for the course of civilization to come with technical mastery and visual flair. Scripted by Wells himself from his own book “The Shape of Things to Come,” the movie is more about philosophy and ideas than drama. He may have gotten many of the details of what would actually happen incorrect, but he was certainly correct about the philosophical conflicts that would pervade political, ethical, and theoretical debate today. Of course many of those conflicts were the same conflicts which had dominated human discourse for millennia by 1936, but Wells and the filmmakers successfully transport the themes of…
Things to Come covers a long story arc in a short-ish film; probably too short to accurately tell the tale of mankind's plunge into a decade's-long war, and the rebuilding and progress that follows, told over a period of a hundred years. But it's not the war or the rebuilding or the events that occur in these characters' lives that the film centers on, but the idea of what events will follow after today (as the title implies). Near the beginning, when the world is on the brink of war, it's noted that war brings progress. And after years of war and famine, the rebuilding begins. It progresses at such a break-neck speed, that some begin to wonder if slowing…
Incredibly verbose in its screenplay, to the point of exhaustion. Characters keep repeating the same ideas over and over again no matter the time period; which is the point I suppose, but then again, it does make for a monotonous viewing experience. I mean there's a stretch of one guy temper-tantruming for planes while the lone engineer exasperatedly replies that it cannot, simply, be done which, of course, is met with "I want planes!" and so on.
Much of the film is spent spinning its wheels, frankly, with its one-note ideology.
The production design and effects (even some interesting choices in terms of framing and angles), on the other hand, save it from being a complete waste. Unfortunately, all of that high-quality work is buried underneath an absolute, complete mess of a narrative.
A story of EVERYTOWN, and like the perpendicular meeting between poster and sidewalk chalk reading
A M E R R Y
C H R I S T M A S
William Cameron Menzies flits through pronouncements, characters, a whole century with the same impositions of bold type, in brash set pieces of downed planes and gas attacks, crawling tanks, plagues, resource wars between diminutive peoples, castled decadence, regime change for world society, undergrounds, the space gun, the end of another age, and crowned on that swell of inextricable destruction & endeavor is the directive for either "all the universe or nothingness," "little animals" into "outer horror."
First time viewing via "Offbeat Cinema" airing on Retro TV.
[English/ Spanish review]
Part of the "Movies and technology challenge"
It is easy to see Things to come as flawed anticipation, as primitive science-fiction, as old-fashioned movie-making. And it's true to some extent. But with all its irregularities, and in its due context, there are quite a few things in Things to come I've found fascinating: first and foremost, as a tale about the anxiety over the imminence of World War II. Written in 1933 (the year Hitler became Fürher) and released in 1936 (the year when Spanish Civil War began), all the first part of the movie, set in Christmas 1940 is all about tangible fear of war, and its consequences on human progress (one of the other key…
UPDATED: June 23, 2016
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…