Ben Hibburd’s review published on Letterboxd:
'Things to Come' is the loosely based cinematic adaptation of the 'H.G Wells' novel 'The Shape of Things to Come'. The film is an interesting but dated what if.. scenario about the petty and destructive nature of mankind. It's a film that looks at how we hate what we fear or simply don't understand. It also shows what we could achieve as a civilisation if we put aside our differences and focused on science to propel ourselves towards a better tomorrow. However seeing as man is at the forefront of scientific progress, will it benefit all mankind or are we doomed to repeat past failures?
'Things to Come' has lofty ambitions, and whilst it doesn't quite reach the heights it set, it remains a fascinating Sci-Fi story that's worthy of your attention. The films vision covers multiple centuries. Starting in 1940 we see the world collapse and societies revert to a feudal state, with the remaining pockets of society lead by competing warlords. That is until a progressive society of the last remaining engineers and airman reclaim the lands in the name of humanity with their mighty airforce. Which leads to an era of peace and progress all the way until 2036, when things start to come un-done again.
'William Cameron Menzies' directs the film, and whilst his style is fairly simplistic, the films pacing is excellent, and is finely balanced between each time period. The set design and cinematography also do a good job of differentiating the multiple eras in the film, and making them all feel unique.
The films biggest setback is that there's absolutely zero characterisation given to anyone in this film. By the end I couldn't remember a single character which isn't a good sign. In the films defence you could argue that it focuses on humanity as a collective whole, which is a valid enough argument. The problem is that this causes the film to become less engaging when the characters are completely dull and are given next to nothing to work with.
Over-all 'Things to Come' is required viewing for anyone that loves the Sci-Fi genre, a-lot of the films themes are still relevant in today's society. Whilst some of the films motives and social commentary occasionally feel patronising. It sets about asking important questions that makes Sci-Fi so important and special, and for that it's worth your investment.