Saturday, January 20, 2007

Children of Men is a very well done, well recieved (90% on the tomato-meter) flick, yet . . . yet, it leaves me wanting. Much of it does not make sense -- if a nation isn't growing, it will need immigrants, not want to imprison them -- but then, SciFi dystopian stories frequently don't (see 2010).

Jeffrey Overstreet's review on Christianity Today was also very positive and noted the strongly Christian overtones ("Echoes of the gospel—both subtle and obvious—occur at every turn, reminding us that God gave us hope by providing a vulnerable, miraculous child to a dark, dying, violent world"). Yet, he also points out what's wrong with the movie:
Cuarón's movie draws us into a world that bears a striking resemblance to our own. Where Spielberg would have become preoccupied with imaginative gadgetry, as he did in Minority Report, Cuarón prefers to keep our focus on the story and its relevance. (Cuarón recently told me in an interview, "I wasn't interested in the future. I was interested in right now.")

Victor Morton has this review which point out the problems with the movie. Here's a sample:

There's no doubt that this adaptation of P.D. James' Christian dystopia is thrilling in pieces ... particularly, the single-take escape as the camera goes into, out of, through and around a fleeing car. But by the time we got to the bravura closing scene (already dubbed "Fireman, Save My Child" by some wag), I was in such intellectual rebellion that I had long ago emotionally checked out of the film.

What caused this intellectual rebellion is that Cuaron made the material incoherent by completely secularizing P.D. James's themes and characters, and decoupling them from what concerned her. He soft-pedals her judgment of the contemporary culture of death in order to make a politically-correct presentist smirkfest against Bush, Guantanamo, immigration, fascist jackboots, etcetera, etcetera, et-bloody-cetera. P.D. James as rewritten by LULAC. . . .
(for me the last bit about LULAC is way too far, but I still recommend the review). I confess that I have not read P.D. James, but after having read some of the commentary on the movie, I am looking forward to doing so.

Still, Morton is right -- Cuarón has a lot of talent and he wasted it by making a movie for the Michael Moore crowd, instead of a timeless classic.

I give this movie a C.

[hat tip on the Morton review to the Chatman]

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