Wednesday, September 15, 2010

'Children of Men' Open Thread

What did you think?


  1. I watched this last night with Russian subtitles.
    I'll wait until everyone catches up to really comment. I'll say my instincts were right, though.

    Now why are Obama and the people he surrounded himself with on my mind? How long before we see a remake of Americathon and those other movies spawned by the Carter years?

  2. I feel like I'm walking into a knock-knock joke, but I have to ask -- Why Russian subtitles?

    But No Spoilers, OK?

  3. No choice.
    And no joke. I'm not Yakov Smirnoff.
    Netflix didn't have streaming.

  4. Well, the funniest line is when Theo is getting Kee and the baby out the besieged apartment building, and an explosion knocks them to their knees. Theo asks Kee if she's alright, then asks her how the baby is, and she gives him that "You're kidding me, right?" look, and says,

    "She's annoyed."

    Ah. Good times, good times.

    I'm going to process a bit, but I'm quite keen to see what you guys have to say. I did like the billboards around town that said Avoiding Fertility Testing is a Crime. I assume the implications would be a significant element in the novel. Dammit! ;)

  5. Of course the brain trust at FISH fighting the lone remaining government on a planet that has inexplicably become sterile can't figure out that the discovery of a fertile woman is of greater importance to the government than the fact that she hails from Fiji. And the government is staging the explosions to drum up support for their over the top security measures. "We didn't do it!" cries the murderous gun wielding lying thug. And we are to believe him, because this time he is telling the truth. The government...

    Whoever is producing black bags is doing a bang-up business over there. And what's not to love with the Homeland Security signs and the border security forces hunting down and fencing off illegal immigrants (starving illegal immigrants). What drives the animus of the security guys? Love of country?

    I liked the world focus on the youngest person alive, the false celebrity of Diego and the misplaced interest in his life. The video montage of watching Baby Diego growing up was great. And I loved Michael Caine. His interactions with Clive Owen were delightful. "Pull my finger"?! Don't fall for it, Cathy!!

    And as bright and capable as Julian was, she couldn't figure out she was hanging out with a bunch of half-wit twits, who would gun her down in their effort to gain control of the baby, who they thought they could leverage to gain support for their revolution. Sounds like their plans were a little half-baked. Of course, their missing the point was the point, and I did kinda like that.

    But what the heck was it all about? Dillon is the hope of tomorrow? Eve's issuance of hope for the future? And what of the Dad? No idea which wanker it was and nobody seems to care - so it is just the women who are sterile. So Dillon being a female gives hope of future abundant fertility.

  6. "Pull my finger"?! Don't fall for it, Cathy!!

    I'll make a note of that!

  7. So Dillon being a female gives hope of future abundant fertility.

    Did the baby's gender matter, or simply Kee's ability to carry a pregnancy to term?

    It is intriguing, the idea of how civilization would unravel if no children were born. One of the immediate problems being clinical depression on a way-more-than-epidemic scale, at least until enough years had gone by that people longer grew up expecting they would have children when they tried to. And the worldwide sense of Why bother? that would linger. And the tremendous expenditure of resources trying to determine cause and remedy -- and, of course, many years of costly fertility treatments for individuals who could afford it -- and perhaps for those who could not, until enough politicians agreed that having a baby wasn't a "right" anymore. And with the political divisions over resource allocation, and at least as much over privacy versus the common good. And plenty of warfare between the haves and have-nots.

    And no babies born is 16 - 22 years from no one new entering the work force -- there goes finding a doctor you like who isn't going to retire before you die. That Last Generation is really carrying everyone else, as well as trying to figure out how to mechanically replace aging workers in at least the essential industries. (Which would, I fear, create a tremendous, although temporary, carbon footprint.) But how many potential years of R&D on agricultural innovations, or robotics for manufacturing and repair, would be spent instead on the futile medical research?

    And of course the violence and destruction that accompany any societal change, real or projected, at the hands of the frustrated and fearful , and the thugs who manage to build empires out of any pile of ashes -- literal or figurative.

    I'm sure I've leaving something out...

  8. I liked most all the performances, although I thought Julianne Moore's was artificial somehow, though I can't put my finger on what it was. I quite liked Clive Owen in the ordinary man/extraordinary circumstances role.

    Michael Caine was, of course, delightful, although his Jasper had an odd definition of Faith, going by the examples he was using. I would have said it was more Will, or Intent, that he had going up against Chance in life. He came to a "So there's no point in trying" conclusion, but when the FISH thugs showed up looking for Theo and Kee, he took very deliberate steps to protect everyone he cared about. I can't be comfortable with his euthanizing his catatonic wife, but can't imagine him risking letting them get their hands on her, either. And he could have "gone peacefully" himself, but chose instead to take his chances trying to buy Theo and Kee more time.

    I liked the Miriam character, although initially she seemed extraneous, almost a cross duenna. But one of the loveliest scenes in the movie is her talking with Theo about the early days of the crisis, commenting on how she was a "there at the end," and he gives her some comfort, even joy, reminding her that she is now a part of the beginning.

    (And I loved the woman who got Theo and Kee to the row boat. I was truly surprised when she went after Syd with the table leg!)

    Oh -- something I'm missing -- what was the deal with the bus stopping and a few seemingly random prisoners being take off before the rest continued to whatever wrecked town it was being used as a prison? internment camp? (other than a device to separate Miriam from Kee)?

    Not having read the book (yet. sigh.), I'm assuming that the plot line for the adventure story translated fairly easily to film, but that much of the whole "point" of the thing got left behind.

    We should have badgered April into playing along this time!

  9. "Fugee" = refugee.
    Carry on.

    Will be back later after I run a few errands.

  10. The bus stop upon entry to hell town was just to make sure you didn't miss the fact that the security force guys had a very callous disregard for the lives and cares of the ordinary people that made up the 'fugitives'. If the town had been named Obamaville it would have made the film for me, but I think they were going for more of Dick Cheney summer camp type of experience. Anyway, life was cheap in the future, and no one thought less of it than the government security forces.

  11. Will be back later after I run a few errands.


  12. Wow. I just read an interesting synopsis of the novel. Apparently the only things it and the movie have in common are the title, the infertility crisis, and some proper names.

    I just hope it's not really, really long. ;)

  13. ...than the fact that she hails from Fiji.

    Does the "fugee" comment make sense now?

    The movie differs substantially from P.D. James book of the same name. In the book, men have become sterile. The Fish--obviously a Christian group from the symbolic reference--isn't violent (though they are political--seeking better conditions and restored rights)and they seek to protect the baby boy from the government caretaker who's become a tyrant. The book ends with Theo killing the tyrant who has come to kill the baby and civilization has new hope for survival. There is definite sense in the book that civilization's problems stem from men acting like children of men, rather than children of God.

    The hardcore Left brought the project to the screen and attempted to tweak James' "Euro-socialist lite" narrative in their usual ham-fisted way. They brought in a Mexican communist director, Alfonso Cuarón and he turned James's "Three Fishes" into The Fish-- the film's villains, attempted to make statements about the Iraq/Afghan War, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the Palestinian cause and intifada, and the usual agitprop. Notice how that metal gate with "Homeland Security" above it resembles the gate to Dachau? Does the song "Arbeit Macht Frei" by the Libertines playing at that moment provide a subtle hint? Yet, when it is all said and done, in the Left's attempt to tar the Right--we are end up with The Left covered in tar head-to-toe.

    ...more later.

  14. You say fugee, I say fiji.

    The fugee comment made sense as fugitive, Fiji Islander and as refugee. Outsiders, all, to the walled off England. That makes no difference. The important fact is that she is pregnant. For the powers that be in merry old England in 2027, that would have been enough to warrent their interest.

    But that is neither here nor there. What the heck did we just watch?

  15. They never said "Fiji"...The wankers behind the film thought it was important to make her African because that DNA study came out when they were writing the script, the one that traced the origin of all human life to Africa. They might have given a little more thought to changing which sex was rendered sterile from the book. A single baby girl doesn't bode well for the future of civilization. Many women could be impregnated with viable sperm over the course of a lifetime--especially if an effort was made to do so. The film makers also introduced another unnecessary complication in the matter. They imply that it was not just the inability to get pregnant, but complications in bringing the baby to term and delivering it.

    We just watched another Leftist dystopian vision of the future? We can debate if there's ever another kind.

    When Miriam was trying to create some kind of diversion (for some reason I don't quite grasp because they had an arrangement with the security officer Syd) notice how she feigned some religious fervor and how the guard reacted.

    Jasper gave his wife and dog the Quietus because he knew he was going to die and there would be no one to care care of them. The book refers to Quietus too, but there it is a government sponsored suicide ritual involving swimming and drowning. Obamacare at least provides a pharmaceutical alternative.

    What did the medical establishment do when the problem occured? I don't think James or the film people gave that much thought. From the look of things, apparently they folded up the tent.

    So best movie of the decade and top-100 of all time? I don't think that but many real critics do. Me? I find more enjoyment in an episode of Eureka.

  16. Oh! I just saw something about there being a Special Holiday Episode of Eureka in the works. I love Christmas, I mean Special Holiday Episodes of things. :)

  17. Many real critics think that was the best movie of the decade and in the top-100 of all time? So the politics of the movie were right. Kind of like AL Gore's Academy Award winning performance in An Inconvenient Truth.

    Next, they 'll be saying "Hey, pull my finger. Go ahead, give it a pull."

    : )

  18. Yes, Eureka returns with a special Christmas episode--Warehouse 13, too.

    I just read that SyFy painted Caprica into a corner by letting the actors' contracts expire without renewing for a second season by the expiration date. They're coming back in October with episodes in the can, but . . .

  19. I wonder if the critics think the end of the world is a good thing or a bad thing? Probably bad that it's not very selective.

  20. Is it too late to change my pick to Iron Man?

  21. Yeah. You'll come up again after two more movies.

    Meanwhile, it's my pick, and I think it is time for something a little more upbeat. On our general theme of shows 'someone has seen before that they'd like to see again and share with the rest, perhaps something not seen before by the others', it is a story of young people trying to make it, starring a young Sandra Bullock, a charming Dermot Mulroney and a very talented River Phoenix in his first and only adult roll. I think you will all enjoy The Thing Called Love.

  22. Ooh! You can go ahead of me if you want to do Iron Man!

  23. "It was a joke, Jim."

    Well, so was my response. That's what I was going for, anyway.

    But hey, I am glad you mention it, as I am changing my choice. River and the boys will have to wait. Instead, from my profile's list of my favorite movies, a quiet story of the value of a good man, with Gerard Butler and Emily Mortimer, I hope you will all enjoy Dear Frankie

  24. OK by me! I should get it Monday-Tuesday from Netflix.

    (Boy, you guys aren't very funny tonight.)


  25. Q:Is it too late to change my pick to Iron Man?
    A:Yeah. You'll come up again after two more movies.

    Not if I use the red mattter to open a singularity and travel back to . . .

    Boy, you guys aren't very funny tonight

    Ain't that the truth? Is that your whole critique? Your reviews are usually a lot more complex and nuanced. "You stink!" is OK, too.

  26. No, no, no. "You stink" is reserved for when I couldn't tell it was a joke. ;)