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Old January 26 2011, 10:24 PM   #1
crookeddy
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Children of Men

The movie Children of Men seems to get lots of attentions as one of the best sci-fi movies of the near past. Would someone explain why? I have my reasons to explain why I don't like it as much, but I'd like to hear the positives first.
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Old January 26 2011, 10:30 PM   #2
RoJoHen
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Re: Children of Men

It's a dark and realistic view of what could happen to the world if humans suddenly lost the ability to have children. We'd lose hope. We'd isolate ourselves. It shows what could happen to the world if we knew the end was mere decades away.

It's certainly not a happy movie, or even necessarily a hopeful movie, but that's not what science fiction is. Science fiction shows us what could be, and good science fiction does it in a consistent and realistic way.
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Old January 26 2011, 10:34 PM   #3
Owain Taggart
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Re: Children of Men

Well, I didn't like it much either if it's any consolation. I liked the beginning and I did like the concept, but it just seemed like the movie lost steam by the second half and de-evolved into a standard action movie.
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Old January 26 2011, 10:38 PM   #4
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Re: Children of Men

Well-directed, with expertly established setting and tone, and marked with stand-out performances by Owen, Moore, Cain and Ejiofor. Also, it has the most believable depiction of music's future as science fiction has ever attempted.

Of course, it's really a bit goofy, in that there is no mechanism even hypothesized for the infertility of every woman on Earth. And I found the social and political anarchy--especially the Mad Max-like world that evidently existed outside Britain--to be rather implausible, and creeping toward the insulting (do real-life infertile people fantasize about nuking Munich, and only fail to carry it out based on lack of organization?). And without that anarchy outside the UK, you don't have the refugees (mass migration as a response to infertility is a bit of the opposite of what you might expect). It's very much a plot device that fails to function.

RoJoHen wrote:
It's a dark and realistic view of what could happen to the world if humans suddenly lost the ability to have children. We'd lose hope. We'd isolate ourselves. It shows what could happen to the world if we knew the end was mere decades away.
Everyone faces the end of the world. Often we face it without children to carry on our genetic line and ideas, and in any event offspring are a poor, quite literally half-assed version of immortality. The scenario in Children of Men is not so tremendously different from regular life, so I don't see how it would disrupt regular life to the extent shown. Even if you accept the fantasy of the premise in the first place.

The Children of Men scenario is completely distinct from, say, an asteroid we knew would strike us in 50 years, which would leave only handfuls of humans left alive in a geographically predictable area. That would provide a far greater impetus for worldwide breakdown, along national and class lines.

Besides, if the infertility rose to 100%, you'd have Manhattan Project-plus levels of commitment to human cloning. I would reckon it as no insuperable problem to advanced societies.
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Old January 26 2011, 10:39 PM   #5
Miss Chicken
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Re: Children of Men

I really loved Children of Men and I would place it within my Top 20 movies.

I really appreciated the amount of detail they put into the world they created. A fair bit of the backstory is told in images in the background and I think every time I look at the movie I see something I didn't see before.

I thought the plight of humanity in the movie was heart-wrenching and I could understand why society was so affected by the inability of women to have children. For once I could understand the motivations of all the people in a movie even when the motivations of the people were the exact opposite of each other. Theo's, Kee's. Miriam's, Jasper's, the Fishes' and the government's actions were all in their own way rational.
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Old January 26 2011, 10:43 PM   #6
Miss Chicken
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Re: Children of Men

Of course, it's really a bit goofy, in that there is no mechanism even hypothesized for the infertility of every woman on Earth. And I found the social and political anarchy--especially the Mad Max-like world that evidently existed outside Britain--to be rather implausible, and creeping toward the insulting (do real-life infertile people fantasize about nuking Munich, and only fail to carry it out based on lack of organization?). And without that anarchy outside the UK, you don't have the refugees (mass migration as a response to infertility is a bit of the opposite of what you might expect). It's very much a plot device that fails to function.
Do really know if the world outside was as Mad Max like as the government suggested? I think that the British people were being feed a whole lot of propaganda.

Also limiting migration made perfect sense to me. Without a younger generation being born more migration would simply have meant more old people to look after when the end came. It isn't as if the migrants could solve the problem of infertility.
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Old January 26 2011, 10:49 PM   #7
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Re: Children of Men

Miss Chicken wrote: View Post
Of course, it's really a bit goofy, in that there is no mechanism even hypothesized for the infertility of every woman on Earth. And I found the social and political anarchy--especially the Mad Max-like world that evidently existed outside Britain--to be rather implausible, and creeping toward the insulting (do real-life infertile people fantasize about nuking Munich, and only fail to carry it out based on lack of organization?). And without that anarchy outside the UK, you don't have the refugees (mass migration as a response to infertility is a bit of the opposite of what you might expect). It's very much a plot device that fails to function.
Do really know if the world outside was as Mad Max like as the government suggested? I think that the British people were being feed a whole lot of propaganda.
I dunno, but the existence of refugees suggests that something bad is happening outwith the British Isles. (Or is it just Britain? What's up with Eire? Heck, Iceland?)

I think the radiologically-inclined headlines could be independently confirmed with relatively cheap equipment, e.g. if were really "Africa devastated by nuclear fallout," it would be detectable in Britain.
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Old January 26 2011, 10:54 PM   #8
Miss Chicken
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Re: Children of Men

Baby Diego's life in Argentina doesn't seem to have been all that bad. I think that there were probably places in the world that were as good off as Britain was but the British people were only being told about the bad things that were happening outside of their own country.This helped the government to keep order - the people were being told 'no matter how bad it is here, the outside world is worse".

I have no doubt that the refugees were fleeing from areas far worse than Britain but that doesn't mean that the whole world was that bad.
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Old January 26 2011, 11:59 PM   #9
Set Harth
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Re: Children of Men

It gets a little heavy-handed in hitting the viewer over the head with the blatant Abu Ghraib reference, but apart from that I have little to criticize about it.
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Old January 27 2011, 12:34 AM   #10
crookeddy
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Re: Children of Men

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
Well-directed, with expertly established setting and tone, and marked with stand-out performances by Owen, Moore, Cain and Ejiofor. Also, it has the most believable depiction of music's future as science fiction has ever attempted.

Of course, it's really a bit goofy, in that there is no mechanism even hypothesized for the infertility of every woman on Earth. And I found the social and political anarchy--especially the Mad Max-like world that evidently existed outside Britain--to be rather implausible, and creeping toward the insulting (do real-life infertile people fantasize about nuking Munich, and only fail to carry it out based on lack of organization?). And without that anarchy outside the UK, you don't have the refugees (mass migration as a response to infertility is a bit of the opposite of what you might expect). It's very much a plot device that fails to function.

RoJoHen wrote:
It's a dark and realistic view of what could happen to the world if humans suddenly lost the ability to have children. We'd lose hope. We'd isolate ourselves. It shows what could happen to the world if we knew the end was mere decades away.
Everyone faces the end of the world. Often we face it without children to carry on our genetic line and ideas, and in any event offspring are a poor, quite literally half-assed version of immortality. The scenario in Children of Men is not so tremendously different from regular life, so I don't see how it would disrupt regular life to the extent shown. Even if you accept the fantasy of the premise in the first place.

The Children of Men scenario is completely distinct from, say, an asteroid we knew would strike us in 50 years, which would leave only handfuls of humans left alive in a geographically predictable area. That would provide a far greater impetus for worldwide breakdown, along national and class lines.

Besides, if the infertility rose to 100%, you'd have Manhattan Project-plus levels of commitment to human cloning. I would reckon it as no insuperable problem to advanced societies.
This is basically how I see it. The movie IS really well directed. The concept really is fascinating. But I just don't buy the world going to shit in the way it did. Also some of the imagery meant to make the movie seem more real didn't work for me. That Russian grandma who held the baby near the end... she was supposed to represent the old hope (communism) and her holding the baby meant the new hope. However, this imagery just doesn't exist in the modern times. The grandma seemed like a tsarist type, and those types did not happen to have statues of Lenin around.

There are other examples I can't think of offhand.
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Old January 27 2011, 12:42 AM   #11
Ensign_Redshirt
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Re: Children of Men

Great cinematography and its brilliantly long single-shot sequences. Cuaron is a gifted director.
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Old January 27 2011, 01:03 AM   #12
AliciaD496
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Re: Children of Men

Personally I really liked the movie. The detail done even for 'background' things (the newspaper headlines, the news reports, the scenery in general) was amazing. Some of the imagery was just breathtaking, especially during that last sequence. Yeah, it was goofy in places but it needed that to counterbalance the heavy of the rest of the film.

What I find amazing is how different the book and the movie ended up being, and both having a different kind of mood to them while still maintaining the same sort of premise with the worldwide sterility phenomenon. The movie was gritty, edgy, it felt dangerous to be in that world. The book was sterile in comparison, it was almost as if the population had aged quicker and faded faster, everything was just so empty. In a way I wished they had kept the Xan plot in the movie, but I see why they didn't because it would have confused things and they kind of included elements of it in different ways. What's interesting is how different Professor Theo of the book is from the Theo of the movie as well. I suppose that's another reason the book felt 'sterile' as well, we're seeing everything through an academic's viewpoint, a well to do upper class man, while the Theo of the movie seems to be more of an everyman (was he a journalist? did they ever explain what he did for work in the movie?).

While the movie wasn't perfect I think it did improve upon the source material, which is more than can be said about a lot of adaptions.
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Old January 27 2011, 01:04 AM   #13
Mistral
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Re: Children of Men

I think it worked because it treated scifi, or it's scifi concepts, as rational thoughts instead of the hokey manner that too many scifi movies reflect. 12 Monkeys worked for much the same reason. And that (Jet Li?) movie about parallel realities failed miserably because it was more parody of what scifi is than a thinking man's view of it.
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Old January 27 2011, 01:08 AM   #14
crookeddy
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Re: Children of Men

Also the movie did have a rather hopeful ending. Ambiguous, but hopeful.
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Old January 27 2011, 01:21 AM   #15
RoJoHen
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Re: Children of Men

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
Well-directed, with expertly established setting and tone, and marked with stand-out performances by Owen, Moore, Cain and Ejiofor. Also, it has the most believable depiction of music's future as science fiction has ever attempted.

Of course, it's really a bit goofy, in that there is no mechanism even hypothesized for the infertility of every woman on Earth. And I found the social and political anarchy--especially the Mad Max-like world that evidently existed outside Britain--to be rather implausible, and creeping toward the insulting (do real-life infertile people fantasize about nuking Munich, and only fail to carry it out based on lack of organization?). And without that anarchy outside the UK, you don't have the refugees (mass migration as a response to infertility is a bit of the opposite of what you might expect). It's very much a plot device that fails to function.

RoJoHen wrote:
It's a dark and realistic view of what could happen to the world if humans suddenly lost the ability to have children. We'd lose hope. We'd isolate ourselves. It shows what could happen to the world if we knew the end was mere decades away.
Everyone faces the end of the world. Often we face it without children to carry on our genetic line and ideas, and in any event offspring are a poor, quite literally half-assed version of immortality.
There's a huge difference between a family line continuing and the entire species continuing. Children are and always have been the future, and without them around, the human race as a whole would lose hope. Some people would give up and take the suicide pills. Other, more selfish people, might take advantage of the situation and try to gain power for whatever life they have left. I don't know; I can easily see the world completely going to shit the way the movie depicted. With no hope of the species surviving, we would have very little reason to worry about anyone but ourselves. It's not like we have to keep the world a wonderful place for the younger generations to grow up.
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