Movie Review I


Movie: Things to Come
Written by: HG Wells
Directed by: William Cameron Menzies
Year: 1936
Synopsis: Progress in science and technology is put on hold as war devastates the world. Post-war destruction is replete with decimated structures and the "wandering sickness" (vaguely reminiscent of the bubonic plague). Eventually totalitarian fiefdoms emerge from the annihilated culture of the pre-war era, and the aim of these fiefdoms is to improve their airplanes so they can go get "the other guy." ("Valley people" want to get the "hill people," etc.) In their midst flies a superior aeronautic device piloted by the "airplane people." Of course, they promptly put this guy in jail because he comes in "peace" and they want him to help them build superior fighting machines. The airplane people bomb the totalitarian states with "peace gas" and the progressive era begins with conveyor belts and increasingly large & complex mechanical processes. By 2036 everyone is living in a fabulously lit underground world of glass elevators, toga-meets-SoCal-beach-wear, and Disney-esque people-movers. The elites are in control. The current debate is on whether or not to shoot two teenagers in the general direction of the moon with a giant space gun. Some factions of the elite are beginning to resist "progress" and through the use of a large projection screen use a riveting speech to incite the masses. However, the two youngsters succeed in beating the crowds to the space gun and are spirited off into space.
  • The movie's a pitch for progress, but it's progress stuck in this very mechanical paradigm.
  • General flow of the eras seem a little too familiar and a bit too eurocentric: war leads to fiefdoms (read "middle ages") leads to pressive era (read "Renaissance")
  • Interesting how the concerns about "progress" in the movie mirror concerns today with "progressive" movements like genetically-engineered food and cloning.
  • There a need to decimate the entire world in order to build something -- or is it a gradual construction over long periods of time?
  • Very *white* movie.
  • The chief's woman in the totalitarian era lamented the fact that she wasn't a man, but was it any more equal in the progressive era? Didn't appear to be.
  • Audience reception to movie in 1936?