April 4, 2007

"Children of Men," now out on DVD

Alfonso Cuaron's movie version of Tory Baroness P.D. James' quiet sci-fi novel Children of Men about a world where no baby has been born in two decades is is just about as intellectually brain-dead as V for Vendetta (which I reviewed for American Conservative here), politically correct tripe all the way. If the human race were dying out, what would the biggest issue be? According to Cuaron it would be ... mistreatment of illegal immigrants!

It doesn't get much stupider than that, folks.

But Children of Men has a few advantages over V for Vendetta as a movie. Children of Men has Clive Owen, who has a classic movie star's face -- handsome but world-weary, Cary Grant meets Humphrey Bogart. (Why isn't he James Bond instead of that thuggish-looking guy?) V for Vendetta, in contrast, has somebody in a stupid Guy Fawkes mask.

Second, Children of Men has some distinctive visual direction with loooong tracking shots that excite people who play first-person shooter video games.

As somebody has pointed out, however, this first person gimmick undermines the first advantage -- Clive Owen's great face -- because to get a reaction shot from the star during the two 10 minutes segments without cuts, the cameraman has to laboriously swing the camera around 180 degrees to look at Clive, then back 180 degrees to the action. The one long tracking shot that knocked me out was not the two celebrated shoot-em-ups but a roughly 90 second funereal shot of Clive after his friend has been killed as he wanders aimlessly into the forest -- toward the camera so you can watch him emote the whole way. That's what you pay a movie star to do.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

I understand that the record walking scene in feature films in terms of running time, is "Niagara" with Marilyn Monroe. Let's see, do I want to watch some geezer's face or MM's rear end??? Hmm.

Let's see.Uh......I might be a nerd, but I'm not dead.

Garland said...

"loooong tracking shots that excite people who play first-person shooter video games."

Oh snap! As a partisan of oldschool side-scrollers I’m waiting for a movie where the hero is shot entirely at a right angle and moves only left and right along the horizon the entire time.

Actually, the big long shot in Children made me laugh because it had a stain, water or mud or something, on the camera lens for much of it. It sure reminded you what a badass super cool awesome genius-auteur long cut you were watching, but it also reminded you that a dude with a camera was running around in this dystopian war zone filming a glorified adventure movie.

Unknown said...

Cuaron basically ditched the science-fictional premise in favor of making his political statement. The state of affairs he displays has little to do with children not being born; it could have been brought by a number of stock catastrophes. I'm still waiting for a respectful adaptation of William Aldiss' melancholy novel Greybeard.

Now, consider 28 weeks later. Judging from the trailer, the movie could be understood as an allegory for failure in nation-building. I bet the premise and the message will be much better integrated in that movie, zombie sequel or not.

Anonymous said...

Its notable in 28 Days that all the English people are killed off and replaced by the central black & Irish characters. Except the young, compliant, English female child. Her people & culture totally destroyed she will group up amongst the new people as one of them. The War Nerd ought have spotted this one as a perfect example of traditional warfare!

Anonymous said...

"Children of Men" and "28 days later" - do these oddly similar films both have the female version of the Magic Negro archetype? The Magic Negro is a saintly close-to-nature figure, while the Militant Negress is a take-no-shit figure.