Call me lame, but I just saw Children of Men. I’d say around a half-a-dozen close friends (with exceptional movie taste, mind you) have asked me if I’ve seen this one. And finally—I have. So, I know you’re all dying to hear what I thought. Well, first I’ll start with why I didn’t rush to see it in the theater in the first place.
Growing up I was a huge sci-fi movie buff. Even as an elementary-school-aged kid, I treated myself to a healthy dose of futuristic flicks like 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Road Warrior, and even Bladerunner. In more recent years, I’ve kind of started leaning away from bleak, post-apocalyptic films. I mean seriously, my favorite movie is In Good Company. (Most people think that’s a freaking chick flick, sheesh.)
I don’t know if it’s been since I’ve had kids, or maybe it’s even due to post 9/11 vibes that I’ve tried to avoid. But whatever it is when I saw the preview for Children of Men, I remember thinking, that’s a movie I probably don’t need to see. I could immediately tell it would be gritty, political, extremely graphic, and disturbing at times—all things I feel really need to be merited in order for me to appreciate them, which rarely happens.
Once the bros started reporting on how great Children of Men was—obviously I was interested on getting my own take. So when the latest free Hollywood Video coupon came in the mail last week, we checked it out. And here’s my take.
Children of Men is a smart, powerhouse epic. Here are the pros. Amazing cinematography and editing—many of you know I am a huge fan of the long take (ie: Unbreakable). There is something gripping about the extended take that pulls you in and allows you to become part of the scene. The production design is mind-blowing, almost scary. To quote the DVD extras, “everything in the scene had to have a reference, nothing was invented.” This concept brought a chilling sense of realism, unmatched by any sci-fi flick I can think of.
The final pro is Clive. Obviously I’m a massive fan of the BMW Films, and Clive was great in those. But this easily proves that he’s an actor to be reckoned with. If he keeps this crap up, there’s no reason to be bummed about getting passed on as the next 007.
Now for the few but important cons—really there are just two. The first is that even though I completely understand that this story is about Clive’s character Theo, I felt like there was little to no backstory for any other character. Not that big of a deal other than I really wanted to care when some one got blown away.
My other critique is minor as well. As far as the themes and messages of the movie are concerned, there was nothing unexpected. What I mean is this: when I first saw the preview, I guessed exactly what sort of take they’d have on humanity, politics, and hope. I was kind of waiting for the thematic twist, the payoff, something unexpected in regard to the message—which kind of never came.
Bottom line: see it and for your own opinion on this one, it’s definitely worth it. And seriously, I just need to stop watching previews altogether.