Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Blog padding: A few exciting, link-filled, quick thoughts on "Children of Men"

I saw Children of Men today, and it was extremely well-made and well-acted, but I had a few problems with it that kept me from being completely moved by it. Briefly, the premise is that all the women in the world have become sterile, and humankind is dying off. As a result, the world is in chaos. Without hope, most people are giving up, and turning to anarchy. In England, where the story takes place, foreigners are being rounded up and sent to camps. This is problem one: Why are the foreigners being rounded up? Wouldn't countries WANT immigrants in such circumstances, to boost their populations? (For that matter, don't European countries now RELY on immigration to keep their populations from declining?) Problem two: Clive Owen's character is a smoker, which seems to be a fairly widely accepted practice. Wouldn't smoking be very much against the law, in addition to fried foods, gas guzzling SUVs, and anything else that the government thought might lead to a shortened life span? Which leads right into problem three, the big one: Suicide is accepted, even promoted on television commercials for the ethical suicide product "Quietude" (or something like that). I would think suicide would be driven underground. Something else left unexplained is cloning. The movie takes place far in the future, I assume there would have been some serious research into cloning, and new techniques developed that would lead to human cloning. If nothing else, there could have been a line somewhere about how "It's too bad that cloning never worked out, huh?" Maybe there was such a line, and I missed it. There could be an interesting story in that; I bet a lot-- but certainly not all-- of the "moral" opposition to cloning and, say, stem cell research would drop away if all the women in the world were sterile.

I have no doubt that if such a scenario existed, and mankind were not only dying off but dying off slowly, even as it watched helplessly, that the level of despair would be so high that many people would become crazed and turn to anarchy. But, and maybe I'm being naive here, I think there would be an equally large, perhaps larger, number of people who try to find a way around this (through cloning research) or life extension techniques (I bet steroids would be legalized, for their life-extending qualities).

There are always people who say the end of the world is coming, things like "If we keep using our natural resources the way we are now, we'll be out of oil by 1975," and yet here we are, the earth's population is bigger than ever before, and we've still got our wonderful oil.

All that being said, I do think Children of Men is worth seeing, the direction and cinematography are outstanding, the action scenes are intense and convincing (the immigrant areas look like a real war zone), and all the actors are well-cast and perform very well.

I would like to now congratulate myself on creating the most link-heavy post of my short blogging career. I am awesome!

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