Wednesday, December 26, 2007

In the end

I always find films and books concerned with the death of a society fascinating. One of my favourite histories is Runciman's description of the fall of Constantinople. I loved Children of Men as much as any film I've ever seen - although my interpretation of it might not be what the film maker intended. I think that when such stories are handled well the characters' responses can tell us things about how we respond to external social shocks. They also beg deep questions about the direction our own society is going in.

As such, the Telegraph's review of I Am Legend is dissapointing. It sounds like the film has a great start considering questions of what someone does if their society dies, how the bee copes without the hive, but then degenerates into an unspectacular zombie film. I'll still go and see it, though, and report back.

Update: The Telegraph's review is basically right. I think it makes too much of the difference between the early stages of the film and the end though. All the content, through to the end, relating to the disaster and his survival alone is good but never quite engrossing enough to be great. There isn't anywhere near the emotional power or incredible style of Children of Men but it's interesting and worth watching. The monsters are lame but they mostly function as a nameless and unseen threat so their offensiveness is limited. All in all, I'd probably be more positive about this film than the Telegraph was and it only really suffers when you compare it to the masterpiece that was Children of Men.

1 comment:

Devil's Kitchen said...

With all due respect, Children of Men may have been a reasonable film, but it was an appalling adaptation.

P D James' book is so much more interesting and subtle and a far better picture of how such a disaster would affect the world.

I read the book before I saw the film and thus, stylish though it may have been, the film was a massive, and irritating, disappointment.

However, if you are a fan of the dystopian vision -- on an Armageddon scale -- you should read anything by John Wyndham (Day of The Triffids, The Kraken Wakes, The Chrysalids, etc.) or John Christopher (The Tripods Trilogy, Wrinkle In The Skin, Death of Grass, etc.).

Those British sci-fi writers did "end of the world and this is how society reacts" novels better than anyone else.

Oh, and you should read Children Of Men...