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Thoughts on the Children of Men Movie

I recently read P.D. James’ The Children of Men and found it to be hugely entertaining and I would love to go see the upcoming movie version. But a recent SCI FI Wire article almost made me change my mind. In a discussion with the film’s director, Alfonso Cuarón, we learn he wanted to depart from the science-fiction aspects from the start. “I loved the world she created in the book, but it was not something I could see myself doing,” he said. “I used the book as a jumping-off point.”

OK, well, I understand Hollywood and the Recycled Idea and that film is a different medium than books. I know there must be some differences: characters change, events may be condensed, etc. But how can you possibly depart from a sf-nal dystopian setting in a last-generation future where children can no longer be born? My initial reaction was worry, since that was the major appeal of the book to me. It set this beautifully bleak mood that I hoped would remain in the film. Upon reflection of Cuarón’s comments, I just think we have a case of a director who is trying to make a film more marketable. Sci Fi still has somewhat of a stigma in Hollywood. If he liked the movie enough to direct it (as if Hollywood is all about art and not money), then he should embrace the science fiction. Maybe this could be a “socially-relevant SF film” as cited in the USA Today article “Science fiction gets real“. We shall see…

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

6 Comments on Thoughts on the Children of Men Movie

  1. I haven’t read the book, but I have seen the movie: I wouldn’t worry about this too much. The film does depict a very bleak and very vivid dystopian future. It’s wonderful … and I must read the book now!

  2. Consider Gattaca, though, John.

    An intelligent, excellent, unabashedly SF movie that got creamed at the box office (it only made $13 million). As Kenneth Turan mentioned in a recent MPR interview, Hollywood doesn’t want to take such risks.

    The fact that the movie seems even halfway geared to adults is “risky” enough by most Hollywood standards.

  3. The movie is probably my favourite of 2006. It’s an amazing piece of near-future SF.

  4. Thanks for the comments, folks. Consider my hopes renewed! šŸ™‚

  5. I just made it back through the driving rain from a sneak, and I would heartily recommend the movie. Some truly excellent material.

  6. This looks promising, too: LA TimesBest Films of 2006 lists by Kenneth Turan and Kevin Crust both include upcoming SF/F films Pan’s Labyrinth and Children of Men. [via Locus Online]

    Uh-oh…I think I feel a tidbit coming on…

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