Sunday, September 8, 2013

Movie Review: "Things To Come" (1936)

Do you ever watch a movie all the way through, yet by the end of it you’re just sitting there, contemplating and asking yourself, “What the hell did I just watch?”

“Things To Come” is one of those movies for me. While the film certainly has a theme throughout and a good moral, the film is so scattershot about it’s presentation and goes all over the place with its cast and their performances.

Originally based off a novel by H.G. Wells, it follows the story a small British town called “Everytown” as a new world war breaks out. The film then chronicles the progression of that war and its ramifications from when it begins in 1940 through the next big step of human ingenuity in 2136.

This story progresses like a historical reenactment documentary of a future that never happened, similar to Mel Brooks’ “History Of The World, Part 1” if it took itself seriously and removed the comedy (Also when is Mel Brooks gonna get around to making Part 2 of that, damn it).

My problem with the film was its constant shifting of main characters every time it chose to skip ahead in time, with each new segment practically having entirely different sets of people. Only a few times do characters from a previous part carry over, but they’ve aged so much and had no time to grow on the audience that I had completely forgotten who they were.

Though one impressive aspect of the film was the special effect work, especially when it came to the set design and use of miniatures. For 1936, this is some skilled work that seems straight out of “War Of The Worlds.” I can’t think of many well done effects movies from the late 1930s, so for this kind of work to be done in this period blows my mind.

Overall, this is a hard movie to talk about. Not just because of the story and its problems, but because I’m already starting to forget events that happened in the film. Not much of the film just latched out and begged for my attention, other than the effects portions. Long speeches about progress and asking what is war good for just wash right over me, and this film has those in spades. 

Final Grade: D+

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