Review: Children of Men

Set in dour England circa 2027, wherein things have taken a decidedly apocalyptic, futile turn (and Britain is the last standing superpower, it seems). You see, the human race has become sterile, with women being unable to bear children in 2009 (?!). Soon, the human race will die out. Anyhoo, Somewhat passive former activist Clive Owen meets up with activist and former flame Julianne Moore (who belongs to a group of rebels including the ubiquitous Chiwetel Ejiofor) who brings him to Claire-Hope Ashitey, who is (gasp!) pregnant! Soon Owen, assigned as the woman’s protector, finds himself in the middle of a war between government soldiers and rebels, each wanting to get their hands on the young woman. Sir Michael Caine and Pam Ferris are his only help, an aging, pot-smoking hippie and a midwife, respectively. Danny Huston plays Owen’s cousin, in an inexplicable and extraneous role that was presumably mostly left in the scrap heap.

Surprisingly dull 2006 Alfonso Cuaron (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, the excellent “Gravity”) treatment of fairly interesting (if not as original as its champions make it out to be- “Aeon Flux” dealt with slightly similar material, adding cloning to the mix) material, boasting fine performances (particularly a scene-stealing Caine, but also Owen, despite his character being a bit detached and passive- intentionally perhaps) that cannot ultimately save it. After an interesting set-up in which a major character is unexpectedly killed off, the film is pretty much just a big chase, not a very interesting one at that. Clich├ęd or underdeveloped characters (notably a hokey Peter Mullan, Ejiofor and his people, and a wasted Huston who basically gets one scene) don’t help, either.

Lots of people loved this, I was expecting a more intellectually stimulating experience, instead of the low-key actioner I mostly got. The film also proves my point that moving sci-fi away from the ray guns and funny-looking Martians for a more realistic view, whilst a noble idea, just isn’t much fun, in a lot of cases. Scripted by Timothy J. Sexton (an associate of the director), David Arata, Hawk Osby, Mark Fergus, and the director (Apparently there were many revisions. Too many cooks perhaps?). It’s based (but apparently not dedicatedly so) on a novel by detective fiction writer P.D. James, of all people. Ho-hum.

Rating: C


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