A global war begins in 1940. This war drags out over many decades until most of the people still alive (mostly those born after the war started) do not even know who started it or why. Nothing is being manufactured at all any more and society has broken down into primitive localized communities. In 1966 a great plague wipes out most of what people are left but small numbers still survive. One day a strange aircraft lands at one of these communities and its pilot tells of an organization which is rebuilding civilization and slowly moving across the world re-civilizing these groups of survivors. Great reconstruction takes place over the next few decades and society is once again great and strong. The world's population is now living in underground cities. In the year 2035, on the eve of man's first flight to the moon, a popular uprising against progress (which some people claim has caused the wars of the past) gains support and becomes violent. Written by
Kevin Steinhauer <K.Steinhauer@BoM.GOV.AU>
A number of film critics in the United States criticized H.G. Wells's screen adaptation of his book for its failure to adequately address class struggle. The complaint rang with a tone of irony for Wells, whose book had been criticized by literary critics for containing too much of the author's analysis of class struggle and his socialist-leaning political beliefs. See more »
Near the end of the film, we hear the helicopter's rotor
slowing almost to a stop while it's still descending at constant speed. See more »
There are some film classics that we have almost lost. I don't mean the might-have-beens, like Laughton's "I Claudius," but films that were released and quite successful and are now in grave need of rescue. The hallmark of such films is the terrible quality of the available prints because the master negative is lost. "My Man Godfrey" and "Nothing Sacred" come to mind. And, of course, "Things to Come".
If the abstractions of the art deco aesthetic could be reified into a story, "Things to Come" might be the result. If the Chrysler Building really were a rocket ship and could fly past the moon and stars and comets of art deco friezes...if we could look into those naive mindsets, whose visions of man's destiny were being energized by the discoveries of relativity, atomic energy and deep space...we might indeed embrace the images of "Things to Come".
Some of the scenes may strike us a corny - as might those of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" - but they are no cornier in their context than those in "2001, a Space Odyssey" or, for that matter, "Starship Troopers". Here is an honest attempt to project the world into the future, not some silly cowboys-in-space flick.
"Things to Come" makes only a couple of demands: first, that we ditch our smug sophistication and presentist prejudices; second, that we have the discipline to see past the print quality. It may take repeated viewings, as it did with me, but in the end you will be rewarded by a unique odyssey, not into our future but into the future of history.
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