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Children of Men
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Children of Men More at IMDbPro »

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39 out of 69 people found the following review useful:

completely missed the point

1/10
Author: amoralegria0602 from United States
28 January 2007

I really don't understand the hype about this film. It was terrible - gratuitously violent and confusing - from beginning to end. I went to see it with misgivings (and got two friends to go along - they hated it as much as I did!) because I loved the book even though a review in the Chicago Tribune led me to believe some major changes were made to the story line. No kidding! The movie missed the book's point and philosophy completely. They made up half the characters and those that were actually in the book were completely different in the movie, and not changed for the better! Luke was barely recognizable (I only knew it was him because of his name), Rolf was nonexistent, and they created new characters (such as Kee - ridiculous character, racist premise) for no good reason that I could fathom.

The plot bore little resemblance to the book. I would be interested to know why those who made this movie felt compelled to make these changes - the story P.D. James wrote was excellent the way it was - and what the author herself thinks of this film. The book had religious overtones, and the violence in the book is as much the fear of violence as the violence itself. Also, the characters are well-developed and believable. Theo is a character who goes through a complete transformation as he deals with the people he meets (such as Julian, whose role in the book is central to the plot and she certainly is not a terrorist, but instead the first woman to bear a child in 25 years). He is also forced to deal with the issues he has ignored up to now. His cousin, the Warden of England, is reduced in the film to one confusing scene that doesn't add anything to our understanding of the story. The only character I sort of liked and who was even remotely (I do mean remotely!)like the original was Michael Caine's character, Theo's friend Jasper.

And the Quietus - what was with all the advertisements? They never tell you what it really is. In the book it is a crucial incident which leads Theo to join the rebels in the first place. In the movie, it's reduced to almost a footnote - "suicide in a box".

I could continue with this rant, but my real disappointment and anger is that an awful movie based on a wonderful book by a great author will not attract new readers. If I had seen this movie before reading the book, I would never have read the book.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Visually stunning, poorly scripted

5/10
Author: Cheese Hoven from United Kingdom
18 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a film that is somewhat difficult to rate due to being outstanding in some areas, but rather feeble in others. Unlike some, I did not have any problems following the plot but found it contrived, at best. The idea of breaking into the refugee camp in order to escape was not well enough motivated to be plausible. That the only rowing boat in England could be found there is utterly absurd, as was the ease with which they simply rowed away from this highly secured area at the end.

No doubt this break-in was to incorporate the hugely impressive battle scene that the director had in his mind. That this is one of the most compelling sequences I've seen in a film is no exaggeration. However, it also seems to be there to make a laboured political point. For a film set in the future, the immigrants appear to dress remarkably like Eastern Europeans from the 1940s and this seems to be a lazy Warsaw ghetto analogy, with immigrants as victims forced to fight back against "fascism". That this boneheaded analogy is directed against Britain, the country which stood firm against real fascism, is actually offensive given that there's no reason stated as to why such a scenario has come about.

Certain other tedious Hollywood tropes are worked in too. A Bush hating hippy (still crazy in 2027) who is a benign pot smoker (Michael Caine is very miscast); A Greenpeace-like boat of salvation; hints of government sponsored terrorism etc.

Another long sequence leading up to the birth of the child is almost as impressive, with a real sense of the lively chaos of the refugee camp. There are other stunning images too, such as the 'nativity' scene in the stables and a few visual in-jokes like the floating pig above Battersea power station.

The dialogue is excruciatingly bad and consists of copious use of the f word. The acting is generally bad too especially from the minor players. Still the action sequences are very well done. The plot has been constructed to create a maximum of set-pieces, which does lead to the video game quality which many reviewers have noted. The choice of music is very good.

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20 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Very dumb movie

1/10
Author: Marc Colten from United States
18 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Okay - I know many people seem to love this film but I was dumbfounded from start to finish. Well before the start - the entire concept as reported in ads, reviews and discussions on TV confused me.

***************** SPOILERS *************************************

1) The premise that all women everywhere (but not animals apparently) can't have babies - fine - as David Letterman said "If you buy the premise you buy the bit".

2) That this leads to fascism and terrorism - sorry makes no sense. I would expect depression and malaise but not violence. For example, if you look at the real world you would see that it's having children that causes problems. When people have children and see that they will never get homes, jobs, education or health care, you get violence. In COM who is committing the violence, people who want to get pregnant but can't? There was a scene where Theo is on a bus and young men are throwing rocks. All I could think of was "Shouldn't they be out trying to get women pregnant?". Any government would pay a million dollars for a baby, any baby.

3) Okay, so a woman is pregnant (again with the Christian allegory) who is somehow the savior of humanity. Fine, but why this leads to a chase and killings makes no sense. Who are the "they" who the woman has to be protected from? Although it was nice for the bad guys to occasionally pause to provide exposition and back story where Theo can hear it. And why is taking her out in a rowboat to find people who might not exist the answer? You're telling me that every lab in the world isn't working on this problem? Any 1st world nation from nearby France and Germany to the distant US and Canada would be glad to send anything that was needed to get her and find out the answer.

4) I get the reference to today and Homeland Security, but this is the one situation where attacking refugees would not be the answer. With no one under 20 in your country you'd be importing them, as slaves if nothing else. It's not like today where the anti-immigration people are terrified of being over-birthed out of power. They're drones, just like you, so why bother

5) The one real situation was after the birth, where all the people in the internment camp are crying and reaching out to touch the baby. Then the soldiers. Do they shoot? No, they put down their guns, some kneel and cross themselves. WHO ARE THEY RUNNING FROM? The kid has it's own army! They'd desert and march the kid anywhere, to a lab.

6) The end credits has the sounds of laughing children suggesting the problem has been solved. I hope they are not suggesting that one woman and her daughter will repopulate the Earth - not much of a breeding population to work with. So some organization (with a boat named "Tomorrow" - jeez) will solve the problem because (unlike "The Human Project") everyone else wants the human race to go extinct.

Sorry, just an absurd and stupid movie.

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30 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Overrated: Great camera-work, but simplistic plot and weak acting

6/10
Author: noahmckinnon from San Francisco
29 December 2006

It's a paper napkin idea fleshed out just enough to make a decent action movie. Though the director makes little use of his actors' talents, he puts together some fantastic action sequences. The first 10-15 minutes are filled with painful explanatory dialog, just to make sure every moron and his jumbo Diet Pepsi gets what's going on. Yes, we get it, all women have become infertile and the world is f^cked.

After the oddly abrupt ending, I walked away disappointed that this movie was the same one that so many reviewers have raved about. The rendering of our potential future dystopia is deeply disturbing, and if you're inclined to get depressed about our world going down the toilet, you might want to stay away.

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40 out of 72 people found the following review useful:

Awful and without any coherent storyline or resolution

1/10
Author: patrycja-3 from United States
10 January 2007

I am a female college student in computer science who likes distopian movies, action movies, etc. Me and other grads (mostly guys) went to see this because of good reviews. This movies was so bad that I am simply shocked that it has such good reviews. The storyline is absolutely incoherent, the causes and actions of people make no sense, there is no resolution. Even the whole idea of infertility is really not justified with anything coherent.

And after the movie, the longer you think about it, the more you realize how bad it is.

Please, do not waste your money.

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44 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

I did wait until the end to run out....

1/10
Author: Solnosky-1 from United States
7 January 2007

Nothing interesting about any of these characters. The writing was poor at best. The look and feel were very good, but none of that matters when I don't care about any of them. I also hated how everything fed to me throughout the whole film. I had to work for nothing nor did I have to wait for anything. Being walked through every reason and relationship like a little child is pretty infuriating. I heard somebody say this was our Blade Runner. And I would have to agree. It is our Blade Runner. Which means it's a far less interesting, patient and entertaining film. Oh yea, the baby was fake. That was the capper for me. Ridiculous.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Oh dear!

2/10
Author: m_pooley from Australia
15 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've read the first page on IMDb of, mostly ecstatic, reviews of this movie and I'm wondering if I watched a different movie. "Children of Men" is simply unbelievable. The book is far, far better and totally different from the movie. The idea of such a dystopian future is believable,after all the Patriot Act (such a detestable title) is already with us in the U.S., but the whole idea that "Theo" and "Kee" could survive to the final frame despite a whole Armour of ammunition being fired in their direction by almost an entire army of both soldiers and rebels is ludicrous, as is the idea that their little rowing boat could miraculously find itself at the right place at the right time despite thick fog and a complete lack of navigation aids. All you could say is that the English Channel can turn into the millpond it was portrayed as, in such weather conditions. I won't comment on the fate of Theo other than to say the scene was, for my wife and I, straight out of some local am-dram. Then there was Theo and Kee's escape from the hideout of The Fishes in a vehicle that had to be repeatedly jump-started. Totally unbelievable! There should have been far more emphasis on the despair felt by the population at the inability of mankind to reproduce than shots of London buses bearing adverts for "Quietus" suicide kits and "Jasper's" handling of and contemplation of the use of one of those kits. The book emphasizes the use of child substitutes such as the baptism of kittens and puppies but the movie focuses almost solely on shoot-'em up violence. Bruce Willis does this sort of thing much better. But who am I to judge; the senior movie critic of "The Guide" section of the Sydney Morning Herald, Doug Anderson, recently voted it his Movie of the Week when it was shown on a local TV channel last week. And David Stratton & Margaret Pomeranz, two of Australia's most respected movie critics both gave it 4 out of 5 stars. My wife and I must have missed something but for us it was a waste of our DVD-rental money. The only movie that I can think of that is more ludicrous is "Face/Off", the John Travolta/Nicholas Cage movie. I turned that off after 10 minutes so stupid did I think it was.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Premise was cool...average plot line slows to a crawl

7/10
Author: ciscokid1970 from United States
23 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this movie after it was nominated for a Academy award.

The premise of the story is cool...somehow mankind can no longer reproduce. In other words women can no longer become pregnant. As a sub-plot there is this anti-immigrant story where country of England is shipping out all non-British people, maybe this is the reason this movie has resonated with so many people.

Somehow Clive Owen's character gets caught up in helping a pregnant girl escape to some save haven. Obviously her baby is special, but because she is a immigrant, the government is after her.

The movie does a poor job of clearing up the who's after her for what reasons. The ending is fairly meaningless. I guess it is some king of warning for "developed nations" where citizens are having fewer children while immigrants (legal and non-legal) are multiplying 3 times faster.

Wait for it to come out on Sci Fi for free or rent it for a dollar.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Too many obvious symbols and images ruin the perfect filming technique

5/10
Author: woinaroschy_1979 from France
3 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this movie expecting so so much more from it. I read and heard a lot of praise, and it was a bit of a let down...

Good things: - filming technique: brilliant, especially that legendary fight sequence in the ruins of the refugee camp. Absolutely brilliant! - Michael Caine as the old hippie. He steals the show in every scene. - the description of a possible future of this world, very realistic, bleak and filled with violence. - Theo is a modern hero, never touching a gun - Theo's cousin who is creating an Ark of all the great works of art of this world. A dying race, but with something beautiful to leave behind as a legacy to the unknown. Beautiful!

unfortunately the movie is so crammed with symbols that you have the impression the writer and director made a bet to see how many they can put in without people complaining. And some of the good stuff I evoked earlier become also negative points: - Kee is black (political correctness!), she's the modern Eve/Saint Mary, bringing to this world the first child/Saviour. - Theo is Joseph and the good Samaritan, never touching a weapon, even if he's in mortal danger.He lost hope/faith when Dylan died, and finds it again through this baby, to the point of giving his life for it. - the child is in danger (a lot like with Jesus and Herod) and is born in very poor conditions among refugees (Jesus symbol again!) - refugees camp: Nazi camps, Irak war, immigrant camps etc, you have your pick of examples of human oppression and cruelty towards your fellow men - Michael Cane as the old hippie...how many billion of times has that been done now? - the Fishes and the government act the same, terrorists and state police are alike - some type of disease/virus/catastrophe hits humanity with various effects: zombies, blindness, sterility, hunger/cannibalism. Humanity is a dying race, violence is everywhere.

All these symbols and ideas have all been done too many times in too many movies. There are just too many (obvious) messages the movie wants to deliver, from "immigrants are people" to "terrorists and governments employ the same methods". Maybe it's wrong of me to judge a film 4 years after it was made...but on the other hand, the review I deliver reflects perhaps also how a spectator DOES feel watching the movie 4 years after it was made.

It could have been so much better, but I guess for 2006 this was the hype at Hollywood.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Very Bleak Indeed

5/10
Author: (mattashton@blueyonder.co.uk) from United Kingdom
24 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If the future ever reaches a point like this movie there would be little point in getting out of bed.

It is a harrowing view of a very bleak future where there are no children. The cinematography is beautifully done and the acting is first class! However it is the very nature of the film that filled me with such foreboding, dark gloomy landscapes painted a scene of an era not seen since the concentration camps in 1940's Germany! The modern twist in 'Children of Men' is that we have the terrorist's threat which is a decidedly chilling undertone due to the fact the leaders of this group do not see themselves as such! (Do they ever?) The message to carry on even when the circumstances are against you is a common theme in many movies, and yes the theme of a golden child ushering in a brighter future or the beacon of light breaking down the cultural divides is one than can be inspiring, however, I came away from the film feeling glum due to the films unremitting bleakness and darkness of tone.

The film does leave you with a sense of hope, but only a slim chance of hope.

I'm going to watch 'Philadelphia' to cheer myself up

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