Sunday, January 08, 2012

2012 Week One: Prison Break, Things to Come (1936)


On TV:

As the first week of this new year kicked off, I found myself continuing to watch Prison Break for the first time.

I don't know how I missed watching this when it was first on the air, but wow - I certainly missed out on a fantastic first season. Season two was okay, but the show suffered a lot of easy plot resolutions and accelerated timelines that just would never work at all in the real world.

I'm just about to wrap up season 3, which is the "Writers Strike" season - essentially a rehash of season one's story involving the breakout of a prison. Most of the people I know gave up on the show at this point, so I'm wondering what is in store for me in season 4.


Film:

I ended the week with "Things to Come," the 1936 adaptation of a H. G. Wells novel. The story involves a fictional British city named 'Everytown', set between 1940 to 2036. In this "future" - the second world war rages on until at least 1970, when a New World Order takes over and creates an advanced but incredibly bland, white-washed society of automatons.

Most of the story takes place in three key time-periods: 1940, 1970 and 2036.

The war begins by an enemy not mentioned on screen but likely implied (especially based on when the film was made) to be Germans. The bulk of the war shows them slowly devolving, becoming less and less advanced and using a ton of chemical, and then ultimately biological, weapons. A plague ravages across the world and by the late 60s, things seem on the up-and-up.

At least, that's what I thought. See, the whole 1970 time-frame of this film was poorly executed. This tiny city-state run by the "Boss" (a small-time dictator) was obsessed with war, and finishing the fight with the "enemy" - though they had already established that the war was all but won. There's really no good implication here that he's just "fighting for the sake of fighting" but that they're still in this long, drawn-out struggle.

A man named John Cabal flies in, makes some grandiose speeches about how "Wings Over the World" won't "stand" for "independent sovereign states" while reveling in how great the "'camps' in the east" are (I'm assuming they're referring to labor camps for the "independent sovereign states" the Wings Over the World has conquered). They don't do an adequate job really explaining how they forced all these people to simply drop arms across the world, though I assume that they were all "dealt" with like the "Boss" and that those that didn't fit this NWO narrative were disposed of.

The future we find is one where Oswald Cabal (John's great-grandson) has to explain to his granddaughter what *HUMOR* was. Now THAT'S a world I want to live in. A bland world where everything is pristine, they mock living above ground, and they don't know what humor is. Oswald Cabal is as much a dictator as "The Boss" was, but since he's a proper gentlemen (and leader of the NWO) we're supposed to find him palatable.

It's a film worth catching, but I can't agree with its message on nearly any level.

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