XL Popcorn – Things To Come

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 648/1007
Title: Things To Come
Director: William Cameron Menzies
Year: 1936
Country: UK

When setting out to make 2001: A Space Odyssey Stanley Kubrick was told to watch Things To Come as a source of inspiration. Kubrick did not like the film at all. I haven’t found out why Kubrick felt this way, but I think I can hazard a guess.

The overall idea of Things To Come is that it posits an alternative history based on the then contemporary word and then extrapolates from there with the whole thing being fed through the filter of H.G. Wells. Having read The Time Machine I came in fully aware of just how philosophical this would end up becoming.

You see, Things to Come is not a completely coherent film when it comes to plot. It’s full of a lot of interesting ideas about where society could head given a certain set of circumstances, but it is very much of a view that technological progression should be the be all and end all for humanity. Whilst I don’t necessarily disagree that progress should not be a goal, this film posits that it should be prioritised over happiness… and that isn’t something I can get on board with.

One thing that I loved about this film, however, was the art design. Whilst the latter sections were not as interesting in terms of plot, it was a complete feast for the eyes. The futuristic sets and the scale models used for the moon-launcher gun were utterly fantastic. Similarly, the large scale sets for the UK in 1940 felt expansive and incredibly effective.

Speaking of the 1940s section, this first part of the movie was the best by a country mile. Setting aside the fact that Wells was only a year off with his prediction of World War Two, the depiction of the blitz was incredibly visceral. I honestly don’t know how many war films I have seen where the focus was on the panic of the civilians as their world is being bombed into oblivion – but Things To Come does this in a way that felt genuinely shocking for a film from 1936 (or that might just be my sitting here ill at home).

So yes. There was an awful lot of promise in the early minutes which then gave away to a lot of philosophising with plenty of on the nose examples. Still, it’s interesting to see a film where H.G. Wells had a hand in the production.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.