Alfonso Cuarón's 2007's critically acclaimed (3 Oscar nominations) dystopian view of a childless future, Children of Men was next up in the HD DVD player. Currently clocking in at number 124 in IMDB's admittedly bizarre movie rankings, Children of Men stars Clive Owen as the reluctant hero, and Michael Caine as the retro-hippy elder who helps him out. Cuarón has crafted an interesting, bewildering and ultimately unsatisfying science fiction movie.
The movie opens with the news of "Baby Diego"'s death. Diego was the youngest person on earth who, at 18 years old, was th last one born before the woman stopped having babies. Theo (Owen), a disheveled invisible civil servant, gets a coffee and ignores the news. Soon, however, an ex-lover (Julianne Moore), leader of some nebulous terrorist group, drags him into the fray when she asks him to help an immigrant get out (or is it in?).
So he sort of volunteers to help out, then gets dragged into a real political tussle as various factions try to get the woman he is safeguarding, as she is, miracle of miracles, pregnant. He battles to get her out of a barricaded and viciously bleak England to meet a boat from the mythical(?) "Human Project". He gets help along the way from a hippie recluse played by Cain, who is something of a mentor to Theo.
What a peculiar movie. While I appreciate a movie that doesn't come right out and explain everything, Cuarón seems to go the other extreme and doesn't explain anything, even peripherally. By the end of the movie, major questions still remain unanswered, like why England is some immigration battleground, with strange shots of caged people peppering the movie. Or even who the various factions are and, really, why they want the woman so desperately, save as perhaps a publicity pawn. He probably meant for things to remain mysterious, but personally it meant I remained detached from the action.
There were some pretty cool shots though, and the HD DVD really shined. The sound was great too, as Cuarón loves to have very quiet scenes exploded (usually literally). There were a couple of touching scenes when the baby makes an appearance, but I remained distant from whatever he was trying to say, and never felt as emotionally involved as it seemed he wanted me to be. Can't say as I was overly impressed. Serendipity arises, as I just noticed the "kid" movie I have had for a couple of weeks is also done by Cuarón, A Little Princess. It will be interesting to see how that one plays out, as basically I just didn't get Children of Men.