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Children of Men (2006) Print E-mail
Monday, 01 June 2009
ImageGranted, I know "Children of Men" came first, but it is awfully similar to "Babylon A.D."  The plots are the same and so is the acting.  The only difference is the sci-fi action explosions that are in Babylon, while Children contains more realistic warfare.  Similarities aside, "Children of Men" is definitely the better of the two, but still it falls short as far as I am concerned.

The film stars some good actors, and with the exception of Michael Caine, they are all a let down.  Clive Owen and Julianne Moore are distant from their roles.  Michael Caine however is brilliant as a drugged out, 65-years-too late hippie.  Julianne Moore part is brief and unfortunate as when she leaves the film there is no one of interest on the screen to complement Caine.

"Children of Men" is the story of the future of mankind.  The year of 2027 and there has not been a childbirth or pregnancy since 2009.  The world has turned to desperation.  Britain is the only country that has remained solid, so to speak.  The film becomes confusing when dealing with residents versus immigrants.  I still don't understand it, but apparently Britain is being overrun by immigrants that feel that Britain is the only country in which to live.  It is never explained what has happened to all the other countries across the world to make them inhabitable.

Theo (Clive Owen) is a typical citizen, working for the department of energy.  After it is announced that the youngest person alive on the planet, a person of about 18 years of age, has been killed, Theo is abducted but the resistance.  The resistance is headed by Theo's ex-wife of 20 years, Julian (Julianne Moore).  She kidnaps Theo in order to recruit his help in obtaining transportation documents for a woman, Kee, who needs to get to what is known as "The Human Project," a group dedicated to finding out how to preserve the human race.

As a Julian, Theo, Kee and a couple others are driving out of the country, they are attacked by a large group of gang members, immigrants, who knows.  Julian is killed with a bullet to the neck.  Julian had instructed Kee to trust only Theo if something should happen to her.  When Luke, the next leader of the resistance after Julian is killed gets the gang to a hideout, it becomes clear that there is another agenda at hand.  Turns out that Julian was alone in her decision to bring Kee to the Human Project.  The rest of the resistance wanted the baby to be born in their control.

When Theo learns of Luke's betrayal, he smuggles Kee and her midwife from the complex.  Their plan is to ultimately get to a ship that is apparently headed for the Human Project.  As it turns out, no one has ever talked to the Human Project, so this entire operation could be based on complete fiction. The only way for them to reach the ship is to be smuggled into a prisoner camp.  Just as they get to the camp, Kee goes into labor and has no choice but to have the baby.  She tries to protect the child at all costs, but babies do cry.  On their way to the dock, the army begins their annihilation of the prison.  Luke shows up at the camp to try and reclaim the baby.  Pinned down in a building under fire from the army, Theo tries to make his way back to Kee.  As he exits the building with Kee and the baby, the crying of the baby halts all gunfire.  It is a pretty impressive moment of humanity.  It is only short lived as the gunfire continues after Theo and Kee pass the firing squad.  Of course, Theo and Kee finally make it to the ocean where they must await for a ship that may never come.

"Children of Men" is the story of humanity, and what might happen where there to be no hope left in the world for its survival.  This baby is the only hope for a future.  Of course the birth of one baby after 18 years doesn't really mean anything.  You would still need another baby in order for mating to occur down the line.  All in all the film is decent, but there are several holes and confusing storylines.  I am most disappointed by the lack of closure to several elements in the film.  The filmmakers tried to focus on the hope for the future, but since it is not strong enough, you can't help but to think of all the things left unanswered.

"Children of Men" is presented on Blu-ray with 1080p/VC-1 encode.  The transfer is taken from the same master that was used for the previous HD DVD release of the film.  The bitrate however is much higher for this lu-ray release.  Still, the image remains of about the same quality as the HD DVD.  The black levels are excellent, but shadow delineation is dependent on how good your display is.  Most HDTVs will probably lack the ability to display this film with proper shadow details.  Most of the dark sequences will appear pure black with no detail.  However, the detail is there if you have a really good display.  There is no edge enhancement or artifacting in this image.  Colors are drab all the way through as to be expected with a film such as this.  Everything is gray, yellow and blue.  Fleshtones are accurate for the genre of film, but would be considered pale in any other film genre.  Details are good, as are textures, however there are limited by the style of the film.

The audio is presented in DTS-HD 5.1, an upgrade from the HD DVD audio track.  Dialogue is clean and audible, but sometimes dips a bit too low for my comfort.  The surrounds are engaged mainly during the battle sequences of prison camp.  Bullets and ricochets are nicely panned in the rear channels.  Dynamics are diverse.  The LFE channel gets some nice attention during the prison camp sequence, but is hit or miss at other times in the film.  The music is fairly impressive in this track.  On more than one occasion the music will make you jump, which isn't the best of the things.  However, the clarity and dispersion of the music track in the soundfield makes for a nice treat.  Overall, this is solid audio track, but highly forgettable.

The bonus materials on the Blu-ray are the same as the HD DVD.  Some of the content has been repurposed into Universal's U-Control feature.  The audio commentary by Slavoj Zizek is unbearable and should be entirely skipped.  There is a collection of deleted scenes.  "Visual Effects: Creating the Baby" is a look at the computer generation of Kee's baby, which is hardly shown in the film to begin with.  "Futuristic Design" is a concept documentary with interviews by the filmmakers as to how to the film came into being.  "Theo & Julian" contains some interviews with Clive Owen and Julianne Moore.  "Under Attack" takes a look at the prison attack sequences.  "The Possibility of Hope" is a documentary on the themes and plots of "Children of Men."  There are also some trailers and other advertisements for the film.  The disc is also equipped with BD-Live.

"Children of Men" has an interesting concept, but it is not the best-developed film.  There are a lot of holes and unanswered storylines.  The video and audio quality is above average but entirely forgettable.  I recommend taking a look at this disc.

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