Things to Come
if one of the jewels of classic sci-fi. Directed by William Cameron Menzies,
who also brought us Invaders from Mars (1953), the movie tackles many then-futuristic
issues in a visionary way. Based on the novel The Shape of Thing to Come by Herbert G. Wells,
this film aged gracefully and is to the 1930's what Metropolis (1927) is
to the 1920's. Shun and ridiculed in theaters, only recently has it gained the
proper respect it deserves.
Filmed in 1936, the story takes place in then modern London through a hundred
years of events and evolution. In a powerful effort of forecasting, the story
achieves to portray the 1960's antiscientific hippie uprising, the race for space,
and the devolving aspects of global war. Quite a feat indeed!
Throughout the first half of the movie, the futility of war is depicted, challenging
the common idea that war brings progress. Indeed, after 40 years of war we are
presented with a world that devolved back to the despots-lead middle ages after
the complete destruction of civilization. Much like what would happen nowadays
after World War III, like The Postman (1997) also sketched.
I stated, many aspects of recent history were guessed right in this movie. Things to Come
foresees the Second World War, the bombardment of London by planes, the modern
emphasis on science as the developing force of the economy, the anti-science hippie
movement and the conquest of the moon on a short notice. When the movie was released,
audiences ridiculed and laughed at the idea of England being attacked by planes.
Three years later they didn't laugh anymore.
If you like the work of Herbert G. Wells like The War of the Worlds (1953)
and The Time Machine (1960), then you will be satisfied with Things to Come.
While a tad slow and with special effects that are both great and funny or enev
riducle by today's standards, Things to Come is still of great value
and of equal importance with Metropolis (1927). An inspiring and visionary
Review by René-Marc Simard.