The film Children of Men has received critical acclaim since it has been released, but independent films tend to have the focus pointed more on their storylines than their filmmaking techniques. Children of Men is no different in its much talked about plot line in which a man is thrust into protecting an illegal immigrant who just happens to be the first woman to get pregnant in the last eighteen years. Set in 2027, the film depicts a cynical, nightmarish world that is made even more nightmarish by its realistic and not futuristic imagery, depicting every fear that has been brought up in present day come true. Global warming, immigration issues, genocide, and infertility are a few of the problems responsible for this hopeless world set in England. What makes this film interesting to watch is that while these problems fuel the tone of the film, the rich performances by the actors and well-choreographed action sequences gives the audience something to anticipate in such a bleak atmosphere.

There is over an hour of bonus features included on the DVD to compliment the film. The lengthiest of these is a 30 minute documentary entitled “The Possibility of Hope” which interviews several philosophers, scientists, and futurologists about the themes and symbolism within the film and how they relate to present day reality. This is not to say that these experts suggest that the world depicted in the film is the world we should expect to live in within the next two decades, but it is eerie in its telling of what the results of global warming, political fear, and fragile state of the earth will mean for the human race, emphasizing that migration mean the key for human survival. The idea of hope itself is mentioned only briefly at the end of the documentary, and it’s more hopeless than anything. Expect to do a lot of thinking during and after watching this special feature.

Also on the DVD, there is a five minute commentary with Slavoj Zizek who talks about the background elements in the film, and through a heavy accent and rambling, he praises the film for its unyielding themes and look at the future. There is also another five minute segment titled “Theo and Julian” which slightly analyzes the small love story within the film and the characterization of the two involved. Actors Clive Owen and Julianne Moore along with the director comment on the relationship between the two characters, though it doesn’t say anything that any audience member couldn’t pick up

within one or two viewings, making it the weakest segment of the special features section aside from the deleted scenes. There are three on the disk and only take up about two minutes of space. The first is a scene where Theo gives a homeless man a cigarette, then a conversation with his landlord about his overdue rent, and finally Theo’s cousin explaining how he salvaged a collection of paintings from throughout the world. I don’t think I need to say that the director made a wise move in leaving them on the cutting room floor, and it might have been even wiser to leave them off this disk.

On a positive note, there are a few features that explain some of the special effects used in the film. The first, “Under Attack,” looks at two action scenes in particular, emphasizing that the long takes that the director used without green screens. Another, “Futuristic Design,” looks at the production design of the film which was made to be uninventive and referenced to present day. One of the more interesting aspects was in the production team needing to create many different future topical newspaper articles to decorate a small interrogating room with. Also, in terms of CGI graphics, the feature “Creating The Baby” is a three minute flowing sequence that shows how the delivery of the infant in the film (I apologize for the unintended spoiler) was executed in steps using subtitles to explain the process. The three minute time span of this segment was an appropriate length to explain a complicated scene to an ignorant audience about the technicalities of the shot.

All in all, I give the special features on this DVD an B+, mainly due to the fact that there is no commentary track on it, which is a big deal in my book along with the lackluster deleted scenes. The film itself is a good buy even without the features which add clarity to how this film reflects a possible but hopefully not probable image of what life may be like in the future, showing us in a completely non-sentimental way, what we should consider important in life rather than what we do consider important.

 For more information on this film, visit www.imdb.com.

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