Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Thoughts On Soylent Green

Having just watched Soylent Green for the very first time I figured I could use this as a means to get started with this blog. I have been meaning to start a blog for some time now, however could never find a suitable starting topic. I originally intended to write about my secret love affair with Vim but felt that starting a flame war over text editors would not be a good idea for a first topic...

So with nothing more ado here is my humble review of Soylent Green.

Now, almost everyone knows the twist by now, for those that do not I shall try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, however since there are numerous references littered throughout pop culture, you may have heard about this before having seen the movie. In fact that is how I first learned of Soylent Green, it's like knowing that Malcolm Crowe is dead after the opening act in the 6th sense, some of the magic is lost.

Charton Heston plays the role of Thorn, a police detective investigating the murder of a high profile individual as the events begin to unfold. The plot is simple, cop investigates murder, cop suspects something greater, cop get's caught up in conspiracy, uncovers a dark secret and tries to expose it. Do not let the deceptively simple formula deter you from watching it, Soylent Green probably helped to define the formula that so many plots employ these days.

The audio quality was fantastic considering it's age, or perhaps that's a testament to some sound engineer working for Warner Brothers converting the film to digital format, either way it was great.

Overall the special effects are impressive for the time, the opening sequence especially had something different about it, the montage of small town USA with huge open space descending into images of massive over population, global food shortages and ecological disaster juxtaposed with a cheery jazzy number left me feeling like despite all the issues the movie addresses it was simply business as usual for the human race.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy the opening, on the contrary I thought it was a rather enjoyable piece of cinema, I just am not sure if I was feeling what the director intended. I would say I enjoyed the euthanasia scene, were it not for the fact that I would be saying 'I enjoyed the euthanasia scene' there's something almost wrong with a statement like that, even if it does refer to general things such as acting, effects etc. It was a very beautiful and deeply saddening moment on screen, not at least for the fact that it was the last role the actor would play.

For all my praise of Soylent Green it does seem to run longer than it needs to, although I should give it the benefit of the doubt, my DVD player broke half way through and I had to continue watching it the next day after I had bought a new player. If I had to make one criticism though it would be the usual cliché suffering action hero (which in all honesty probably wasn't so cliché back then), by my count at the conclusion the hero had been shot three times, shin, shoulder and abdomen, I just found it just a little hard to believe that the hero might have been able to run in that state. It would, however be a very poor movie if the hero couldn't overcome his wounds and unravel the conspiracy.

In conclusion it's a landmark movie, a must see for anyone seriously into film or just wanting to get the pop culture references. I feel however that it's age and dark subject matter might alienate younger viewers or those of a nervous disposition.

Anyway who would like some crackers?

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