2016 May


This year marks the tenth anniversary of Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men. At the time the film didn’t break any box office records, but it was lauded for its eerily prescient take at what society might look like on the brink of collapse. Never flashy or over the top, it was a classy, understated achievement. Only now is its influence apparent.

Set in London in 2027, after a global flu pandemic and years of human infertility, journalist Theo Faron (played by Clive Owen in a career best role) is contacted by his ex-wife, Julian, to aid her and her group of radicals smuggle a woman named Kee to the coast. He enlists help from his government-appointed cousin Nigel (who has largely disconnected his feelings from the world), and his old friend Jasper, a retired political cartoonist caring for his paralyzed wife.

Very odd, what happens in a world without children’s voices.

It’s a essentially a chase movie in structure, as Theo and Kee run from their pursuers, stumbling into the crossfire of an almighty battle to regain control of an immigration camp on the way. It’s a desperately human struggle, with lives hung on to by a thread. Very tense stuff.

The backdrop to all this is important. We see the final moments of a society burdened by challenges it cannot cope with. Overwhelming migration, political unrest, disease pandemics, terrorism.

These all looked fairly sci-fi ten years ago, but are numbingly regular occurrences today, leaving us with entire countries lurching towards the right in response. It’s food for thought, and Children of Men doesn’t paint a very rosy picture of how we deal with such big issues.

Visually, Children of Men ushered in a new set of tools that hadn’t been deployed like this before. The now famous unbroken shot of the attack on Julian’s car was so novel, people didn’t notice how impossible it was the first time they saw it. The big battle inside (and outside) the abandoned building at the end is also a high watermark. As with the rest of the film, it’s not designed to call attention to itself, more to put you inside the scene. It does that brilliantly.

Oddly, a scene that sticks with me is one that doesn’t often get talked about; Theo escaping from the farmhouse at dawn. It’s done in such a way that you can totally put yourself in his shoes. It’s minimal. There’s no music score. Barely any sound at all. It plays out in what feels like real time. The threat is life and death, and it all comes down to whether he can walk on gravel lightly, and open a car door without noise. The shot of him rolling the car down the hill, silently, with a group chasing on foot is so real and so tense it’s almost unbearable, and the relief when he escapes is palpable.

From the first blast of chaos in the opening scene, to the ambiguous ending filled with hope and uncertainty, Children of Men is a mature attempt to look at humanity’s future. It’s freaky that it turned out to be such an accurate one in some respects, but all good sci-fi hits the bullseye, whether it be good or bad (think of HG Wells predicting mass evacuations of British cities 50 years before it happened).

It’s a bleak film, but there’s beauty here too. Beauty in the truth of sorrow, survival, grief and hope. For me, one of the best movies of the 2000s.


Here’s what I’d add to Battlefront

I think Battlefront is a great game, but everyone agrees it could use more content. More stuff is being added via paid DLC soon, but since I’m obsessed with Star Wars lore, I thought I’d say what I’d like to see added. Might as well use this knowledge for something. *shakes fist at sky*

I’ll break it down by category: Heroes, Infantry, Star Cards, Weapons and Ships.

Hero Boushh

I’d like to get a tiny bit obscure with my picks here, since the main characters that everyone expects (Bossk, Chewbacca, Yoda) are too obvious. Let’s go with Boushh, the bounty hunter (spoiler it’s Leia) that rescues Han from Jabba. No one has really explored the character outside of the comics, so you could get a little original with their abilities. Obviously thermal detonators would be involved, maybe some additional HUD stuff through that cool visor, and a powerful melee weapon using Boushh’s electrostaff.

Hero General Veers

The undefeated AT-AT Commander himself. I picked him for the cool hat, and to balance out the Imperials against all the bounty hunters they’ve got currently. He would have excellent armor, long and short range weapons and something revolving around military tactics that would be useful. I don’t know what. If I did, I’d be working at DICE.

Infantry Mon Calamari

Some new character models unlocked at Level 70 would be cool. For the Rebels, the Mon Calamari from the ROTJ deleted scenes would be perfect. They’re clearly the backbone of the Rebel fleet, and are excellent pilots and tacticians, so unlocking this infantry should give you some sort of buff when you’re playing Fighter Squadron.

Infantry TIE Fighter Pilot

How is this armor not in the game already? They not only look badass, but they’d blend in similar to a Shadow Trooper, but with more hoses and equipment and shit. Again, they would give you some sort of advantage in Fighter Squadron.

Star Card GRS-1 snare rifle

Zuckuss’ super weird-looking double-barrelled gun. This doesn’t fire bullets, it fires a paralyzing spray that immobilizes targets. Imagine if you could use it to stun enemies and then switch to another weapon and take them out. Would be frustrating for the other person, but who cares about that? It’s Star WARS, not Star PICNIC.

Star Card Force Pike

There are various force pikes in Star Wars, but I’m going with the classic Emperor’s Royal Guard ones. There is absolutely no defense for a regular player against either Luke or Vader, so this would be a way to block their lightsaber attacks. Maybe it could let you survive long enough to jetpack away. I like that idea.

Weapon DDC Defender

This is an elegant sporting blaster that Leia used on Endor. Very light, but surprisingly powerful. It blasted away a stormtrooper in one shot in Return of the Jedi. Maybe it can be exceptionally good at short range, and still accurate (but weaker) at long range.

Weapon Relby K23

Another blaster, used by the guards on Cloud City. I’m thinking this could be a good alternative to the E-11, but a little fast firing. And it’s silver, that’s got to count for something.

Ship B-Wing

I love this ship. I would geek out if I got to fly this around. It should be a tank – not so agile, but delivers huge damage.

Ship TIE Bomber

This is an obvious choice. Again, I think this would be tank-like; slower but dealing lots of damage, with bombs instead of missiles. Would be excellent for strafing runs.

That’s all I got. I’m going to check back after the next expansion and see if I get any of these right. Fingers crossed for the B-Wing.


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