Children of Men

DVDfever.co.uk – Children of Men HD-DVD reviewDom Robinson reviews

Children of MenNo children. No future. No hope.
Distributed by
Universal Pictures UKCoverHD-DVD:

Blu-ray:
DVD:

  • Cert:
  • Running time: 109 minutes
  • Year: 2006
  • Cat no: HD DVD 8248716
  • Released: May 2007
  • Region(s): 2, PAL
  • Chapters: 20 plus extras
  • Picture: 1080p High Definition
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Plus 5.1, DTS 5.1
  • Languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch
  • Widescreen: 1.85:1
  • 16:9-Enhanced: Yes
  • Macrovision: Yes
  • Disc Format: HD30
  • Price: £varies (HD-DVD); £19.99 (Blu-ray); £4.99 (DVD)
  • Extras: Deleted Scenes, The Possibility of Hope, “Children of Men” comments by Slavoj Zizek, Men under attack,Theo & Julian, Futuristic Design, Visual Effects: Creating the baby, U-control
  • Vote and comment on this film:View Comments

    Director:

      Alfonso Cuarón

    (A Boy and his Shoe, Chilren of Men, Great Expectations (1998), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, A Little Princess, Paris, je t’aime, The Shock Doctrine, The Tourist, Y tu mamá también)

Producers:

    Marc Abraham, Eric Newman, Hilary Shor, Iain Smith and Tony Smith

Screenplay:

    Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby

(from the novel by PD James)

Music:

    John Tavener

Cast :

    Theo Faron: Clive Owen
    Julian: Julianne Moore
    Jasper: Michael Caine
    Luke: Chiwetel Ejiofor
    Miriam: Pam Ferris
    Kee: Clare-Hope Ashitey
    Syd: Peter Mullan
    Patric: Charlie Hunnam
    Janice: Philippa Urquhart
    Radio announcer: Nihal Arthanyake


CoverIt’s 2027 and no baby has been born since 2009, and that lad, at the age of 18, has just been murdered.

Children of Men paints a bleak future. Not least of all because we’re in London which, apart from showingthe signs of the future with some videoscreens up on most of the business buildings, is still a grimy shithole, and onewhere illegal immigrants get locked up at local train stations. Oh, and the cafe in which Theo (Clive Owen)has just bought a drink has been blown up. Quite a neat one-take tracking shot involved here, particularly where thewoman comes out carrying her own left arm. In fact, he’s left with a permanent ringing in his ears from the bombblast and sometimes the soundtrack reflects that.

Theo is good friends with Jasper (Michael Caine), a former newspaper cartoonist, who has acatatonic wife, Janice (Philippa Urquhart). He also comes across Julian (Julianne Moore) and her crew,The Fishes, when they capture him and take him to a secret location. The Fishes are a freedom fighter group for theillegal immigrants.

Julian needs his help, 20 years after they last met – since they were once a couple with some major difficultiesof their own which split them up and which still prey on Theo’s mind today, to take a young girl, Kee, across theborder to a community called The Human Project. She has a something special about her… she is pregnant. Give thisnews up to the authorities and they’ll be all over her, so she needs to get out of the country.

Overall, Children of Men has some great twists and turns that I never saw coming, but which I obviously can’treveal here. Julianne Moore, Michael Caine and Chiwetel Ejiofor, as Fishes member Luke, are all fine in theirroles here but for me, Clive Owen comes up trumps amongst them all. Yes, he plays it very similar to the everyday manrole he plays in so many things, but it really works for him.

If there’s one person I would replace, it’s Pam Ferris. I just can’t take her seriously as Miriam, a spiritualvoodoo follower, or something.

If I had any issues with this film, it does feel a little light on the actual story as there’s not a great deal otherthan the basics, although it is still a must-see.


CoverDirection is excellent in this film, with many one-take shots, such as one circling in a car when they’re trying totake Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) out of the country. In fact, I might even dip my toe in the Harry Potter waters andwatch the third film, which this director brought to the screen. There’s bit of a gritty picture in the bright outdoorscenes, which is disappointing, but seeing as the rest of the film is fine I can only assume this is a problem withthe original print.The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio.For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 37″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.

The sound is in DTS 5.1 and is well-used throughout to convey the atmosphere of despair facing the characters.

The extras are as follows:

  • Deleted Scenes (2:22): 3 scenes here, and I’d include the first one back in the film but they’re all worth a look.

    All clips are in letterboxed 2.35:1, as is the same with the other extras on this disc.

  • The Possibility of Hope (27:16): Clips of something (not this film) are shown in 4:3 with comment from Slavoj Zizek, philospher and cultural critic -it says here, talks about it, with his bits in letterbox 16:9. There’s similar pontificating on human behaviourfrom several others here, and it’s not very interesting.
  • “Children of Men” comments by Slavoj Zizek (5:44): It’s that man again! He says the film is “superficially, foreground, it’s a sexual adventure with a desperate ending,but you cannot say it’s really a movie about two young boys rediscovering their sexuality, the meaning of life, whatever.It’s the other way round.” Er… what the hell is he talking about? I don’t think it’s this film!
  • Men under attack (7:36): Various cast and crew talk about how all those seemingly long scenes WERE done in one take, which is very impressive,and the director says was done to show it in real time. This is a great supplemental. It contains several spoilers, sodo not watch before you see the film.
  • Theo & Julian (4:40): A look at the two main characters and how they join forces in this film. Quite interesting, but I don’t want to givetoo much info away so as not to spoil the plot.
  • Futuristic Design (8:38): A look at how to create the future, one bit concentrating on a room full of newspaper pages stuck to the walls, floor andceiling, but of course they had to create headlines from 2026/2027, which itself is a fair bit of work.
  • Visual Effects: Creating the baby (3:06): A walkthrough of an incredible scene in the film. Very interesting stuff.
  • U-control: Throughout the film, when this feature is activated, you’ll see extra comments from the director via the picture-in-picturefunction; further info such as early on when newspaper headlines appear to back up the topics discussed on the newsin the opening cafe scene; and commercial in the future which are airing on

The menu mixes images from the film with a short piece of incidental music playing over and over.There are subtitles in more languages than I can count, while the 20 chapters is perfectly fine for this movie.However, the menu is incredibly slow to access. Scroll down a list of the 22 deleted scenes for example, and it takesalmost a second for each one to pass by, and pressing ‘down’ quickly doesn’t make any difference.

FILM CONTENTn
PICTURE QUALITY
SOUND QUALITY
EXTRAS


OVERALL
Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 2010.View the discussion thread.blog comments powered by Disqus= 0) {query += ‘url’ + i + ‘=’ + encodeURIComponent(links[i].href) + ‘&’;}}document.write(”);})();//]]]]>]]>

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Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.
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