Ed, we may be just arguing two related, but only indirectly, points here. If so sorry. But it's not that "the visuals are as much
a part of a movie as the story" (emphasis added). 2001
may be the most visual major released film of all time. It's what is done with the design. The dunes aren't what makes Lawrence of Arabia
special (the horrible 3 Godfathers
is just as impressive there). It's just a tool. I have a feeling a difference in visual focus may mean we have very different "best of" lists (three of my faves - The Third Man, Wings of Desire, Lawrence
- all are at least as visually interesting as BR - and still not 50% of the appeal). It's also likely why we disagree with BRs higher reputation than its early history. I referenced your comparison on design, but I think it isn't the only one to make between the films. Thus my comparison. If the review toted in the ads "It is a "Blade Runner" for the 21st century, a worthy successor to that epic of dystopian decay - Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan" can be taken for face value, to assume the reviewer must be referring to "design & styling" (though I know you initially were possibly separately) could be an indicator of how weak you may feel the rest is. I'm sorry, but to resort to the lesser lights of gun and car design (was hair styling next?) in evaluating BRs greatness and why a CoM comparison [in any matter] is "laughable" again shows we look at film very differently. Maybe Kenneth Turan does too. We may still be talking on different spheres here, but you see the possible connection, right? It's could be a "worthy successor" on some level, no?
Anyway, here's a segment of the full review. You make your own conclusions on the basis of the comparison.
|The best science fiction talks about the future to talk about the now, and "Children of Men" very much belongs in that class. Made with palpable energy, intensity and excitement, it compellingly creates a world gone mad that is uncomfortably close to the one we live in. It is a "Blade Runner" for the 21st century, a worthy successor to that epic of dystopian decay.
Like that earlier film, "Children of Men" is based on a novel (P.D. James this time, not Philip K. Dick) and deals with the question of the future of human life. It brings so much urgency to the possibility of the world ending that we feel the kind of terror we would if the scenario were taking place tomorrow instead of 20 years in the future.
Also, in Alfonso Cuarón, "Children of Men" has a strong director with a powerhouse visual sense who is at home with both action sequences and philosophical concerns. Cuarón, with such widely diverse films as "A Little Princess" and "Y Tu Mamá También" behind him, demonstrates once again that no genre is beyond his mastery
And somewhere it should be mentioned the CoM world is far more likely in the near future than BR if that's the focused time period, though you and I are discussing the comparison, not the justification of the films message. It certainly seems likely one of the reasons CoM is less stylized than BR (as if that's the goal). That shouldn't be confused with "B-film" visuals.
Finally, if BR brought dirt to the future, CoM just brought more. Another connection.