Saturday, 26 February 2011

It's for their own good! [Reviews: Never Let Me Go and Tangled]

From where I'm sitting, cinema is looking up for 2011: The Sci-Fi Gene is particularly looking forward to Apollo 18, Sucker Punch and The Adjustment Bureau although I'm hoping the latter isn't just another Philip K. Dick story turned into a chase movie.

Now to business: two recent films about wrapping children up in cotton wool. There's been much said about the pupils of Hailsham and the fact that they don't rebel against their organ-donor status but instead seek meaning and love within the parameters of their short lives: apparently that's why Never Let Me Go is literature rather than science fiction.

Tosh. Good science fiction is about taking extraordinary concepts and exploring their implications in a world that is otherwise recognizable. The best science fiction does so in a way that is relevant to all of us. Kazuo Ishiguro's novel is amongst the best, and as far as the film goes, if you missed the universal themes, there's an unnecessary voice-over at the end to spell it out. This doesn't spoil the film which is so beautiful and poignant (there were tears) and that should tell you how good the rest of it is. Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan act their little hearts out.

Incidentally one way in which Ishiguro's story stands out from Spares, The Island and the rest of the clone army is that the Hailsham kids are not personal clones of rich individuals but, amazingly, part of the National Donor Programme - a state sponsored, socialized medicine scheme and an alternate history version of the NHS.

Moving on. Like the children of Hailsham, Rapunzel was confined throughout her childhood by the walls of her tower and by horrific scare-stories about the world outside - and in Disney's latest film it turns out this was because she also has a part of her body - her hair - desired for it's healing qualities.

With the aid of her trusty frying pan Rapunzel escapes her captor, so Tangled is science fiction. It's also a fine film where all the strands are neatly plaited together - the beautiful art and animation, the plot, the original characters and humour, and the obligatory Alan Menken score. There's lots of slapstick and sentimentality for younger viewers, but there's also a strong rebellious theme and a (subtle) loss-of-virginity metaphor for those old enough to know what a metaphor is.


nothingprofound said...

I ordered Never Let Me Go on your recommendation. Sounds engaging.

SprigBlossoms said...

enjoyed reading more about Never Let Me Go, and also some of your other book reviews : ) will look forward to more in the future!

Sci-Fi Gene said...

NP - would love to know what you think when you've seen it.

SB - good to hear from another Inception fan, take care & see you around :)


There are some movies here that I have to check out! Thanks for this!


mobile info said...

i enjoyed this post so much.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

AC - you too, let me know what you think if you see either. Thanks for dropping by x

MI - why thank you :)