H.G. WELLS’ THINGS TO COME — Strange Christmas Movies Round Two (#31 of 48)

Three years ago, the 24 days leading up to Christmas, Strangers and Aliens presented 24 Christmas movies that aren’t Christmas movies, but really kind of are, for various reasons. And now, we’re doing it again! Here’s 24 more Christmas movies that are set around Christmas or use Christmas to set tone or set up a theme . . . but weren’t made to be Christmas movies…

#31 — H.G. Wells’ Things to Come

things_to_comeWhat it’s supposed to be: H.G. Well’s rewrote his book “Shape of Things to Come” into a screenplay exploring the future history of the world, from 1940 until 2036

Why it’s a Christmas movie: The first scene SCREAMS Christmas…”Born is the king of Israel” is accompanied by chiming bells. “War is brewing” is on all the headlines of the people selling newspapers while carolers belt out “God rest ye merry gentlemen.” Toy solders are being sought after as Christmas gifts, while “wars and rumors of wars” upset the people of Everytown.

Thoughts: Questions of the horrors of war and the progress that comes from war are brought up as the world teeters on the brink of another world war. “Peace on earth, good will towards men” and “a happy new year” give way to brutal was. The world war comes, and it’s devastating, plunging the world into aa new dark age. There are some glimmers of hope, but the movie is not an overly optimistic one.

This movie is one of those “sci-fi homework” movies. H.G. Wells wrote the screenplay, making it something special in and of itself. Wells was a very forward thinking sci-fi writer, predicting a number of things very, very well. While this doesn’t predict “future history” completely accurately, Wells does a very good job of extrapolating the future based not just on science and discovery, but human nature as well. The special effects are wonderful for its time, another reason for it to be “assigned homework”, but the acting and the characterization are serviceable. This movie is so concerned with the ideas and the passage of time that the characters just don’t have much dimension. Time passes in well crafted montages…and then and in long, scrolling text.

Is It Naughty or Nice? Ultimately, this movie isn’t very long but feels it. I have a hard time watching it and remember the first time i watched it, about 20 years ago, I fell asleep more than once. It’s worth watching, and the juxtaposition of the sentiments of “peace and hope” from the Christmas sequence at the beginning of the movie and the scenes of war, destruction, and conflict are very, very effective. The ideas presented are well thought, but the presentation and pacing drag. But I just don’t care about the characters. So ultimately, since this is a binary system here, if I have to choose “naughty” or “nice,” this one is getting…

Santa Ben’s Verdict: 

Naughty

 

Your verdict? Let me know below in the comments!

Next: The Mothman Prophecies

Previous: Tales from the Crypt

You can follow this series of posts by clicking here: Strange Christmas Movies

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