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Monday, June 02, 2008:
A movie and an unforgettable series

Presenting a bleak, harrowing, and yet ultimately hopeful vision of humankind's not-too-distant future, Children of Men is a riveting cautionary tale of potential things to come. Set in the crisis-ravaged future of 2027, and based on the atypical 1993 novel by British mystery writer P.D. James, the anxiety-inducing, action-packed story is set in a dystopian England where humanity has become infertile (the last baby was born in 2009), immigration is a crime, refugees (or "fugees") are caged like animals, and the world has been torn apart by nuclear fallout, rampant terrorism, and political rebellion. In this seemingly hopeless landscape of hardscrabble survival, a jaded bureaucrat named Theo (Clive Owen) is drawn into a desperate struggle to deliver Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey), the world's only pregnant woman, to a secret group called the Human Project that hopes to discover a cure for global infertility. As they carefully navigate between the battling forces of military police and a pro-immigration insurgency, Theo, Kee, and their secretive allies endure a death-defying ordeal of urban warfare, and director Alfonso Cuaron (with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki) capture the action with you-are-there intensity. There's just enough humor to balance the film's darker content (much of it coming from Michael Caine, as Theo's aging hippie cohort), and although Children of Men glosses over many of the specifics about its sociopolitical worst-case scenario (which includes Julianne Moore in a brief but pivotal role), it's still an immensely satisfying, pulse-pounding vision of a future that represents a frightening extrapolation of early 21st-century history.
When I first saw the preview for this movie, I thought it looked hopeful and awe-inspiring. I never did get to see it in the theatre, but I added it to my Netflix and watched it over the weekend. And hey, it's got Clive Owen in it, so I figured that was a bonus. It was a dark movie, a disturbing one, bleak and real and horrible, but also one of hope.
At the beginning the movie, the youngest person born, in 2009, has died. This young man was popular for that very reason, having lived his whole life in the media spotlight, and now his death has snuffed out the hope for millions around the world. Theo has already given up hope, having lost his own child years ago. The mother of his child, Julian, comes back into his life and asks him for a favor, and at first he's very reluctant to help, but when he finds out he is to help transport a young woman who is pregnant, he lets himself be drawn into the situation.
My thoughts:
Dark. Ugly. Brutal. Hopeful. I can't say that I actually liked it, but I'm glad I watched it. It's disturbing, but I think it's a good reminder of all the things that are wrong with this planet and how badly we've taken care of it, and each other. I wish I could make a promise that it won't happen again, but that's not possible.
I have to give a shout out to Kati, who is just reading this series for the first time now, because she has me reading it (again) as well. And in other happy news, I also have "Dreams Made Flesh", and saw that "Tangled Webs" is out in hard cover. Seriously, Anne Bishop is a goddess. The Black Jewels trilogy is to me what "The Windflower" is to Kati. I read it years ago, and at the time, didn't know anyone else who had also read them. Now I see a lot of romance readers also adore this series, and I couldn't be happier. I'm seriously considering making this my raffle prize at Lori's event this year.
Kati mentions the mythology, and though it's rich and complex, it's also surprisingly easy to follow, and I think Ms. Bishop stays fairly true to the world-building she's come up with, unlike some authors who manage to find a convenient escape hatch that really short-changes their work (not naming names but I don't think it's too hard to figure it out especially when said author has a book coming out this week. Of course I live in hope that I will end up eating those words).
In these books, the tales of the Black Jewels, there are horrible things that happen, heartbreaking events, evil sometimes does triumph over good, and lovers are separated, but in the end, it all comes together and you know you've experienced an incredible journey that you wish you could continue, again and again. I am just ever so glad I discovered these books and have them within easy reach so I can go back and re-read them whenever the mood strikes me.
I may be a little scarce this week, getting ready for next weekend, so please bear with me. I'll at least try to keep up with my blog-hopping. Have a great week, everyone!

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  1. I too love the Black Jewels series. I won Tangled Webs not too long ago. I guess I should hurry up and read it really!

  2. I have just completely fallen for this series. I know that Jaenelle is going to end up one of my favorite heroines and Daemon is shooting to the top of my heroes list! I mean, talk about suffering for love.

    SIGH. I can't wait to read the third!

    Oh! And that's the cover of the omnibus, which BTW, weighs about 10,000 pounds! I'm confounded by the omnibus! I can't carry it work. So it's taking me freaking forever to read this series. ARGH!

  3. I may have to check into this series. It's that rock I live under. I've never even heard of it. Thanks so much for blogging about it :-)

    As far as Children of Men, I still haven't seen it. I've wanted to ever since it was in the theater. Just haven't gotten around to it.

  4. I have picked up Children of Men a couple of times at the library but then put it down. I want to see it but am never in the mood.
    I love the Black Jewels books too. I need to re-read them though. I have the omnibus as well. and it is hard to carry with you so I read that one at home and a MM size book to read when I am out and about.

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