It's a Grim World, After All
Whew!!! I am feeling very pessimistic about the future of our planet these days. Although still down in the dumps after watching The Humanity Bureau, I chose to see Future World, which put me in an even deeper funk. Both sci-fi thrillers deliver horrible news about what will happen in the earthís future -- one dealing with the consequences of inhumanity and the other about the power of artificial intelligence. Nicolas Cage portrays a somewhat reluctant hero in one, and James Franco (who also co-directed with Bruce Thierry Cheung) chews the scenery as a ferocious villain in the other.
Arenít there any futuristic stories with a positive outlook available for filmmakers now? If not, dear screenwriters, please start writing them.
Okay, I got that off my chest. Now itís time to dive into Future World, starting with a poem.
A prince, robot and mean warlord
plus motorcycles in a horde.
Thatís "Future World" with James Franco --
a sci-fi film, so should you go?
Fans of Franco may say yes.
But others might call it a mess.
James plays the villain with gusto.
Over-the-top, you soon will know.
"Mad Max" itís not, yet tries to be.
But it lacks creativity
and quirky costumes like that film.
Instead, itís all so very grim.
Still, the future here looks oh-so bad.
Those visuals need to look sad.
Plus, we can cheer for heroes brave,
which might ensure the movieís save.
With its simple plot, Future World is at least easy to follow. A young prince (Jeffrey Wahlberg) leaves his oasis to travel through a vast wasteland -- the result of a worldwide apocalypse -- searching for a cure to save his dying motherís (Lucy Liu) life. Heís looking for a place called Paradise Beach and faces a dangerous journey indeed. There are many daunting obstacles along the way. Fortunately, he also finds help from a reconstructed android (Suki Waterhouse), who starts to think about good and evil. These two come in contact with bizarre characters like Francoís outlandish Warlord, Snoop Dogís greedy ďLove God,Ē and Milla Jovovichís mercurial Drug Lord, who perks things up considerably during her section of the film.
Of course, we want the best for the prince and his exquisite queen mother. Like a cool breeze circling a spot of scorched earth, their interactions are the only lovely moments in this otherwise ugly offering. It helps that Wahlberg and Liu both deliver appealing performances in these key roles, although Liu doesnít get enough camera time.
Finally, the action sequences seem poorly put together. Sorry to say they are less than exciting, which does not bode well for a sci-fi thriller.
If we were logical, the future would be bleak indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope, and we can work. --- Jacques Cousteau
(Released by Lionsgate and rated ďRĒ for sci-fi violence, sexual content/nudity, language and drug use.)
For more information about Future World, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.