Childhood’s End (m/s, 2015)

Childhood’s End is a 3-part miniseries about an alien invasion and consequent collaps of the humanity. Main storyline follows a man chosen by the visitors to be their agent on Earth – through his mediation all the significant problems like lack of drinking water, famine, war conflicts, crime, life-threatening medical conditions, etc. were succesfully solved, which brought the humanity into a sort of heaven on Earth. But then the aliens, who never showed themselves physically at first, turned out to look exactly like a devil looks in christian mythology (and some other cultures), and then they confessed to be working for some weird embodyment of god, who is into business of nurturing population of chosen planets in order to select species with certain qualities – every newborn children becomes a part of the batch, and at some point the ability to have children vanishes altogether. Then everybody dies.

I’m only retelling the story, because the series is shit, not worth watching at all. The concept (which, by the way, belongs to Arthur C. Clark) is actually quite good: one alien nation becomes subjugated by another, stronger one, and is forced to do certain work for their masters (because they proved to be good in doing it already), and that work is – destroying sapience species before they reach the ability to travel through space, and also – doing it quietly, without any weapons; and then this situation gets donned on Earth in its relatively current state. Pretty clever, but unfortunately, this execution, by Matthey Graham, is really, really bad. On 2 levels at the same time, and the most important ones at that, – the writing and the direction. (The acting is actually quite fine.)

The story is messy, very badly structured, with uneven time gaps, which guarantees the lack of rhythm; the dialogs are sometimes quite stupid; some techniques are manifestly manipulative, including those meant to influence viewer’s emotional state with stories about dying children or bad ecology, or whatever. A lot of the solutions are questionable, for example, why would anybody loose faith over the proof of aliens? why the hero never even for a second questions overlords’ good intentions? in hindsight it seems pretty stupid. Why does overlords look like a caricature on a devil? I suppose, the idea is that they showed themselves to people before, and this is how the image of the devil got established in our culture, blah-blah, probably for a reason; but that was surely a long time ago, and our means of safekeeping information were pretty bad most of the time, so when it comes to ancient sources we know there always can be errors and artifacts that appeared due to typos, adornings, political propaganda, etc., which means that the image of the devil we know and love today must be pretty different from the earlier accounts, i.e. the version that reached us gotta look a little bit like reality, but not quite. Besides, I’m not buying at all that a species with a body looking like that could have grown to become the dominating race. And that’s one of the miniseries problems right there: its authors do not bother with details, or even mere plausibility of their ideas, they do not think them through, ever. And this kind of superficiality is really dislike.

And don’t even get me started about religion. It’s disastrous. First of all – there is some. And second of all, it’s so unevenly distributed (most of it in episode 2), and so confused, messy, unclear – it simply looks pathetic. Every such scene has a facepalm quality in it, which was completely realized during my watching.

You know, it was hard – to sit through this talentless, feeble, flagitious spectacle. Before, when I was thinking about the amount of money wasted on something as awful as this, simply because somebody very much wanted to present to the world their own version of the “total comofort will totally ruin us, guys” idea, I sometimes got really frustrated. Now I think there are movies so good out there, their existense completely justifies and maybe even balances this little piece of injustice.

Year: 2015
Created by: Matthew Graham
Directed by: Nick Hurran
Written by: Matthew Graham
Performed by: Mike Vogel, Osy Ikhile, Daisy Betts, Yael Stone, Georgina Haig, Charles Dance, Colm Meaney, Don Hany, Darius Amarfio Jefferson, Ashley Zukerman, Hayley Magnus, Julian McMahon, Charlotte Nicdao, Tanc Sade
Time: 3 * 1h25m
Entertaining quality: 4 out of 5
Art quality: 3- out of 5
Links: (website) | (wiki)

(v. 4.9)
®shoomow, 2017

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