Just thought I’d note that there are currently two excellent movies of the science fiction and fantasy persuasion in theaters right now. The first is Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men, adapted from the P.D. James novel of the same name. This is a great non-cutesy dystopia, a telling that quickly enveloped me into its reality without obsessing over itself too much. Harrowing long takes, terrifyingly arbitrary violence, and moments of true levity just make for an amazing experience. Not for the faint of heart, though.
The same could be said of Pan’s Labyrinth, a semi-fantasy movie concerning a young girl trying to navigate between a world of fauns and fairies and the unrelenting cruelty of the Spanish Civil War, in particular her monstrous military stepfather. This one by Guilermo del Toro, another Mexican director, but with more horror than art housey chops than Cuaron. This movie is definitely in the vein of Miyazaki, as bizarre unreality weaves itself through the commonplace. Like Children of Men, this is a very violent movie, but while the violence of CoM is terrifying for its arbitrariness, Pan’s Labyrinth often seems to linger on the expectation of intentional violence. I guess that’s part of what makes the former good hard scifi and the latter good solid fantasy: Pan’s Labyrinth has evil people, while CoM just has us gone to hell.
Anyway, see them both! They are both excellent.