Utopia

HER

There are two things that are probably beyond contestation about Spike Jonze’s Her: It’s a critical darling (as evidenced by its many rave reviews, its presence on end-of-year lists, and its continued haul of awards season recognition), and It has an immersive, thoroughly realized vision of an unspecified near-future. It’s hard to think of a science-fiction movie in recent memory as invested as Her in what the future will look like, feel like, dress like, and what effects this will have on something as intrinsic and everyday as human relationships. But beyond these two points, there is much to be found that’s worth debating in Jonze’s film. Her diverts from science-fiction’s tradition of painting an overtly dystopic future of constant surveillance and centralized control familiar to any Philip H. Dick fan, yet as sleek, inviting, and even beautiful as the film’s immaculate surfaces and evolving technologies are, there seems to be an insidious coldness and emptiness that lies beneath the surface, a sense that something is lost between the glass walls and mobile devices that separate people in Jonze’s Los Angeles.

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. “Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.” I have no idea what a bumblepuppy is, but Neil Postman was right to point out that while Orwell (and especially his “1984″) cautioned against tyrannical thought-police shoving rats in our faces to get us to comply, Aldous Huxley was more concerned with a governmental structure that shoved pleasure and an overload of information and distraction in our faces to get us to comply. Orwell is what happens post-apocalyptically. Huxley is what happens when society prospers beyond our wildest dreams. It’s unclear why a feature film has never been made of “Brave New World.” It’s baffling actually because the material there is so rich. With the completely average trailer for Atlas Shrugged out this week, it got me thinking about the classic philosophical novel that I identify with the most, what shaped my thinking most when I was younger, and the prospect of that novel becoming a movie. Here’s how I’d want to see it done, and in the effort to make it as viable as possible, my dreamcasting is all also economically viable for any studio who would take the chance on this brand. In […]

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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
C-
published: 04.18.2014
C

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