Sunday, January 31, 2010

Soylent Green Is People!

Watched Logan's Run and Soylent Green today...started watching THX 1138, but that was too much dystopian society even for me.

I haven't seen any of these films before, nor have I read the books (can't believe Soylent Green was written by Harry Harrison! Wow!), but nothing in the films were new or surprising to me...I've already known their plots, how they end, the spoilers, etc. Didn't stop me from wanting to watch my wife hadn't seen 'em (well she has seen SG, but not since she was a small child) so it was fun to watch with her and hear what she thought and felt about 'em.

My thoughts on Logan's Run: this film would be a great one to remake. And apparently one has been in state of development hell for most of the the decade.

My thoughts on SG: wow.

Already knowing the "big secret" of the movie (see the title of this post) I just spent the film looking at the dystopian society pained by the filmmaker...and wow, pretty friggin' bleak. And yet so atmospheric. It was great...right down to Chuck Heston's little engineer hat and scarf. The whole thing reminded me of a story from Heavy Metal magazine (a publication that really fired my imagination as a youngster, and NOT just for the erotica). I wouldn't have minded

However, what was especially interesting was the subject matter of the story in light of two recent posts. Well, interesting to me (sorry). I would certainly look at Soylent Green as a PA type of film though in category #1 (civilization beginning to crumble and folks trying to hold on)...however, their resignation of their situation, trying to make the best of things, made me realize I was a bit off-base when I said ALL PA fiction is about looking forward to what happens next.

Perhaps, the "civilization on the edge of disaster" needs to be taken out of the PA equation, though Mad Max certainly fits the ideas I wrote about, others don't...Blade Runner, Max Headroom, even Deathrace 2000 or Escape from New York...these films (and Dick's novel that Blade Runner's based on) show societies on the brink of collapse, but the characters in the story are generally trying to do what they can to live "normally" based on their circumstances. They do their jobs...whether as a police officer (Blade Runner, Soylent Green), a reporter (Max Headroom), an athlete (Deathrace, Rollerball), or what have you. Few are trying to make the world a better place or hold SOCIETY together...they're simply trying to stay afloat the best way they know how in their fairly limited fashion.

Of course, SOMEtimes the "everyman" hero is called to a greater or higher calling (see The Running Man, for example), but for an RPG this isn't what I'm interested in...I want something episodic in nature, not a one-off story of heroism and sacrifice. Soylent Green may have been a story of "the big story" but the underlying story of the character IS one that could be episodic.

Well, assuming one can avoid the big green elephant in the room.


  1. I remember seeing Soylent Green on television and then making up a board game. Kind of cross between "Life" and "Chutes & Ladders," only there is the possibility of being turned into a cracker and eaten.

  2. Excellent post! I never saw Soylent Green in the theaters as a kid but watched it repeatedly later in life. It never ceases to fascinate me. I got to see SG along with No Blade of Grass (which is a post-apoc movie) a couple of weeks back, and watching both movies back-to-back made for a very interesting viewing experience. All that even fired me up to write up a post on my blog. I guess we share the same observations about the world of SG- it isn't post-apocalypse yet but it's at the brink of one already...

  3. @ Rusty: Um...that's awesome, man.

    @ Spiel: this stuff has been on my mind all week, man. We'll see what next week brings to mind. : )

  4. Soylent Green is an excellent example of the world not ending with a bang but with a whimper.

    I enjoy how it's such a non-gadget view of the future. It's all about people, who we are, how we live and what we are willing to do.

  5. @ JD...that's what I'm talking about!

  6. Interesting thing about the original book (Make Room! Make Room! is that its soylent has nothing to do with eating people... it's a SOY/LENTil food. And it's been a while, but I think the book's even more bleak than the movie.