Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Soylent green is my kind of people*

 It kind of feels like I'm the only person you know who didn't go see District 9 this weekend. That should come as no surprise though considering the rarity with which I actually go see a new movie. It should also come as no surprise that I would instead watch something that one might consider 'dated' or 'cheesy'. Something like Soylent Green. In fact, it was EXACTLY like Soylent Green because it WAS Soylent Green..

Soylent Green, of course, came out in 1973, so if I say ANYTHING that ruins the movie for you...I'm sorry, but you've had time to see it. Besides, the twist ending is probably one of the best known in sceince fiction.

Soylent Green takes place in New York in 2022. A futuristic world with cars from the 1970's littering every road, no televisions, and 40,000,000 people just in New York City. A horrifying future for sure. Food is in short supply and thus very expensive. Wilted celery is a treat for the rich and meat is all but unavailable. Most of the people eat rations created by the Soylent Corporation. Soylent Yellow and Red are "high-energy vegetable concentrates", but there's a new flavor in town, Soylent Green, which we're told is made of "high-energy plankton". It's quite popular.

Robert Thorn is a police officer. One of the minority in New York who have jobs. He is sent to investigate the murder of William R. Simonson, a wealthy man who gets his head bashed in. Thorn robs the place instead. He takes food and booze and soap and books. This is kind of just what he does. He even jokes about it with his commanding officer.

I liked Soylent Green, quite a bit actually. Which isn't to say that I didn't have a problem with the movie. It kind of meanders, or moseys on over to the big ending. It's a sort of slow moving slice of life in this dystopian future and suddenly, Soylent Green is people. It's an answer to a question that no one was really asking. There's vague mention of a conspiracy of some sort involving the govenor, and they try to get Thorn to stop investigating this murder, but for the first 90 minutes, the story gives you no reason to even wonder if Soylent Green is anything other than plankton. On the one hand, you don't see the twist coming, but on the other hand, it feels a bit sudden, a bit out of the blue.

 *Blatant Futurama reference.