Brave New World [VHS]
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In the future the feelgood drug Soma is used to control and regulate society, resulting in a world without disease, poverty or crime. This equilibrium has been achieved, however, at the cost of human spirit and individuality, and some continue to rebel against the system. Aspiring conditioning executive Bernard Marx (Peter Gallagher) discovers this to his cost when he brings John Cooper (Tim Guinee) into the perfect new civilisation from the wilds beyond, with chaotic results...
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Does it stand up on its own? This is an important question to ask about any adaptation, as it can be way off the original but still be an excellent film. I do not think that this is even an adequate film. There were so many better things that could have been done with the budget, which does not look that large mind, and the lack of 'names' in this does reflect that. It was dull, visually and in performances.
When it was over I wished that they and I hadn't bothered.
Update classics as Shakespeare and you distort the feel along with the message. It was written for a period and the more you deviate the more you lose the point let alone the ambiance. Update "Brave New World" and you threaten to do the same. However the use of today's technology and making the primitives just unruly people (shades of Login's Run) did not actually distract that much and may even have been the original intention. The movie uses well know actors that fit the characters (Peter Gallagher as Bernard Marx and Leonard Nimoy as Mustapha Mond). The scenery is and sci-fi technology is well done and believable.
With all of this there is a great letdown when the story line is not followed and the sting and impact is missing from the book as the story was changed into just a contemporary social commentary. The book by Aldous Huxley is based on the day's example of genetic engineering or a least a little alcohol to create people that were happy in their station. The character John hangs him self in exasperation. In this teleplay rewritten by Dan Mazur and David Tausik the Brave new World is just a society of sex-crazed drudges and John just trips and accidentally falls to his death. There are several other watered down differences.
Purists are bound to hate this and ask why the effort. Others may find this teleplay interesting enough as entertainment.
It is also worth noting that in the revised foreword of Brave New World (196-), Huxley himself said that if he could have rewritten the book he would most definatly include the element of brainwashing centred around subliminal messages. The film does have this idea contained in it and it works well. Whether this gives the film makers the right to tamper and change Huxley's vision is obviously debatable.
The film deals with very important issues and does it well. Compared with the book it is not the same. But no film adaption is ever the same: whether it is different from a personal view ie character image, or scripted differently, as the case here, it never is your personal vision or imagination, it is someone elses.
As a stand alone film, Brave New World is a fantastic vision of a dytopian future which echos our present more and more everyday.
Because of this is it important.
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