Things to Come - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Things to Come Reviews

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September 16, 2016
An H.G.Wells answer to metropolis.
½ July 30, 2016
good sci-fi actioner
½ June 16, 2016
What a crapfest! This was his retort to Metropolis, but is trash in comparison.
½ January 30, 2016
An exceptional and ambitious film. Certainly ahead of it time. Intriguing to see how people's perception of flight was in the 1930s.

This film predicts the future and gets it right! For that, it should be viewed within the context of the era, not in the present time as it would not hold up. This may be credited to the genius of H.G. Wells rather than the film's producers.

Raymond Massey's performance is very strongly acted as it would be for the stage rather than cinema. As a Canadian, his accent is an example of the cross of American and British you could expect in the 1930s from a Commonwealth nation.

The film ambitiously covers 100 years of humanity at war. The war is hypothetical and fictitious, beginning in 1940. However, it is a stark reminder of how such hatred between nations can fester for several generations and how technology evolves and provides advantage to those in possession.
½ January 10, 2016
When I watched I didn't know what year it was made. Perfect timing for the subject. It runs a bit too long. Good symbolism and sets. The new world in the last 30 minutes was what I was waiting for. Think I saw some Trumpism in there. I could see some loft in NYC decorated just like that even now in true black & white!
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2015
Things To Come is an interesting, historical curiosity. Viewing it is more an intellectual exercise than it is entertainment. The production is this odd mixture of the quaint, intellectual, and melodramatic and it gets to be grating at times (to the extent that one may not finish the film). Contrary to other reviewers, I did not find the film particularly prophetic but rather a projection of the views at the time it was made. I would recommend it only to those with an intellectual bent and an interest in subjects such as sociology, politics, history.
Super Reviewer
April 9, 2015
There is quite a discrepancy between the RT Critic Score and the Flixster User Score for this one. I'd read good things about this film in lists of great sci-fi pictures. The title is often printed as H.G. Wells' Things to Come, but this is not just an adaptation of his work. When watching the short lived and mediocre TV series Prophets of Science Fiction, I was pleasantly surprised to see H.G. Wells in home movie footage from the '30s. Wells lived to 1946. H.G. Wells himself wrote this screenplay. His late-19th century sci-fi vision lived into the era of motion pictures and he was able to contribute his vision of the future to this "seeing is believing" medium. Menzies, who was also an accomplished Art Director, leads the whole team in creating some fantastic sets. Unfortunately, the costumes often leave something to be desired. Story-wise Wells is astonishingly prescient in predicting WWII. The aftermath of the war with a zombie-like disease and medieval-like warring fiefdoms seems a little silly despite the extremity of nuclear fallout. Next Raymond Massey as Cabal, a descendant of a character we met earlier, shows up with an Airforce that is trying to promote science and unite all mankind. Then we jump further in the future, where there are some fun visual effects with an advanced society rebuilt on Cabal's principles. I appreciated the plot of scientific advancement vs. reactionary doubts, progress vs. status quo, however, the execution of the ideas in action is a bit too didactic. The words coming out of the mouths of the characters are stiff and not so engaging.
November 6, 2014
an interesting adapation of hg wells story with a decent effects for its time
April 18, 2014
What is the price of progress? When will humanity be satisfied with what it has accomplished? If visually seeing and hearing these questions being asked is worth 97 minutes of your time, watch Things To Come. Be forewarned however. You will not be entertained but you will witness what spectacular special effects were like in 1936. There has been great progress indeed...

½ April 16, 2014
Reputedly H. G. Wells himself started out as the director before William Cameron Menzies had to step in. Menzies had been a famous art director (for example, on the silent Fairbanks version of Thief of Bagdad) and that talent shows through in this production, with some pretty tremendous sets in both the near future (showing what 30 years of war might do to "Everytown", that is, London) and the distant future (where people are living underground and things are all sleek and sci-fi). Arguments about war and conflict and whether and how we can live peaceably dominate the first half of the film with ideological discussions of technological progress (including whether traveling to the moon is worth it) dominating the second half. A few prognostications seem spot on but we are lucky that WWII didn't last 30 years - otherwise we might not see our current technological advances for another couple of decades. Ultimately, it's all a little didactic despite some ace almost-silent montage scenes, but remarkable nevertheless.
March 29, 2014
An early masterpiece of science fiction cinema, Things to Come derives from H.G. Wells' writings and is directed by genre master William Cameron Menzies. The film still resonates today with its depiction of society's collapse and rebirth into a utopian future in which struggle has been erased. Hence, humankind must seek new frontiers beyond the Earth. It is a film about human ambition and drive, and the consequences--both positive and negative--that can arise from them. It is a film about different forms of societies, and the flaws that face even the most apparently perfect civilization. Featuring amazing special effects and artistry for its era, Things to Come poses questions that are still as pertinent today as ever.
March 18, 2014
Consistently interesting and uncannily prophetic in its interpretation of a dystopian future.
½ December 18, 2013
A fore-telling, or warning, of the history of mankind - from the most successful and influential futurist of his day, HG Wells. Best known for his novels The Invisible Man, War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, The Obliterated Man, and The Island of Dr. Moreau; This is the only film HG was ever directly involved with. His opus to our legacy. In spite of everyone's intentions, this is a grand film and should be required viewing in colleges by every student of social science or film production.
Richardson & Scott get the only parts that properly come alive. The other actors (& the most of the cinematography) come across a bit wooden, yet still have some great moments. Massey seems born to play his roles - a shame he wasn't allowed to interpret his characters the way he wanted.

If you were to extrapolate on the major philosophies espoused by Wells in this film, you might find it shares a common vision of humanity with Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Flash Gordon, or even Logan's Run: Humankind can better itself by creating a transparent government which supports peaceful exploration of science - once war-mongering is left behind.
September 14, 2013
H.G. Wells wrote the screenplay himself for this film adaptation of his novel. The film is a visual feast and tells a sprawling story of a 100 year war that on the outset leaves the world a desolate wasteland ravaged by plague, famine and anarchy. Civilization does eventually recover and technology advances from barbarism to the space age, but people are still petty and war-like, which creates com thing of an endless cycle. Wells has a great imagination and it really shows here, particularly aided by some fabulous special effects and production design, along with stylish direction by William Cameron Menzies. The main fault of the film is that it lacks any real characterizations or emotion, but that is clearly not what Wells was interested in here. And it's also fun to see a super young Ralph Richardson.
½ September 3, 2013
For 1936, the visions for the forthcoming century are pretty imaginative and amusing. The planes, helicopter, WW2, flatscreen TVs, plastic and trip to the moon are not so far off the mark. Their clothes and the 'wandering' disease are quite hilarious though. A bit too crazy in places, so it's 6.5/10 for me.
½ August 6, 2013
This is a gem. Travel back to 1936 to see the future. Incredible set designs and ideas for the time. The pace of the movie is slow by today's standard, but visually, it is stunning.
July 21, 2013
Although it doesn't quite stand the test of time like its predecessor Metropolis, Things to Come is a landmark in the history of sci-fi cinema. A lot of money was spent on this sci-fi epic, and while it wasn't the most successful in the genre, it's certainly one of the most stylistic. Thanks, in no small part, are due to the creative masterminds behind it: H.G. Wells, William Cameron Menzies, László Moholy-Nagy and Georges Périnal. All had backgrounds in design in one way or another, so it comes as no surprise that the film is impeccably well-designed and extraordinary to look at it. The ideas that it conjures up are fundamental to human existence while the story itself spans many years with many different characters, with Cabal being the closest to a central character. It's not altogether a perfect film, but I marveled at its scope and ingenuity, as well as its fantastic design and look. This is definitely one you want to check out.
June 23, 2013
H.G. Wells had a strong hand in the production, being the writer and consultant on this rather fascinating work of speculation, based on his fictional essay. The story spans nearly a century, beginning with a prescient, visually and aurally stunning rendition of the start of WWII, a war which lasts for several decades and leads to a post-apocalyptic, pandemic ravaged wasteland where several warlords fight for their piece of land. Humanity is eventually led away from its war stupor by a rising technocracy, and the film ends with a utopic society that is finally shooting for the stars, even if part of its population expresses dissent. History would prove resource depletion and the "bomb" to be the unimaginable events that really stop much of the film being an accurate prediction of the future, and yet, rather ironically, humankind has been able to achieve more peace and progress than anticipated by Wells - thankfully we haven't had to contend with a global pandemic that wipes out half of the population, as is represented in the film, although it always remains a possibility. Thought provoking stuff, as good SF often is, but as a film, not without some problems. The film basically comes across as pompous anti-war propaganda, being completely unsubtle about its motivations. Also, it's episodic nature and preocupation with ideas rather than characters detaches viewers the film's characters, making it somewhat unengaging. There are a few extensive, visually impressive, montages set to Arthur Bliss's rousing music, which would be a good thing, except they end up giving the film a newsreel propaganda feel. What Things To Come does with success, though, is provide a visual and thematic template for future works of sci-fi. It may well be one of the earlier depictions of a post-apocalyptic world depicted on the silver screen.
½ June 20, 2013
Things To Come is quite interesting as it pertains to the future of civilization and mankind. The ideas that are presented throughout the film are filled with discussion worthy issues of politics and war. The dystopic and utopic set pieces are quite impressive given the time period and the subject matter is amazingly relevant in 2013.

The main focus of the film features a war breaking out in 1940 that decimates the town of "Everytown". Along with the help of a new sickness that compares the the black plague, much of mankind is lost. Later, Mankind evolves and survives but not without the presence of a new outsider species which of course is welcoming future war and conflict as with what is inherent in mankind.
½ April 19, 2013
It's dated and not that engaging, but when looked at in a historical context it's pretty amazing that it was made at the time it was. Required viewing for any serious sci-fi fan.
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