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In the year 2022, Earth is a chaotic, overpopulated, pollution filled planet run under marshal law.  Food is scarce and is now artificially created in the form of chips created by a company named Soylent.  There are yellow, red, blue versions of Soylent and the latest is the highly nutritious and energizing green.  Thorn, a detective played by Charlton Heston, is sent in to investigate the death of one of Soylent’s wealthy executives, Simonson.  During his investigation we see snapshots of this future society.  Modern society and the comforts associated are gone.  Unemployment is at a ridiculous high. All businesses are gone minus the government and the Soylent company.  Thorn eventually uncovers that Simonson was murdered as part of a cover up concerning the secret of Soylent Green.

Science fiction movies can be an opportunity for filmmakers to make social criticisms that show us what our world and society could look like.  Good science fiction movies are driven by story and not by special effects, modernized sets and hi-tech gadgets.  Support of this claim can be found in the new Star Wars trilogy and the sequels to The Matrix.  The characters and the acting only have to work with within the framework of the film and are not required to be great or stand out, simply competent.  This is what makes Soylent Green a good science fiction movie.  I firmly believe that Charlton Heston was cast, based on Planet of the Apes, to deliver the notorious last line of the film.  Thorn’s character and motivations are never fully developed but apparently he has a strong sense of justice.  I would like to have seen more of his relationship with Sol but we get enough through dialogue to fill in the blanks.  The scenes between Thorn and the girl are laughable as is some of the technology used but I was glad they didn’t go 70’s hi-tech with many of the devices used.  But that aside, the message is clear and for that my overall opinion of the film is positive.  We can shape our future but if the everyday working class people don’t stand up for themselves and voice their opinions the government and the wealthy will strip you down until you have nothing and you’re eating… well, yourself.

-Rik

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