First, in a nutshell. The series was based on the novel by A. Huxley (published in the 1930s). In fact, it has little in common with the writer’s work, apart from the names of the characters and certain assumptions of the represented world. So, apart from the screening, you can easily read a book and learn about a completely different story.
Two forces, two worlds – at a glance
In New London, a city that knows only happiness, something else is always done, eternal party reigns here. Because, as one of the characters says: “Boredom is conducive to over-thinking, we know what it is like”. There is also a characteristic sound of the dispenser with soma – a drug used to return to a state of peace and happiness. When something undesirable happens, you take the pill and the problem is gone. Individuality, privacy – these things are not allowed, as well as love, affection. This, after all, causes anxiety in society. The feeling of being the same is additionally intensified by the characters’ costumes, which additionally seem to be similar within a given social group. Although many times in New London there is talk of tolerance, it is a paradise for hypocrisy, jealousy of a popular friend or humiliation of people with a lower social position.
Apart from New London surrounded by a barrier, there are those who question the present order, the so-called Wild. They live, for example, in the Amusement Park. Their home is a tourist attraction for the people of New London. Savages start families, believe in freedom, have values, are sentimental, live as they used to. Some of them still want to fight for their ideals. They can feel close to another person, be loved, make choices, and struggle with harsh reality. Besides, they seem much smarter and more resourceful than New Londoners. Some of the Savages openly oppose the new order, forming the Resistance, launching an armed attack. Overall, the Savage World looks like a run-down American town, one that lived off industry, but its factories collapsed after the economic crisis. Savages can also create art and appreciate it. New Londoners, on the other hand, do not paint or write poems. And the films they create are meaningless, have no plot, no message.
Welcome to New London, we have one Savage here!
Two residents of New London (Lenin and Bernard) go on a trip to the Wild Park. Unexpectedly, not everything goes according to plan at the current camp. One of the Savages, John, saves them from trouble. He does not belong to any of the worlds, he is a child of people from the New World, and there was no such thing as a mother and father there for a long time – all children were taken “out of a test tube” and life in a relationship was forbidden. On the other hand, he was raised among the Savages.
Together with his mother Linda and Bernard and Lenina, John tries to cross the barrier surrounding the Park and ends up in New London. He is to assimilate with the local society. It is treated like an exotic animal and enjoys the interest of the inhabitants. He is a man experienced by fate, who does not understand the world he finds himself in.
A handful of heroes with potential
I liked very much that John was not an idealist, he saw the light and dark sides of reality. On the other hand, Alden Ehrenreich’s performance was, unfortunately, a bit uniform. Next, Bernard, a resident of London at the head of the social ladder, should be distinguished – Harry Lloyd played a very complex person, expressing extreme emotions, and my opinion about the hero was constantly changing.
We also have Lenina, a woman who seems to question the order of reality, wants change, but does not know how to bring it about at the same time – Jessica Brown Findlay did very well in this role. Personally, I also like the figure of Helm – Bernard’s friend. Her willingness to seek the truth, eccentricity and interesting character development may be interesting. At this point, I would also like to appreciate Hannah John-Kamen’s performance.
I wish we had the chance to follow the fate of Linda, the mother of the main character (John) played by Demi Moore, who I didn’t recognize at first. The actress in the role of a mother addicted to drugs, longing for her old home, a woman who at least loves her child, was, like most of the characters in the series, ambiguous.
Associations that are impossible to get rid of
The scene in which Epsilons (the lowest social group) marching through dark corridors reminded me of the scene of the Lion King hyenas , which directly related to the march of the Third Reich troops and the person of Hitler. Of course, we also have references to communism – class order, all the same, all equally, as well as the name of one of the protagonists being “Lenin” or Bernard’s name, “Marx”.
When Lenina did not take the soma tablet and began to feel the world around her anew, to feel emotions, it is analogous to the one in the film Equilibrium. There, too, the protagonist does not take the daily dose of a drug to dull his emotions and discovers a whole new world.
We also have an obvious reference to Eden when Lenina and John go out of the city center. In doing so, they break – once again – the pattern of behavior of a typical New London resident of the upper classes.
Now for looser observations. People staring, even without contact with reality, at the projections displayed on their “private screens” reminded us, with their eyes fixed on the screens of cell phones. My last association relates to the scene where Bernard and John fake a fight to regain popularity again. This can be compared to certain social media behaviors where people cross borders to gain publicity. There is also the question of falsehood and lies. Overall, my first thought was about pathostreaming.
The secret is the most interesting
This world is ruled by many forces that not all are aware of. I like the vision of literally building New London on the rubble of the old world. I would like to know more about how our civilization ended, how the new order came into being, and what is outside of London and the reserve – only slight hints have come out. In this context, an interesting solution was the use of artificial intelligence as an element driving the world. This, too, is an expression of the adaptation of the content of Huxley’s book to our times.
One issue that I cannot fail to mention is music, which again serves as a contrast between worlds, but also as a carrier of emotions. It allows them to express their feelings, gives the characters time for reflection – of course, music “with words”, “Dziki’s music”, because it builds history, carries some value, message.
The creators sometimes have a problem with showing aspects of modernity, for example the animations of a hovering rocket or “flying cars” look cheesy at times, but maybe it is in line with the creators’ intention. In addition, I had the impression that they completely failed the falling scenes – they seem artificial and unrealistic.
There were times when the show was really boring for me and I struggled not to rewind it. I would prefer to replace pseudo-love scenes with discovering the world or getting to know the Resistance. As for me, these fragments did not contribute much to the plot, and there were certainly too many of them.