Expires 20th December, 2022
Director – Michael Anderson
Year – 1976
A classic piece of 70s sci-fi, maybe not aged as well as some but I will suffer that for prime Jenny Agutter.
In the year 2274, the remnants of human civilization live in a sealed city contained beneath a cluster of geodesic domes, a utopia run by a computer that takes care of all aspects of life, including reproduction. The citizens live a hedonistic lifestyle but, to prevent overpopulation, everyone must undergo the rite of “Carrousel” when they reach the age of 30. There, they are killed under the guise of being “renewed”.
To track this, each person is implanted at birth with a “life-clock” crystal in the palm of the hand that changes color as they get older and begins blinking as they approach their “Last Day.” Most residents accept this chance for rebirth, but those who do not and attempt to flee the city are known as “Runners”. An elite team of policemen known as “Sandmen”, outfitted in predominantly black uniforms and serving in an agency of the city called “Deep Sleep”, are assigned to pursue and terminate Runners as they try to escape.
Logan 5 and Francis 7 are both Sandmen. After terminating a Runner, to whose presence they were alerted during a Carrousel rite, Logan finds an ankh among his possessions. Later that evening, he meets Jessica 6, a young woman also wearing an ankh pendant. Logan takes the ankh to the computer, which tells him that it is a symbol for a secret group whose members help the Runners find “Sanctuary”, a mythic place where they will be safe to live out the rest of their lives.
Logan learns that the Sandmen have lost 1,056 Runners this way. The computer instructs Logan to find Sanctuary and destroy it, a mission which it code names “Procedure 033-03”, which he must keep secret from the other Sandmen of Deep Sleep. Then, by a procedure it calls “retrogram”, the computer changes the color of his life clock to flashing red, suddenly making him four years closer to Carrousel. Scared, he asks if the four years will be restored to him when his mission is completed but receives no response. In order to escape this, Logan is now forced to become a Runner. Logan meets Jessica and explains his situation. They meet with the underground group that leads them to the periphery of the city.
Logan learns that the ankh symbol is actually a key that unlocks an exit from the city. They come out into a frozen cave, with Francis following closely behind. In the cave, they meet Box, a robot designed to capture food for the city from the outside. Logan discovers, to his horror, that Box also captures escaped Runners and freezes them for food. Before Box can freeze Logan and Jessica, they escape, causing the cave to collapse on the robot.
Once outside, Logan and Jessica notice that their life clocks are no longer operational. They see the Sun for the first time and discover that the remains of human civilization have become a wilderness. They explore an old, seemingly abandoned city which was once Washington, D.C. In the ruins of the United States Senate chamber, they discover an elderly man living with many cats. His appearance is a shock to them, since neither has ever seen anyone over the age of thirty. The old man recounts what he remembers about what happened to humanity outside the city, and Logan realizes that Sanctuary has always been a myth.
However, Francis has followed them and he and Logan fight. Logan fatally wounds Francis; as he dies, Francis sees that Logan’s life clock is now clear and assumes Logan has renewed. Logan and Jessica persuade the old man to return to the city with them as proof that life exists outside the domed city. Leaving the man outside, the two enter and try to convince everyone that Carrousel is a lie and unnecessary. The two are captured by other Sandmen and taken to the computer, which interrogates Logan about Procedure 033-03 and asks if he completed his mission.
Logan insists, “There is no Sanctuary”. What he had found was “old ruins, exposed”, “an old man”, and that the missing Runners were “all frozen”. These answers are not accepted by the computer, even after scanning Logan’s mind, and the computer overloads, causing the city’s systems to fail violently and release the exterior seals. Logan, Jessica, and the other citizens flee the ruined city. Once outside, the citizens see the old man, the first human they have met who is older than thirty, proving that they can, indeed, live their lives much longer.
Director – Nicolas Roeg
Year – 1971
A white teenaged schoolgirl, her younger brother, and their father drive from their home in Sydney into the Australian outback, ostensibly for a picnic. As they prepare to eat, the father draws a gun and begins firing at the children. The boy believes it to be a game, but the daughter realizes her father is attempting to murder them, and flees with her brother, seeking shelter behind rocks. She watches as her father sets their car on fire and shoots himself in the head. The girl conceals the suicide from her brother, retrieves some of the picnic food, and leads him away from the scene, attempting to walk home through the desert.
By the middle of the next day, they are weak and the boy can barely walk. Discovering a small water hole with a fruiting tree, they spend the day playing, bathing, and resting. By the next morning, the water has dried up. They are then discovered by an Aboriginal boy. Although the girl cannot communicate with him, due to the language barrier, her brother mimes their need for water and the newcomer cheerfully shows them how to draw it from the drying bed of the oasis. The three travel together, with the Aboriginal boy sharing Kangaroo meat he has caught from hunting. The boys learn to communicate slightly using words and sign language.
While in the vicinity of a plantation, a white woman walks past the Aboriginal boy, who simply ignores her when she speaks to him. She appears to see the other children, but they do not see her, and they continue on their journey. The children also discover a weather balloon belonging to a nearby research team working in the desert. After drawing markings of a modern-style house, the Aboriginal boy eventually leads them to an abandoned farm, and takes the small boy to a nearby road. The Aboriginal boy hunts down a water buffalo and is wrestling it to the ground when two white hunters appear in a truck and nearly run him over. He watches in shock as they shoot several buffalo with a rifle. The boy then returns to the farm, but passes by without speaking.
Later, the Aboriginal boy lies in a trance among a slew of buffalo bones, having painted himself in ceremonial markings. He returns to the farmhouse, catching the undressing girl by surprise, and initiates a mating ritual by performing a courtship dance in front of her. Although he dances outside all day and into the night until he becomes exhausted, she is frightened and hides from him, and tells her brother they will leave him the next day. In the morning, after they dress in their school uniforms, the brother takes her to the Aboriginal boy’s body, hanging in a tree. Before leaving, the girl wipes ants from the dead boy’s chest. Hiking up the road, the siblings find a nearly-deserted mining town where a surly employee directs them towards nearby accommodation.
Much later, a businessman arrives home as the now grown-up girl prepares dinner; while he embraces her and relates office gossip, she either imagines or remembers a scene in which she, her brother, and the Aboriginal boy are playing and swimming naked in a billabong in the outback.
Year – 2014
The saga continues and keeps up the high standard. The early Marvel films set the standard.
Two years after the Battle of New York, Steve Rogers works in Washington, D.C., for the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. under Director Nick Fury, while adjusting to contemporary society. Rogers and Agent Natasha Romanoff are sent with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s counter-terrorism S.T.R.I.K.E. team, led by Agent Rumlow, to free hostages aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel from Georges Batroc and his mercenaries. Mid-mission, Rogers discovers Romanoff has another agenda: to extract data from the ship’s computers for Fury. Rogers returns to the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s headquarters, to confront Fury and is briefed about Project Insight: three Helicarriers linked to spy satellites, designed to preemptively eliminate threats. Unable to decrypt the data recovered by Romanoff, Fury becomes suspicious about Insight and asks senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official and Secretary of Internal Security Alexander Pierce to delay the project.
On his way to rendezvous with Maria Hill, Fury is ambushed by assailants led by a mysterious assassin called the Winter Soldier. Fury escapes to Rogers’ apartment, and warns Rogers that S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised. Fury is gunned down by the Winter Soldier, before handing Rogers a flash drive containing data from the ship. Fury is pronounced dead during surgery, and Hill recovers the body. The next day, Pierce summons Rogers to the Triskelion. When Rogers withholds Fury’s information, Pierce brands him a fugitive. Hunted by S.T.R.I.K.E., Rogers meets with Romanoff. Using data in the flash drive, they discover a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker in New Jersey, where they activate a supercomputer containing the preserved consciousness of Arnim Zola. Zola reveals that ever since S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded after World War II, Hydra has secretly operated within its ranks, sowing global chaos with the objective of making humanity surrender its freedom in exchange for security. The pair narrowly escape death when a S.H.I.E.L.D. missile destroys the bunker, and realize that Pierce is Hydra’s leader within S.H.I.E.L.D.
Rogers and Romanoff enlist the help of former USAF pararescueman Sam Wilson, whom Rogers befriended, and acquire his powered “Falcon” wingpack. Deducing that S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell is a Hydra mole, they force him to divulge that Zola developed a data-mining algorithm that can identify individuals becoming threats to Hydra. The Insight Helicarriers will sweep the globe, using satellite-guided guns to eliminate these individuals. Rogers, Romanoff, and Wilson are ambushed by the Winter Soldier, who kills Sitwell. During the fight, Rogers recognizes the Winter Soldier as Bucky Barnes, his childhood best friend who supposedly fell to his death on a mission, but was actually captured and experimented upon after WWII. Hill manages to extract the trio to a safehouse where Fury, who had faked his death, is waiting with plans to sabotage the Helicarriers by replacing their controller chips.
After the World Security Council members arrive for the Helicarriers’ launch, Rogers broadcasts Hydra’s plot to everyone at the Triskelion. Romanoff, disguised as one of the Council members, disarms Pierce. Fury arrives and forces Pierce to unlock S.H.I.E.L.D.’s database so that Romanoff can leak classified information, exposing Hydra to the public. Following a struggle, Fury kills Pierce. Meanwhile, Rogers and Wilson storm two Helicarriers and replace the controller chips, but the Winter Soldier destroys Wilson’s suit and fights Rogers on the third. Rogers fends him off and replaces the final chip, allowing Hill to take control and have the vessels destroy each other. Rogers refuses to fight the Winter Soldier in an attempt to reach his friend, but as the ship collides with the Triskelion, Rogers is thrown out into the Potomac River. The Winter Soldier rescues the unconscious Rogers before disappearing into the woods. With S.H.I.E.L.D. in disarray, Romanoff appears before a Senate subcommittee, while Fury, under the cover of his apparent death, heads to Eastern Europe in pursuit of Hydra’s remaining cells. Rogers and Wilson decide to find the Winter Soldier, while Rumlow, who was a double agent for Hydra, is hospitalized following the Triskelion’s destruction.
In a mid-credits scene, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, at a Hydra lab, proclaims that the “age of miracles” has begun as scientists examine an energy-filled scepter and two test subjects: one with superhuman speed, the other with telekinetic powers. In a post-credits scene, Barnes visits his own memorial at the Smithsonian Institution.