Fritz Lang’s Metropolis

This is on many top movie lists, and amongst the movies considered ‘must see’ for sci fi fans.  So I watched it.  And without a doubt, it is the worst movie I have ever seen.

First, just to be fair, the pros:

I found the the portrayel of early 20th century fears insightful, especially the anti-technology and negative view of machines.  Some of the acting — that of the girl, Maria, and the inventor — was pretty good.  The transformation which gave the machine man Maria’s face was creatively executed, given the time period in which it was written.  I am aware that the film was influential in the genre, and many later films and science fiction stories drew upon it, so it must be given credit for breaking new ground.

I’m sure a film history buff could list many more pros, but I watched the film from the perspective of a modern sci fi writer and one who enjoys a good story.

The cons–and no, I’m not being unkind.

First of all, it’s a black and white silent movie.  That narrows down the number who will really enjoy this to a niche audience.  In addition, most of the acting, especially that of the son, Freder, is terrible to put it mildly.  Absolutely laugh-out-loud bad. 

The setting, I am sure, was very ingeneous at the time it was produced, but looks ridiculous when viewed with the expectation of enjoyment. 

The ‘provocative’ dance of the machine-Maria is more likely to promote eternal vows of celibacy than arouse viewers.

The idea that a people would be so stupid as to leave their children underground and then knowingly flood that same city is only couped in absurdity by the fact that the man who stood in their way did not remind them of that minor detail until after they flooded the city.

But in spite of all these detractions, the movie may work for you.  In fact, if you’re the kind who can’t get the point or understand the message in a story unless it’s repeatedly thundered in bold letters on the screen, this is just the flick for you.  I’m sure you’ll love it.

3 comments to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis

  • Lee

    I think that you need to take the film within it’s historical context. Many “Best Of” lists tend to confuse their purpose with “Most Important” and in this case Metropolis is a very important Science Fiction film as it was groundbreaking for it’s time and inspirational to generations of film makers and writers. Is it then better than Blade Runner? Not really. Is it more important? Possibly.

    I watch these movies for their historical value and as with all films if I take just one scene, concept or thought away from the film that inspires me or makes me think I’m generally happy.

  • That’s a good approach to films, and I am aware that Metropolis is important historically.

    Perhaps my disappointment with the film was due more to expectation than total conceivable merit. My review may seem harsh, but I would like readers to be prepared for what they will view if they decide to watch the movie.

    And then, I watched it late at night after finishing a viewing of Battlestar Galactica. It’s quite possible that I would appreciate it more under different circumstances.

  • Nikos-winter

    This movie has won 8 Oscars , does it really deserve that, one thing is for sure if it was released in India it would have probably flop.

    I think it’s a nice movie, small budget comparing to other Hollywood movies, nice songs .. What are your view, does it really deserve 8 Oscars or nothing at all ?

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