I've already voiced my opinion several times on Jean-Luc Godard. If you've been following my blog you probably already know that I can't stand his works, and the only reason I still find myself watching them is because I'm studying cinema and can't seem to escape from him since no matter where I go my teachers end up subjecting me to his work sooner or later. Since I've brought it up a few times I thought maybe it would be worthwhile to do a piece specifically focusing on him.A general overview of his work would be harder for me to write, so instead I've decided to focus on a specific film of Godard's that a lot of people like but I consider an embarrassment to the science fiction genre. That movie is Alphaville.
Our hero, Lemmy Caution. Yes, that is seriously his name.
I suppose I'd better start by jumping into the heart of the movie and pointing out why I consider its vision "lazy". You remember how I said that Alphaville is supposed to be "futuristic". Well, behold, Godard's incredible vision of a dystopian future:
Supposedly there's some absurd stylistic reason for this, but Godard presents us with a science fiction movie set in the future... and he makes absolutely zero effort to actually show us any kind of future. The extent to which he does so consists of characters offhandedly mentioning the word "galaxy". I'm not a huge fan of the stereotypical Jetsons-style future but even a flying car or two might have helped a little bit, especially since the way they use the word "galaxy" (i.e. "things are a lot different in this galaxy") seems to imply that intergalactic travel exists in this world and yet everything else resembles 1960's Paris. To paraphrase Inigo Montoya: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
An actual galaxy: billions of stars across 100,000 light years. It makes you wonder if Jean-Luc Godard actually knew what the word means.
That there is really the biggest issue I have with the film. You can't just throw in the word "galaxy" and suddenly have a perfect vision of the future. That's not how science fiction works. Aside from his absurd depiction of the future, the plot really makes no sense, the characters aren't very interesting, and there just really isn't anything I found that I could consider a redeeming feature of any kind.
If you're a Godard fan and you disagree, fine. That's your opinion, but for everyone else, if you'd like a good dystopian science fiction film with an interesting vision of the future, you're not going to find it here. I'd advise you to instead stick to Blade Runner, Escape From New York, Twelve Monkeys, A Clockwork Orange, Metropolis, or even The Hunger Games for a film that actually makes an effort to create its own future world beyond mentioning the word "galaxy" once in a while.