The Man From Earth

March 16, 2010

When I was in college, I wondered what exactly would qualify as Science Fiction. There really is no strict definition of what qualifies as science fiction. There’s the face value (a phrase very important in this entry), a word of fiction involving some piece of science – biology and physics, outerspace and under water, new dimensions and what’s in the head. It’s all science fiction. The definition that stood out to me however, is one that goes “Fantasy is making this impossible probable; Sci-Fi makes the improbable possible.” The reason I like this is basically that science fiction could happen, but it won’t necessarily happen.

The basis of the movie, The Man From Earth is basically What If A Caveman Happened To Survive To The Modern Day. Now, before we get technical, this basically means someone lived to approximately 14,000 years (as discussed in the movie). Would this happen? No. Could this happen? Maybe…

As a whole, I enjoyed the movie. I’ll admit; I believed his story (although, my story telling philosophy kinda accepts it as just that, a story; life). But there are so many little flaws (SPOILERS!) that I don’t like in the movie.

To begin with, the character who may be a caveman is extremely passive. He’s thoughtful, kind, and very civilized. This doesn’t bother me, as he had those 14,000 years to become passive. But there’s a part where a character points a gun at him – we later learn it wasn’t loaded. But think about it. A caveman who would be very primal and easily scared with full knowledge of what a bullet can do. I’m surprised he didn’t jump out the window or take a club to try and beat the man. That would probably be his most likely plan of attack (how modern day are guns?).

Further, he tells some others a few things about his outlook on life – one of the most favorable of mine is The Lord or The Lesson. He flat out says that should someone not even believe in Jesus (not God), to believe in what he preached. To be honest, I agree with that outlook, but he’s also lived much longer than I have. Does this mean at my ripe old age of 25 I’m more aware of things – or that a 14,000 year old caveman who has studied with The Buddha has nothing better to say? He had time to study Plato, Neitzsche and others, and all he has to say is be passive and think about God’s lesson? Gimme a break!

There is one final thing at the end of the movie that also bugs me. He gives into love, or I guess a fondness he has for another. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand companionship on the most basic level. Friends are what is most important to me in my life. But he gives this speech in the beginning (to this lover in question) about how he’s gotten over love so many times and he’s going to leave. I realize the two of them have an understanding, but still, he gives into it! I would imagine that to a caveman he would need companionship moreso than most of us these days, but if he’s moving on because he won’t age, there’s no reason to keep others in your life if you’re just going to leave them again. Companionship is nice; desserting is horrible.

So, now that this has become a long rant no one will ever read, and I’ve ruined the story for those who are curious about the film, go see it. It’s much more of a drama than a science fiction film, but it could happen. And I guess, that’s the point of the movie, if not story telling as a whole. You can only get so many to believe you, no matter how long you live.


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