Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD
One of the hardest challenges when putting together a documentary is finding subject matter that’s rich enough to keep the viewer engaged from start to finish. In Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD, director Paul Goodwin assembles clips, images and talking heads that chart the evolution of UK-based comic studio 2000AD. Expect highs and lows, political turmoil and cultural transformation, rumours and accusations never before captured on camera. Everything here is to be expected from any historical documentary. Not daring to break new ground with insightful revelations, Future Shock! seems content to retread, step by gruelling step, the motions of 2000AD’s development. Die-hard fans of the publisher will probably already know the story, and for the average audience the film’s topic holds little relevance or appeal.
Future Shock! is nothing incredible to look at either. Although book-ended by well-rendered black-and-white credits animations, the content is largely delivered via interviews with key individuals from 2000AD and the world of science fiction at large. These are occasionally intercut with archival footage, film clips and images of comics, but these intermissions pass by so briefly that the audience never really gets a chance to appreciate the art, or even the relevance of what is being shown. The narrative flow never lets up, and increasingly it seems as though the director is rushing through visual interludes just to reach the next block of interviews. Where both comics and cinema are inherently visual media, Future Shock! delivers the vast majority of its content aurally, demonstrating a critical misunderstanding of both the form of delivery and the subject matter. To keep audiences watching, it’s vital to have something worth seeing.
The interviewees themselves are not the most fascinating of individuals, either. While it’s impressive to note the presence of some big names in the industry, such as 28 Days Later writer Alex Garland and the ever-charming Neil Gaiman, the speakers generally range from bland to dislikeable. Though the viewer is never left with the impression that these individuals are being anything less than candid, all that is truly compelling is the bizarre variety of facial hair on display. Without any plot beyond “having to go through hardship in order to be successful” and with the subject matter largely pushed aside, there’s nothing to add flavour to what essentially resembles the skeleton of every documentary ever made.
Future Shock! The Story Of 2000AD is released in selected cinemas on 4th December 2015.
Watch the trailer for Future Shock! The Story Of 2000AD here: