Sure, Tuesday is typically Soylent Green day, but it happens to be today’s Throwback Thursday, the day ScienceFiction.com takes a look at some of the classics and explains why they are still relevant today.
‘Soylent Green’ was made in 1973 and it stars a glistening Charlton Heston. It was directed by Richard Fleischer and is loosely based on the 1966 novel, ‘Make Room! Make Room!’.
The story takes place in 2022 where we follow Robert Thorn (Heston) as he investigates the death of a wealthy businessman who was a member of the Board of Soylent. The Soylent Corporation creates food for people inhabiting an overpopulated and polluted world. Streets are filled with homeless people and there are 40 million people living in New York City alone. Needless to say, Thorn uncovers a seriously dark secret about the Soylent Corporation that I certainly won’t spoil for those of you who have yet to see this sci-fi classic.
‘Soylent Green’ exposes a grim reality of our world today. After all, even just the talk of overpopulation makes an individual question his or her role in modern society. From overcrowding in prisons and schools to long lines at the DMV, what is the value of an individual worth these days?
There are a couple of shots throughout the movie where Heston must literally climb over people to reach the top of a staircase. This could possibly representative of today’s world. Are populations just becoming obstacles for a randomly-picked “lucky” person as they inevitably get ahead? In our society where success seems awarded to only a few, what becomes the role of the individual? Is the vast majority of people just destined to be stepped on?
In the film, the only time an everyday person has real worth is in death. Only when a person dies does he or she really serve a purpose, whether it’s becoming actual soylent (whoops, spoiled) or helping to uncover a real evil that exists within the industrial complex. Above all, a person is consistently doing someone else a favor when they die. As populations increase, is this going to be our viewpoint on an individual’s life and death? “Oh, lucky us, someone just stepped out of line.”
This talk is merciless, for sure, especially for someone as perky as myself. But perhaps one of the purposes of ‘Soylent Green’ is to ask these questions and ponder our role as the universe inevitably unfolds.