While not universally successful with critics at the time of its release, the 1973 science fiction and horror film Soylent Green has since become a cult classic. Seemingly ahead of its time, mainly due to its stance on the environmental issues highlighted and their expected consequences in the not so distant future, all such issues and consequences have indeed sprung into reality since this film’s release. Inside the story of a police officer, portrayed by Charlton Heston, investigating what appears to be the murder of a wealthy businessman, is the very clear message of what we can expect of our own future if we continue to abuse our planet’s natural resources and strain remaining resources with overpopulation. Set in New York City in the year 2022, global warming and the greenhouse effect have decimated the plant and animal life throughout, making it impossible to provide enough food to sustain the human population that nonetheless, continues to grow. The solution is a food source known as “Soylent,” with the soylent green product of the title being the newest addition to the line offered by the Soylent Corporation. Supposedly made from plankton harvested from the world’s oceans, it turns out that this new soylent product is – 40 year old spoiler alert – actually made from people. The opening scenes of this film set up not only the overpopulation issue of at least this one metropolitan area, but also the immense divide between the haves and have-nots within the social structure. Unemployment is at nearly fifty percent and even the supply of soylent products can’t keep up with the demand. The message is clear; start finding ways to conserve our planet’s natural resources, stop producing more people than the planet can bear, and start finding ways to reverse the damage that has already been done through pollution and overpopulation – or we could be facing a similar collapse to our global society as we know it. In addition to the gap between those of means and the rest of the population, the treatment of women as described in this film serves to emphasize a gender inequality that would seem to set us back to a time when women didn’t own property, vote, or have many of the other rights that we tend to take for granted today. Women in the world of Soylent Green are essentially “furniture,” as Heston’s character calls them, property to be owned by those who can afford them. It’s almost as if the film is relaying a message that, in such extreme times, human beings degenerate back into a form of civilized savage in which brute strength wins out over intellect. While the film doesn’t provide a solution to the problem of resorting to cannibalism to feed the population, like so many similar films-that-teach, solutions can be extrapolated. Since the bodies needed to make soylent green product are harvested from those who died willingly or naturally, this seems to solve the secondary problem or how to dispose of so many dead bodies in a world already out of room. It even begs the question of whether this would be a logical response to such a situation, as posed by at least one blogger for Discover Magazine online, and if it would ever become an acceptable one, no matter how outlandish it may seem. Of course, it’s likely only a matter of time before the demand outstrips the supply of willing bodies needed, at which point it’s likely more savage means would take over. The parallels to our present-day energy and environmental concerns are clear, and audiences today will most likely find this aspect of the story particularly notable with the recent climate talks in the news. Direct Energy recently reported that approximately 80% of carbon dioxide emissions are directly due to human activity, and according to NASA, nine out of the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. The overuse of non-renewable resources, overpopulation and pollution resulting in greenhouse gasses and global warming are all current concerns, and all seen as the cause of the world portrayed in Soylent Green – and if action isn’t taken to rectify such predicaments, we may not be so far off from living in a Soylent Green world of our own. See larger image Soylent Green [Blu-ray] Soylent Green is landmark screen science-fiction, a riveting entertainment and a cautionary tale that holds a mirror to a tomorrow rife with ecological disaster. Working well again in the futuristic genre following Planet of the Apes and The Omega Man, action titan Charlton Heston portrays Thorn, a detective prowling the dank streets of a polluted, overpopulated Big Apple gone rotten in 2022. He’s trailing a murderer – and the trail leads to a stunning discovery. Vividly realized, Soylent Green’s world gains its power not just from its special effects but from its heart – a human dimension magnified by the performance of legendary Edward G. Robinson in his moving screen farewell. New From: $9.69 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.