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The Adjustment Bureau: a fantastical love story

March 24th, 2011 · Posted by Hugo · No Comments

Two weekends ago I went to see The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. To be honest, I found it rather too fantastical. Not the sci-fi aspect mind you, the love story! 😉 I am not a big fan of the stereotypical love story, as they usually seem very far removed from reality to me. The science fiction side of the story was actually of value in the context of this blog.

The story is very loosely based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. Dick is famous for having written Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the novel that the famous movie Blade Runner was based on (directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford). Other movies based on his short stories include Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck and A Scanner Darkly.

On Philip K. Dick, wikipedia’s first paragraph mentions:

Dick explored sociological, political and metaphysical themes in novels dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments and altered states. In his later works Dick’s thematic focus strongly reflected his personal interest in metaphysics and theology.

Dick was born near the end of 1928 and died in 1982. The Adjustment Team was first published in 1954, when he was 25 — this is certainly not one of his later works. Additionally, at 20 pages, there really isn’t much room for anything beyond sharing the basic premise. This premise becomes clear quite early in the movie, so reading the short story first likely doesn’t spoil much. (The original short story is actually in the public domain in some countries, so you can read Adjustment Team on wikimedia commons.)

The movie extrapolates significantly from the original idea, building a love story out of it. On the sci-fi side, I think the movie makes a significant improvement to the “adjustments” mechanism, doing away with the bizarre dogs thing, going for much improved realism, dare I say. What encouraged me to mention it on this blog was the theological themes the movie touches on. These themes are things I would like to discuss, hopefully in a few weeks’ time, so I’ve given you plenty of advance warning:

My posts will be spoiling the entire movie. I’m going to assume readers have either already seen the movie, or aren’t interested in seeing it. And I won’t feel at all bad about doing that: there will be spoiler warnings on the posts themselves, and the movie isn’t all that great anyway. It’s just particularly enticing material for this blog. 😉

If you read the short story first, and haven’t seen the movie yet, I would much enjoy hearing your ideas on how you would build a love story on the premise! (Maybe you can come up with better ideas than contained in the movie.)

If you have already seen the movie though, don’t spoil it for readers that might still want to see it! If you want to discuss spoilers, wait for the spoiling posts I’ve promised. Be informed when they’ve been published by subscribing: follow on twitter, subscribe to this blog’s feed or subscribe via email!

Categories: Religion and Science
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