The Lost Future (2011)

The Lost Future is a perfectly competent sci-fi thriller, made for television and on a budget. It kicks about clichés and stereotypes with little shame, miss-hits its target audience and rips off a thousand similar projects, but it also has a disarming likeability that will ensure viewers keep watching. The Lost Future is an enjoyable, entertaining movie.

In 2028 (or thereabouts) silly capitalist scientists messed with nature and – whilst making themselves some Mammoths and Giant Sloths – ended up resurrecting a prehistoric virus that promptly turned most of modern man into insane super-mutants. Oops. Science fail.

Skip waaaaay into the future (of the future) and what’s left of non-mutated Mankind is living a scrabbling, rat-like existence, clumped together in tiny tribes, hiding in caves and hunting mutie-beasts for food. We focus on the Grey Rock tribe as they’re discovered by a horde of angry mutants; some humans stay and fight, some barricade themselves in a cave and three run for it… straight into Sean Bean.

Sean is the nomadic warrior Amal and he has an important secret; there is a cure to the virus. Sadly the cure is being kept by a mad tyrant who looks like Alan Rickman’s knackered brother, so Amal and the three tribes people must journey into the ruins of civilization to find the cure and potentially save what remains of Humanity.

The Lost Future is competently directed by Mikael Salomon, who is prolific in his television directing, knocking out stints on Band of Brothers, Rome and Camelot. There are some moments of superbly choreographed action throughout the film – the opening fight with a giant sloth is especially exciting – but in other places it does lack structure and intention.

The Lost Future is very well shot, especially considering the obvious budget constraints, which is no surprise coming from a man who can boast cinematographer credits on The Abyss and Backdraft. Some of the scenes are awe-inspiring and very exciting. The Lost Future manages to peak above the usual sub-Sliders sci-fi TV movies that are pumped out on a shameless buck-snatching conveyor belts. There is some genuine craft and love put into The Lost Future.

Sadly, not everything is awesome about this post-apocalyptic tale of death, love and mutants. The writing in The Lost Future is inconsistent and laced with cliché, but this is not hugely surprising coming an eclectic mix of four people, including a debut writer/ producer, a duo responsible for some of Primeval and a children’s TV writer who last wrote something in 2005…. which just happened to be Barbie: Fairtytopia.

The idea is a sound one; a zombie-like virus has turned most of mankind into psychotic super-mutant scumbags and the world has collapsed, so the uninfected folk have had to hide. This, however, is where is all gets a bit confused – why has Mankind reverted to being moronic, cave-dwelling, God-bothering imbeciles?

There are simply too many questions to make this successfully believable; what happened to people’s knowledge of technology? What happened to the armies of the world? How can people speak perfect English but can’t read a damn thing? And how have the mutants actually survived?! They never eat the Humans they so callously butcher! It is confusing and troubling, which makes it difficult to believe and therefore hard to effectively engage with.

This ragged writing also flags the problem of The Lost Future’s target audience. Somewhat confusingly The Lost Future feels like a 12 or a PG – in the way it is shot and the general feel of the piece – but it is randomly lumbered with moments of bloody death and one disconcerting sex scene that needlessly knocks it into the 15 certification zone. The Lost Future deserves a younger audience because it feels like it was written for one; it is neither controversial, offensive, horrific nor hugely challenging. Without the bit of sex and some needlessly bloody bits, an eight year old would love this sci-fi romp.

Also, The Lost Future liberally steals from dozens of films and television series; there are bits reminiscent of Sliders, Monsters and The Sound of Thunder, and the “mutants” look like shoddy photocopies of the Uruk-hai from The Lord of the Rings. It is inoffensively done, but still horribly shameless.

The Orc-mutant-zombie beasts, however, are not The Lost Future’s biggest selling point; Sean Bean is. Bean – in danger of becoming type-cast as Boromir – rolls out another ruggedly likeable performance as Amal and gives the film a larger sense of stature (than perhaps it deserves). He is criminally underused, however, and mostly spends the film riding a horse, spying on people and falling into a hole. Luckily the rest of the cast also excel, providing especially believable characters despite the script and situation. Sam Claflin is very good as Kaleb and there are some decent turns from Brit actresses Hannah Tointon and Eleanor Tomlinson too.

Overall The Lost Future is enjoyable, action-packed and very entertaining. It is Sunday afternoon entertainment for all of the family (over the age of 15) and definitely not a thinking-person’s film. The script is poor and the general concept a little questionable, but it is well shot and decently acted. The Lost Future is a solid, enjoyable TV movie.

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

One Comment on “The Lost Future”

  1. john clinger says:

    My thoughts on “The Lost Future” are pretty simple. They’re the same feeling I pretty much had about “The Lord of the Rings” films. There should have have much, much more SEAN BEAN! The man is a hell of an actor and a very underused Hollywood talent. I also don’t get why the characters he often portrays end up being killed off?!? ex: “Golden Eye”, “Black Death”, “Fellowship of the Ring”, “Equilibrium”, “Patriot Games”.,ect,. At least they didn’t kill him off in “Ronin” and “Troy”!

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