Plot: What’s it about?
The world has fallen into a dire condition, with pollution that is out of control and resources at dangerously low levels. At the same time, the world’s population continues to grow and that only causes more stress on the global landscape. People have to wear protective devices to breathe while outside, but that is just one result of these horrific conditions. In order to try to turn around the world’s situation, the government issues a ban on reproduction. This will allow the planet to recover resources and after three decades, the population can begin to reproduce once again. If someone chooses to have a baby against these regulations, the punishment is severe for both the parents and the child. So under threat of certain death, the world’s population remains stable and no new births are reported. But when one woman decides to break the law and have a child of her own, instead of a government provided robot, can she and the child somehow survive?
As a fan of offbeat 70s sci/fi cinema, I was anxious to check out Zero Population Growth. I had heard about the movie, but didn’t have a chance to see it until this Legend Films release. I have to admit that while the movie as a whole wasn’t great, the parts were often memorable. The first half or so of the movie is loaded with interesting concepts and a unique atmosphere, so my expectations were higher than when I started. The museum of 20th century life is tremendous, the population control theme works, and a lot of small touches help bring this bleak landscape to life. Geraldine Chaplin is quite good in the lead and carries the film, while Oliver Reed is good, but doesn’t stand out. After the first half, the movie goes downhill and the concept’s limitations are exposed. Even so, I was never bored with Zero Population Growth and I’m glad I checked it out. So if you’re a fan of sci/fi, the 70s kind especially, you’ll want to give Zero Population Growth a chance.
Video: How does it look?
Zero Population Growth is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This transfer isn’t pristine, but given the age and profile of the material, its solid. The print shows signs of debris and grain, but I doubt we’ll see a restoration on this one. I’d love to have an overhauled, flawless print of course, but in this case, I seriously doubt we’ll ever see that. So while it is rough at times, it is always watchable. On the positive side, the visuals show solid detail and depth, while colors look natural. So a mixed bag, but a decent visual effort.
Audio: How does it sound?
This 2.0 soundtrack is as basic as it gets, but it never sounds bad. The track has minor hiccups, but the elements never suffer and that is what counts. There is not much to talk about in this section, as the audio remains rather low key and bland throughout. I heard so serious flaws and at the same time, was never drawn in by the audio. So not a memorable soundtrack, but it covers the basics well enough.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.