As a SCI-FI fan I was impatiently looking forward to see the sequel of one of my favorite SCI-FI stories, "The Man From Earth" (2007); but as always, I was also sleeping with one eye open: After all, "The Man From Earth: Holocene" was a SEQUEL, and when it came to SEQUELS and PREQUELS, statistics of the cinema history were never encouraging about a movie's potential to follow the same quality and "spirit" of the originals. The ORIGINALs were almost always better than any SEQUELS or PREQUELS in almost all cases. But you know, I was still thinking, "how bad it could be?"
[Photo Source] - The Original was a masterpiece! If you haven't watched "The Man From Earth" yet, especially if you're a fan of SCI-FI, Mystery and Philosophy, I suggest watching it right now! It's spellbinding!
[Photo Source] - Sorry but, the sequel is a disaster!
What made the original, ORIGINAL?
The magic of "The Man From Earth"...
One word: "STORY".
One room, and a few people. That was it!
Well, if you have a movie set in one room, you better have a good story (from the legendary Jerome Bixby) and thought-provoking dialogue, right?
And the ORIGINAL had it: Eight academicians have a good deal of dialogue in a room, and the movie is all about their discussion. One of them, John Oldman (a bright college professor; what a symbolic name he has), is about to leave the town, so he gets together with his colleagues for one last time to say "goodbye" for good! Soon we learn that he had been saying the same kind of goodbye for almost 14,000 years! He's 14,000 years old!
The conversation between academicians (a biologist, an anthropologist, a psychiatrist, an archaeologist, historians and a student) was a joy to listen to, thanks to the mystery evolving around Professor John Oldman bit by bit with the accompaniment of that beautiful, warm fireplace. A successful, well respected academician was claiming that he was 14,000 years old (you know, it's not that easy to keep the same secret for thousands of years) and not even a single person in the room (who were all experts in their fields) was able to disprove his claims with their questions or answers. Their discussion was so moving, the movie was also inviting the observers to the discussion, and it was impossible to not ask questions. The rest of the movie was nothing but an amusement-park full of philosophy, mystery and science-fiction! Oh and let's not forget the beautiful music of Beethoven, 7th Symphony 2nd Movement (which added much to the "mood" of the story.)
"The Man From Earth: Holocene"...
What made the original, ORIGINAL, made HOLOCENE a disaster!
I mean, the lack of it. The "Story"!
"The Man From Earth: HOLOCENE" doesn't have a story.
It just tries to benefit from the success of the Original, but it doesn't work, because it seems the producers of the movie forgot what made the Original successful in the first place!
Yes, he's 14,000 years old. He changes his identity every ten years to keep his secret unknown (His new name is John Young. So "John" stays the same but his surname transforms from "Oldman" to "Young". Good!). Ok. Fine. We got it, and we loved it. But a 14,000 years old man must have many surprising stories to tell us, right? I mean, even some 15 year olds tell some great stories, don't they? Come on, he's 14,000 years old, so give us something interesting, something philosophical like you did in the first movie. After 10 years from the release of the original, this is all you movie producers could come up with? It has been 10 years!
I'm not interested with his struggle to keep his identity unknown (you can be sure that the movie lacks there too), I'm interested with his identity. His adventures, his encounters with different people and civilizations, and the lessons he has learned throughout his journey around the world. Give me philosophy, give me mystery, give me that thought-provoking Sci-Fi!
"The Man From Earth" was a provocator by all means (which was a VERY good thing), but "The Man From Earth: HOLOCENE" doesn't care about stimulating critical thinking or imagination, instead it focuses on some "not so bright" teenagers' unbelievably cheesy quest to unmask their professor's true identity. John Oldman (or, John Young) did it himself in the first movie dear movie producers, we already know who he is. Almost half of the movie is wasted with these teenagers' efforts to photograph John Young (he doesn't like being photographed for obvious reasons). I don't remember even one memorable quote from the movie. Sad. How can two movies directed by the same director (Richard Schenkman) be so different from each other, in a negative way? I wasn't expecting the same quality as the original but, it shouldn't have been such a disaster either.
If you liked "The Man From Earth" and plan to watch "The Man From Earth: Holocene", please don't do it. It's not the same caveman we once loved. Not even close.