Children of Men, Alfonso Cuaron’s much-admired adaptation of P.D. James’ novel, doesn’t offer much in the way of explanation for the cause of the pandemic of sterility that has struck humanity, but it really doesn’t matter whether it was pollution, radiation, or infection. What’s important is that no children have been born in nearly 20 years, and the last generation of humanity is not going quietly toward its inevitable extinction. War, scarcity, and random violence are everywhere. Conditions have become so brutal that the appearance of the first pregnant woman in a generation is an occasion for secrecy and desperation, not universal gratitude.
So far, Cuaron’s thoughtful action epic is the best illustration on film of this particular doomsday scenario, though there has been talk for years of adapting Brian K. Vaughan’s graphic novel Y: The Last Man. A feature version starring Shia LaBeouf failed to come together, but there is 2011’s Y: The Last Man Rising, a 21-minute fan film made by special effects pro Christian Cardona.
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