Brave New World (1998 film)

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Brave New World
Directed by Leslie Libman,
Larry Williams
Produced by Michael R. Joyce
Written by Dan Mazur (teleplay),
David Tausik (teleplay)
Starring Peter Gallagher
Leonard Nimoy
Tim Guinee
Rya Kihlstedt
Sally Kirkland
Music by Daniel Licht
Distributed by NBC
Release date(s) April 19, 1998
Running time 87 minutes
Language English

Brave New World is a 1998 television movie loosely based on Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World. The film stars Peter Gallagher and Leonard Nimoy. It is an abridged version of the original story. The film aired on NBC.

Plot[edit]

The film takes Aldous Huxley's novel of the same name and "modernizes" it, setting it in a large metropolitan area much like the cities of today, albeit a bit cleaner, brighter, and free of poverty and crime. The plot centers on Bernard Marx, a high-level "Alpha" executive at the Department of Hatcheries and Conditioning, and on his relationship with Lenina Crowne, a schoolteacher who is responsible for educating the children grown within the building — a dual role, for as well as teaching them out of textbooks, she is also in charge of the sleep-teaching machines that condition the children at night. Marx and Lenina have been seeing each other almost exclusively for a number of months, a practice that is beginning to attract unwanted attention from some in the strictly promiscuous society. On top of this, Marx is increasingly coming under scrutiny by his boss (the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning) for his wild theories on human psychology and mind control.

The couple vacations at a "savage reservation", which is dirty, poor, and rustic in contrast to the pristine city from which Marx and Lenina hail. Their helicopter crashes, and the couple is rescued from the clutches of a gang of thugs by a young man named John Cooper, who turns out to be the son of a Savage woman who was seduced, impregnated, and abandoned by an unidentified Alpha years ago. Marx invites the Savage and his mother Linda to visit "civilization," so that he may study John's mind and perhaps gain some insight into why the conditioning programs at the DHC seem to be failing.

John is initially excited by the wonders of civilization, but soon finds it boring and shallow without the availability of literature, philosophy, free thinking and especially Shakespeare (he has committed most of the plays to memory). The populace constantly hounds him, seeing him as a new celebrity ready made for popular consumption; his story spawns a feature film and even his own clothing trend. Marx gains the notice of World Controller Mustapha Mond and moves up the ladder, while Lenina finds herself having strong feelings for John and even stronger ones for Bernard. Meanwhile, the DHC, who turns out to be John's natural father, erases his name from the Reservation database, programs a wayward Delta assembly line worker to kill Marx, knowing that if Marx identifies him as a parent, the consequences could be dire (the practice of conceiving children through sex is anathema in the Brave New World: all children are created in "hatcheries" through in vitro fertilization and "decanted" from artificial life support machines), and visits Linda in the hospital, suggesting that she take more soma to forget she ever saw him.

Linda’s constant use of an hallucinogenic drug called soma finally proves fatal. When John visits his mother at the Center for Death (where children are taught that death is meaningless so long as everyone else is alive), he yells at the children who make fun of her, then rushes upstairs to the soma rationing room and tries to rally everyone into giving up the drug. The plot on Marx's life fails, and the DHC is exposed as the father of a Savage, leading to his dismissal and reengineering as a menial laborer. Mond, who also reads Shakespeare, promotes Marx to DHC and pardons John. Seeking to escape the constant pressure, John flees to the countryside, is cornered relentlessly by the press, and is run off of a cliff where he falls to his death. In the end, it is revealed that Lenina is pregnant with Marx's child.

In order to save Lenina and his own career, Marx arranges for her exile to the outside world. Realizing that the world he lives in and life without Lenina is empty, he then arranges his own escape. In the final scene of the film, they are shown walking along a beach as a reunited family. Back in the World State, a child, who is identified in the beginning of the film as Gabriel, can be seen plugging his ears with tissue during a sleep-teaching session.

Differences from the book[edit]

The plot of the film deviates from the novel in key plot aspects. The novel is from 1932 and has a period London and New Mexico. In the book, Bernard Marx's character is significantly less righteous, he harbors a brooding inferiority complex due to his short height, and his feelings for Lenina are more one-sided. He is treated with less respect and is never promoted. Helmholtz Watson, a major character in the book, is removed completely from the film. John's suicide in the movie was caused by falling off a cliff as news groups chased him down rather than John isolating himself from society and hanging himself. The subplot involving the wayward Delta instructed to kill Marx, present in the film, does not exist in the book. Neither does the ending where the young boy identified as Gabriel is seen blocking his ears to keep from being brainwashed by the sleep-teaching methods. In the book Marx and Watson are exiled to islands by themselves. Marx is sent by force, though the World Controller explains that he will probably be happier there.

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