Plot: If you talk to most people about comic books, they’ll champion DC or Marvel, which makes sense, as they’re the most well known labels. But beyond those titans are a slew of of other imprints, including the legendary 2000 AD. In Future Shock! The Story of 2000 AD, we’re given a candid look inside the creation of the comic and how it impacted the business, not to mention pop culture in general. Even if you haven’t heard of the comic, odds are you’ve heard of some of the characters or talent involved. Some of the creations include Judge Dredd and Halo Jones, while names such as Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore were involved on the creative side. Future Shock takes us through the journey the comic took over three decades and counting, from those on the inside, pulling no punches and offering a raw look at 2000 AD.
Entertainment Value: Future Shock! is a release that anyone with even a casual interest in comic books or the creative process will want to own, the insights within are excellent and it entertains throughout. What really makes this documentary work is that this isn’t a third person look at 2000 AD, instead the voices of those who founded, contributed, and were inspired by the comic are on hand to tell their stories. That kind of insight is exactly what documentaries need, as these are the real tales of 2000 AD from those who lived them, great stuff. The bulk of Future Shock! is made up of interviews with a wealth of participants, such as Pat Mills, Neil Gaiman, Cam Kennedy, Dave Gibbons, Grant Morrison, and others. While this isn’t an exhaustive collection of 2000 AD mainstays, it is a wide scope and enough folks to paint an in depth look. These interviews are insightful and well edited, put together in a way that keeps a brisk pace but never sacrifices depth of conversation. In addition to the interviews, Future Shock! weaves in some photos and of course, some of the epic comic art created. This all combines to produce a movie that informs, but also greatly entertains.
All too often, these kind of documentaries can turn into fan service, offering only the positive side of the stories. But Future Shock! avoids that pitfall and is able to show affection to 2000 AD, but also reveal the less positive elements. This includes talk of low payment for artists, the lack of female artists, and credit issues, so the movie doesn’t softball the more controversial topics. This is to the film’s benefit, as it allows a fuller perspective and to appreciate the great aspects of 2000 AD, you need to know the not so glamorous parts as well, I think. While fans of comic books and 2000 AD in general are going to be most interested, I do think the potential reach of Future Shock! goes beyond that core audience. The movie explores the creative process in unique ways, so anyone with an interest in that would be entertained here. The movie also deals with some big, colorful personalities in a creative field, which combines with the polished editing to deliver a fun to watch flick. But the focus is on the creative process of comic books in specific, so of course those who have a passion for the field are the prime demographic, to be sure. I would recommend Future Shock! to anyone who likes comic books, the creative process, or great documentaries in general.