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ZPG: Zero Population Growth [Import]

Oliver Reed , Geraldine Chaplin , Michael Campus    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 44.04
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Retro Futurism at it's bleakest July 4 2002
Format:VHS Tape
I loved this movie and can't really see what was so awful about it. There are times when movies are given the B rating and people seem to just go along with that. I thought Oliver was fab and that the story was sufficiently Retro Futuristic, A'la 70's style, to totally hook me when I first saw it on late night TV in the early 80's.
I loved the staging and the sets, right down to the funky white (read for sterile) outfits and the sociological fly on the wall insight into the lives of the two protagonists desperate to enrich their seemingly emtpy lives/failing relationship by breaking the ultimate taboo. I guess in many ways I was primed for this kind of thing by reading lots of Ray Bradbury growing up and I adored the stark funky realism of the whole gas and curfew thing!
Let me simply say that if you have an Arty eye towards Sci-Fi and the sociological, loved films like Soylent Green and Farenheit 451 then this movie will not dissapoint you! I loved it and I think *getting it* is what this movie requires from the viewer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, but need it on DVD! Nov. 9 2003
Format:VHS Tape
A truly amazing film for lovers of 70's apocolyptic sci-fi. The movie is a must-see for everyone who relishes end-of-the-world, Soylent Green-esque environmental disaster films. Plus, who couldn't love the creepy psychiatrist and the baby-simulacra. One thing, WE NEED THIS ON DVD!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Precursor to "Children of Men" June 25 2008
By Michael L. White - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Set in a dystopian future, Z.P.G. ("Zero Population Growth") tells the Malthusian tale of a world where the planet's natural resources have been consumed to such a critical level that the "World Federation Council" puts a 30-year ban on childbirth in the hopes of curbing the drain. All pre-edict children are marked, and any births after nine months of the edict result in the summary execution of the lawbreaking parents and their offspring. Throughout the smog-filled landscape, desperate people watch for errant infants they can turn in for extra food or oxygen.

In the world of Z.P.G., people spend their free time going to museums where they can see stuffed house pets, demonstrations of how gasoline was used to fuel vehicles, and films of forgotten relics like lakes and streams. Deprived of children, they also turn to technology for comfort. We first meet Russell McNeil (Oliver Reed, displaying none of his usual screen presence) and his wife Carol (Geraldine Chaplin) at Baby Land, a retail store where adults buy surrogate robot children that are creepy as heck as they slowly amble across the floor chanting, "You're my mummy!"

And while births are forbidden, that doesn't mean sex is discouraged. The government even passes out pornography, and state-funded psychiatrists are on call to encourage good behavior. Unfortunately, post-coitus a woman must check for conception, and she presses a handy-dandy "abort" button if such a misfortune has taken place. Kind of takes the fun out of it.

Eventually Carol can't take it anymore, and she insists on having a child. She's surprised by how supportive Russell is. They come up with an elaborate scheme to hide the child, keeping Carol in a concealed room like Anne Frank. It's only when Carol screws up by taking the baby out for an emergency clandestine doctor appointment that the McNeils' secret is discovered. Rather than turning them in, neighbors George and Edna Bordon (Don Gordon and Diane Cilento) blackmail them into sharing parenting with the baby. Eventually the Bordons want the child more and more to themselves, putting the McNeils in quite a quandary.

A response to Paul R. Erlich's 1968 The Population Bomb, Z.P.G. feels like a cross between THX-1138 and Logan's Run. Moreover, it's certain that some of the ideas in the film inspired PD James for her novel Children of Men. Written by Max Erlich and Frank De Felitta, this Scandinavian production has a nice look to it courtesy of director Michael Campus (The Mack), but even with the scope of its screenplay doesn't have enough story to sustain the running time.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Retro Futurism at it's bleakest July 4 2002
By S. White - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
I loved this movie and can't really see what was so awful about it. There are times when movies are given the B rating and people seem to just go along with that. I thought Oliver was fab and that the story was sufficiently Retro Futuristic, A'la 70's style, to totally hook me when I first saw it on late night TV in the early 80's.
I loved the staging and the sets, right down to the funky white (read for sterile) outfits and the sociological fly on the wall insight into the lives of the two protagonists desperate to enrich their seemingly emtpy lives/failing relationship by breaking the ultimate taboo. I guess in many ways I was primed for this kind of thing by reading lots of Ray Bradbury growing up and I adored the stark funky realism of the whole gas and curfew thing!
Let me simply say that if you have an Arty eye towards Sci-Fi and the sociological, loved films like Soylent Green and Farenheit 451 then this movie will not dissapoint you! I loved it and I think *getting it* is what this movie requires from the viewer.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dour, bleak and of it's time... Dec 8 2008
By Bob Eggleton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is an early 70's film that takes place in some unknown, futuristic society on earth. One might assume it's a future England, but there are enough Americans to make it seem it could be anywhere and that maybe so far in the future, borders and countries no longer exist. A totalitarian regime rules this society,it's leaders and enforcers hovering above the smog in some sort of flying machine that is all seeing/hearing and issues commands and announcements on a loudspeaker. To stop the total decline of society, birth is outlawed for 30 years and citizens wanting children are issued bizarre walking/talking dolls. Smoke and fog covers almost everything(which helps instead of building expensive sets)and we are shown museums which are propaganda driven to show the "evils" of the 20th century-one shows a family at a Thanksgiving table-with all kinds of burping and sounds of indigestion playing as visitors walk by and recieve lectures on how those indulgences led to the world they have now. A dinner out, in this society has all the choices of the 20th century-just served up in disgusting blobs of artificial protein paste from tubes. People are also allowed to smoke(why not? It's polluted anyway!)and view pornography to keep their minds off of children. One couple(Reed and Chaplin) however wants a child so badly they concieve one anyway and conceal the pregnancy and eventual birth, knowing that ultimately they must escape this society. In a scene that predates the Internet by decades, Reed attempts to gain access to forbidden information at a computer and in a sudden shocking twist, is literally wisked away to a secret room where he's repremanded, and and attempt is made to re-brainwash him to behave himself, but he holds on to his ideals. Eventually, Reed invents a ruse of him,wife and child, getting caught, and uses this to his plan of escape. We find out later,that this world survived a massive nuclear war-there is a memorial plaque for the burial of "The Last Polaris Missile" and that, in an ending that resembles CHILDREN OF MEN(2006), the family attempts to escape to a wilderness, they can be left alone. Will they get out?

It was a Scandinavian production,done at the obscure Sagitarius Studios-but features alot of British talents both on screen in in the crew(such as Derek Meddings doing some miniature work of the flying machine and a long shot or two of the smog-covered city) as well as Americans.

The film played off alot of Dr Paul Erlich's warnings of that time. Now here, in the 21st century with warnings about climate change, food shortage and so on, it's no wonder the film has found it's audience again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for it's time. June 12 2008
By Earth Guardian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I had this movie on VHS and was glad to finally see it released on DVD. By the way, once this movie was released on June 3rd I searched and I could not find this film anywhere in stores or online except at Amazon.com.
If you like sci-fi movies from the late sixties to the mid-seventies you should like this one. It is not an action/sci-fi film, but the story line is good and acting excellent, especially by veteran actor Don Gordon who you may have seen in a couple of the original Outer limits TV series episodes(1963-64). Oliver Reed's acting was great also. I give it 4 stars rather than 5 only because I wished they had made the android child a little more realistic and maybe a longer role in the movie. But then again this was 1972. Some may say this is a sleeper movie, that it may be. But if you can relax and enjoy an arty, thoughtful and atmospheric sci-fi film like I can, then this one is great and I recommend it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unconvincing But Good Insight Into the Period Nov. 25 2012
By John Cserep - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Produced at the height of the overpopulation scare, ca. 1970, engendered by the awful propaganda of Paul Ehrlich and his ilk, this movie attempts to take things to their logical conclusion if we really become too scared to reproduce ourselves. Since some are still at it - continuing such scare talk today, including a group which actually calls itself 'ZPG' - it might be worth considering one film's view of where it all leads.
The opening depicts an authoritarian government, apparently global, announcing a decision of how to deal with the crisis of overcrowding, depleted resources, pollution and so forth which were so taken for granted as defining our future that no further explanation was necessary to audiences of 1971. The government decides to reject alternatives such as mass sterilization and "euthanasia" (mass murder), in favor of simply outlawing additional births (for 30 years). Why this was chosen is never discussed, but it sets up the plot and our heroes.
Science fiction enthusiasts won't be impressed with the hardware (government announcements, for instance, are made via flying loudspeaker rather than any kind of broadcast). Homes are equipped with some kind of automatic abortion machine, which cleanly does its job via some sort of invisible rays. At least they don't sugar-coat it, as the button is indeed labeled "abortion."
For a world supposedly suffering overpopulation, the one shown is curiously uncrowded. Couldn't the producer hire enough extras? Where are the crowds?!
One interesting thought the movie puts forth, which never quite occurred to me before, is that in such a world where people are considered a blight, medical cures might actually be unwelcome, as they compound the "problem" by helping keep people alive. This may be the most chilling aspect of such a dystopia.
The protagonists' efforts to evade the legal restrictions - and death penalty - for having a child actually seem plausible at first, but how they might ever continue to conceal the child as it grows is never discussed, and makes the idea seem increasingly foolish. In the end, the couple seeks to escape their society altogether, but how that option suddenly appears without ever having come up before is a big plot hole. How is it that there is anyplace to escape to?
So, no award-winning anything here, but at least this movie had the guts to ask what should be obvious questions, which others avoid to this day even as they continue to preach that people are a blight and that some vague day of reckoning awaits us for having too many babies in the world.
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