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Terra Nova promo poster’s tagline intrigues

NEWS - TV NEWS

Spielberg explores dystopian themes in a future with dinosaurs?

Steven Spielberg's 'Terra Nova' (2011)

A new promo poster for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming time travel dinosaur TV series Terra Nova has gone online, and it’s quite interesting. The poster itself is fairly standard (people standing around in the middle of an exotic jungle, looking vaguely concerned, with what appear to be pterodactyls flying in the background), but it’s the thought-provoking tagline that’s much more intriguing.

“There is no paradise without sacrifice.”

Promo poster for Steven Spielberg's 'Terra Nova' (2011)Could this be a reference to the Christian idea of Jesus’ death on the cross atoning for the sins of all who repent and believe in him, as the only way to be saved? Probably not, but it’s interesting nonetheless (and would be a bold and welcome theme for a secular Hollywood TV series). More likely, though, it’s some kind of socio-political slogan, from a character (probably Steven Lang’s, from the sound of the character description) trying to bring about some kind of utopia.

Presumably then, the show contains some element of dystopian satire, reflecting the falsely messianic nature of many who claim to be able to bring about heaven on earth (or, in this case, heaven on ‘New Earth’, to translate the show’s Latin title). And as with many promised utopias, people are asked to buy into the fallacious idea that the ends justify the means. (As Serenity’s The Operative says, “We’re making a better world. All of them.”) Of course, especially given humanity’s inherent moral imperfection, this inevitably entails moral compromise, and tends to bring about great suffering, and thus every man-made ‘utopia’ inevitably becomes a dystopia.

Of course, (though less significantly) the tagline could also be meta-textual, reflecting the hugely ambitious nature of the series, requiring a commensurate amount of hard work, financial investment, and studio support to bring to the screen. Similarly, from the audience’s perspective, it could be the kind of show that demands an investment of time and attention at the beginning, as it lays the groundwork for the story, which will then presumably pay off on an epic scale, with emotional resonance and a vividly-realised world.

Or, in a more general sense, it could just mean that everything’s a trade-off, which isn’t that interesting without being placed in a more specific context, like those speculated above.

In any case, Terra Nova looks to be an impressive sci-fi adventure from the man who brought Jurassic Park to the screen, and hopefully that should be accompanied by a storyline that engages with thought-provoking themes.

Terra Nova stars Stephen Lang (Avatar, Conan), Jason O’Mara (Life on Mars, Resident Evil: Extinction), Shelley Conn (Marchlands, Strike Back, Dead Set), and Rod Hallett (The Tudors), and is executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin. Terra Nova will air its 2 hour premiere on 26 September 2011 on FOX in the US.

SFX


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