Review: Sci-fi sequel ‘The Man From Earth: Holocene’ fails to live up to original

David Lee Smith, left, and Michael Dorn in the movie "The Man From Earth: Holocene."
(The Man From Earth: Holocene)

This sequel to the underground sci-fi favorite “The Man From Earth” may be a welcome return of the immortal character John Oldman (David Lee Smith) for fans, but most will be mystified by the waning appeal. “The Man From Earth: Holocene” upgrades its predecessor’s look, expands its locations and adds a few more recognizable faces. Unfortunately, it spends little time on the ideas and debate that made the original film so captivating for audiences who discovered it.

After starting a new life in a new town, 14,000-year-old John Oldman now calls himself “John Young.” Some of his university students begin to investigate their mysterious professor, and uncover the secret that John has worked to protect. Meanwhile, John realizes that his once-invulnerable body is beginning to deteriorate.

“The Man From Earth” is the rare sci-fi film that explores ideas through dialogue, rather than special effects. Unfortunately, its sequel spends most of its time on the obnoxious students and their detective efforts, rather than continuing the cerebral discussion the first movie began.

Returning director Richard Schenkman and his co-writer Emerson Bixby could neither expand upon nor replicate the allure of the original written by Bixby’s father, Jerome. There’s no shortage of areas to explore in philosophy, science and religion, but “The Man From Earth: Holocene” would rather spend its time with unlikable characters than deal with complex concepts.



‘The Man from Earth: Holocene’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes


Playing: Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena

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