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The Adjustment Bureau

 
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chiarizio
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:48 pm    Post subject: The Adjustment Bureau Reply with quote

I just finished watching The Adjustment Bureau.

All of the “members” of the Adjustment Bureau look like human men in business suits. (The only exception mentioned is the Chairman, who apparently can look like anything, but usually looks like some kind of human — with lots of variety. )

They say they aren’t human, but they’re similar. They don’t lead with their emotions the way humans do, but they have human emotions. They don’t live forever but they live a lot longer than people. As a bureau they’ve been around at least since before there were quite humans. It’s not clear how many individual members have been around longer than that.

I’m wondering; Are they a single-sex species? Do they reproduce only asexually? Is it just that all their secondary sexual characteristics are covered up by business suits? Do both sexes have masculine-sounding-to-us voices? How about facial hair? Or male-pattern baldness?

Maybe they’re angels? One of them says “we’ve been called that”. Then would they have any need at all for genitalia? If they did, would they be non-lactating hermaphrodites?

Maybe they’re like LotR dwarves or D&D dwarves? But then, why only flat chests?
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:21 am    Post subject: Re: The Adjustment Bureau Reply with quote

chiarizio wrote:
I just finished watching The Adjustment Bureau.

All of the “members” of the Adjustment Bureau look like human men in business suits. (The only exception mentioned is the Chairman, who apparently can look like anything, but usually looks like some kind of human — with lots of variety. )

They say they aren’t human, but they’re similar. They don’t lead with their emotions the way humans do, but they have human emotions. They don’t live forever but they live a lot longer than people. As a bureau they’ve been around at least since before there were quite humans. It’s not clear how many individual members have been around longer than that.

I’m wondering; Are they a single-sex species? Do they reproduce only asexually? Is it just that all their secondary sexual characteristics are covered up by business suits? Do both sexes have masculine-sounding-to-us voices? How about facial hair? Or male-pattern baldness?

Maybe they’re angels? One of them says “we’ve been called that”. Then would they have any need at all for genitalia? If they did, would they be non-lactating hermaphrodites?

Maybe they’re like LotR dwarves or D&D dwarves? But then, why only flat chests?


I remember seeing (at least parts of) that movie a while back.

I honestly think the best we can do is but speculate as to the nature of the adjustors.

Given only the evidence in the movie, I can see what you're proposing as a viable possibility. Nothing is said specifically to the contrary. Them being "similar" to humans could simply be reference to their external appearance.

On the other hand, without anything specific to go on, one could posit any number of scenarios. It could be that their "similarity" to humans extends to there being two basic sexes & genders (with some wiggle room for a couple extensions). How then to explain only "males" in suits? Perhaps, like in some human cultures, this kind of job could be "man's work". "Females" might have other functions within the Bureau that we don't see. Perhaps they have other functions in society that "males" can not attend to and thus they make no appearance within the movie.

I don't think they're angels. One, they don't have wings. Two, and more importantly, their function seems to be quite unangelic as I recall from the movie. There are, of course, a lot of (quasi-) religious themes brought up (free will being, apparently, one of the more important) and speculations surrounding the Bureau (that the Chairman is God, that the agents are angels, etc.) I find the basic premise to be in sufficient conflict with known revelation and ordinary reason that I can just enjoy it as a good fictional story and leave it at that. Although the director is said to have said "intention of this film is to raise questions" it doesn't really raise any questions of a spiritual or theological nature that I can find.

Honestly, while I don't have any sensible answers, I think your questions posed above are probably the most interesting and thought provoking questions I've seen as regards the movie!
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chiarizio
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!

Their basic skeletal plan seems very similar to the human one.
And they claim their minds are similar; similar (but superior) reason, similar emotions, similar but longer memories. Emotions subservient to reason, though.
For them to move so similarly to humans, I think that, except for smallish details, their bones and voluntary muscles and sinews and ligaments and so on, must have been similar to humans’. And they seemed to have a similar racial variation.

That’s it for story-supported similarities.
Like you say there could be others consistent with the story,
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chiarizio wrote:
Thanks!

Their basic skeletal plan seems very similar to the human one.
And they claim their minds are similar; similar (but superior) reason, similar emotions, similar but longer memories. Emotions subservient to reason, though.


Longer memories, of course, stands to reason on account of their longer existence! Other aspects could be ascribed either to nature or to discipline.

Quote:
For them to move so similarly to humans, I think that, except for smallish details, their bones and voluntary muscles and sinews and ligaments and so on, must have been similar to humans’. And they seemed to have a similar racial variation.

That’s it for story-supported similarities.
Like you say there could be others consistent with the story,


What remains an unknown is, vis-a-vis the nature of their organisation and the nature of their chairman, is are they are simply slightly superior humanoids or are they some kind of othernatural being (whether supernatural like angels or whether supertechnological like vat generated superbeings (as we see in Star Wars, etc.)).
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chiarizio
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes.
If their external similarities are the result of convergent evolution, they might have considerable splanchnic variations.
Also, since the chairman seems to be a shapechanger but the other members aren’t, maybe the chairman is a different species than most of the members.
—————
Given their much longer lifespans, and their lack of sufficient manpower to monitor most people most of the time, they must not reproduce very often.
And if the females do work that doesn’t show up in the movie, it doesn’t appear to be in the Bureau at all. (Assuming that they have females, and that every member we see in the movie is male.). Because we see members whose jobs are exclusively internal to the bureau; and we also see former field agents promoted quite high up.
There are many possible lines of speculation.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chiarizio wrote:
Yes.
If their external similarities are the result of convergent evolution, they might have considerable splanchnic variations.
Also, since the chairman seems to be a shapechanger but the other members aren’t, maybe the chairman is a different species than most of the members.



Could be! Or simply has an ability or learned a technique that others haven't.

Quote:
—————
Given their much longer lifespans, and their lack of sufficient manpower to monitor most people most of the time, they must not reproduce very often.


Or perhaps the Bureau don't pay well enough for many to join up?

Quote:
And if the females do work that doesn’t show up in the movie, it doesn’t appear to be in the Bureau at all. (Assuming that they have females, and that every member we see in the movie is male.). Because we see members whose jobs are exclusively internal to the bureau; and we also see former field agents promoted quite high up.
There are many possible lines of speculation.


Fractally so!

I think, ultimately, too many lines of speculation are apparent for anything to make sense vis-a-vis the film's canon.

If future moves should be made, or some kind of on-line presence is unveiled (a la Pottermore for the Wizarding World), then speculations might prove to be more fruitful!
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