Snowpiercer (pay attention Michael Bay!)

Discussion in 'SciFi & Fantasy' started by Magical Realist, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    .. .
    By Rene Rodriguez | rrodriguez@MiamiHerald.com7/2/2014

    "In the near future, mankind attempts to solve the growing problem of global warming by shooting a missile into space that will lower the planet’s thermostat. Instead, the device plunges Earth into another ice age, killing all life except for the people on a huge bullet train that has been circling the globe for 17 years (don’t ask, just go with it). In the rear cars dwell the lower-classes — the poor, the hungry, the sick, crammed into prison-like quarters patrolled by armed guards. They are lectured by an officious bureaucrat (Tilda Swinton, almost unrecognizable), who relishes reminding them of their place on the social strata. Children are taken from the arms of their parents for unknown purposes. The rest are fed black blocks of gelatinous protein three times a day, which they scarf down to avoid starvation, even though it tastes terrible and no one know what they’re actually eating.

    After a man named Curtis (Chris Evans) notices the militia don’t have any bullets in their guns, he orchestrates a rebellion, intent on making his way to the front of the train and seizing control. He’s joined by the enthusiastic Edgar (Jamie Bell), a mysterious elder sage (John Hurt) and a drug-addicted martial-arts warrior (Kang-ho Song). But the train is huge, the journey is long and the perils increase with each new cabin the heroes fight their way into.

    Snowpiercer marks the English-language debut of South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho, who has made everything from giant monster movies (The Host) to police procedurals (Memories of Murder) to creepy psychodramas (Mother). For his biggest and most commercial picture to date, Bong decided to use Hollywood actors, even though the $40 million film was financed independently overseas. Snowpiercer still ran into distribution snags. Harvey Weinstein, who bought the rights to release the movie in the U.S., wanted 20 minutes chopped out, but Bong refused, and the film is going out exactly as he envisioned it, although on far fewer screens than it deserves.

    This one is worth seeking out, though. You’ll need to get past the heavy-handed allegory of rich-versus-poor, which the movie makes easy once the action kicks in. Bong isn’t interested in making a social statement: He wants to put on a show for the audience unlike any you’ve seen before. Although the train’s quarters are cramped, the film feels huge and expansive, and the director comes up with predicaments that make ingenious use of the eponymous vessel (in one scene, a sniper riding in one of the rear cars tries to take out someone in the front while the train snakes its way through a huge curve, so the cars are parallel to each other).

    The interior environment is constantly changing — each new train car serves a distinct purpose and provides a different scenario — and when hand-to-hand combat breaks out, the carnage is bloody but deliriously fun, with the cleaver-on-meat thwack! that today’s CGI-addled action pictures lack. The danger feels real, the deaths sting, and Bong, who has always had a sneaky love for the quick gross-out, takes a minute to show you what would happen to bare human skin if it were exposed to the sub-zero weather outside (the result is not pretty).

    Snowpiercer keeps springing surprises as Evans and his crew fight their way through the train (wait until you meet the cheerful schoolteacher played by Alison Pill, redeeming herself from her annoying character on HBO’s The Newsroom). The film’s big climax is somewhat of a letdown, an overlong bit of business that could have used a slight trim (maybe Harvey was right). But that’s not enough to spoil the great fun and creativity that has come before. Snowpiercer doles out huge concepts and setpieces while staying true to its own inner logic. The movie answers all its questions, no matter how implausible the answers, because Bong not only wants to excite the audience but also respects them. In the thick of summer, while Hollywood is busy cranking out cookie-cutter superhero movies and giant robot sequels, along comes Snowpiercer to show everyone how it’s done. And by casting big stars, Bong pre-empts the otherwise inevitable American remake. Pay attention, Michael Bay: This is what thrilling summer movies look like.

    Cast: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Kang-ho Song, Alison Pill, Ed Harris.

    Director: Bong Joon-ho.

    Screenwriters: Bong Joon-ho, Kelly Masterson.

    A Radius-TWC release. Running time: 126 minutes. In English, Korean, Japanese and French with English subtitles. Vulgar language, heavy violence, gore, adult themes. In Miami-Dade only: Miami Beach Cinematheque.

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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Has been on my radar for a long while, and the review only serves to heighten anticipation.
    But will have to wait as there's still no UK release date.

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  5. Cowboy My Aim Is True Valued Senior Member

    I'd been seeing this movie recommended for me on Netflix for quite a while, but only got around to watching it when Greg Gutfeld sang it's praises on Twitter. I thought it was fantastic.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014
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  7. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Unwatchable, and an implausible premise.
  8. Cowboy My Aim Is True Valued Senior Member

    I'm assuming, then, that you only watch documentaries?
  9. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

    No, the movie really was pretty bad. The characters didn't do anything for human reasons. The engineering was awful, the economics was awful, the science was awful and the society made no sense. There were, however, some nice action scenes and some funny parts of which I hope half were intentionally funny.

    As you see from metacritic, the distribution of user reviews have a more bimodal characterwhich indicates this movie is polarizing on the topic of "did the people who made this share my understanding of what a movie should be." For some, visuals and action are enough. But for a science fiction fan, we expect world-building -- not just a fanciful enumeration of assertions.

    IMDB says this movie is favored more by those with the least experience with reality. And more favored by the general public than IMDB staff who may have more experience with cinema.

    If you can view it as a feature length cartoon with live actors, it might be worth a home rental.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014
  10. Cowboy My Aim Is True Valued Senior Member

    Most sci-fi movies and TV shows have unrealistic economic and scientific situations. At this point, it's seems a bit OCD to worry about it.

    And rebelling against oppression seems like a pretty "human" reason to do something.

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