The Colony – 2 out of 5
I just have to assume that The Colony was made because some Canadian writers and filmmakers had some extra cash and time to waste in-between hockey games and other Canadian stereotypical activities…like being really nice.
|Underneath all that snow, thousands and thousands of pounds of poutine.|
The Colony takes place in the not to distant future where mankind built machines that control the weather (somewhere, Cobra Commander is shedding a single tear of happiness) but these devices breakdown and it starts snowing…and never stops (now CC is crying tears of pain). The luckiest of the population are able to get to underground locations to fight off the cold and exchange freezing to death for the common cold becoming an epidemic, food shortages and much more slowly freezing to death.
|First xenomorphs, then tornadoes and now snow storms? Mother nature has|
a hit on Bill Paxton.
Colony 7 is lead by two military men; Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) and Mason (Bill Paxton). While Briggs tends to be the more compassionate of the two, Mason seeks to rule their compound with an iron fist that is needed to combat the cold. One day, they received a distress call from Colony 5 and Briggs takes a young man named Sam (Kevin Zegers) and another faceless character who is sure to die with him to investigate the call. Once there, they learn that another outpost was successful in repairing one of the weather machines and the overcast days can be melted away to blue skies. However, they also learn that some people haven’t taken to the change in weather as well as others and have turned to a life of murder and eating human flesh…and now it seems they have accidentally led them back to Colony 7.
|"Before we head over to Colony 5, I need to stop by Zion and take care of a |
While I didn’t think this film was going to be incredible, I did think it held the potential to be an average movie that might be entertaining—or, at least, entertaining enough where I felt I didn’t just waste my time (but, then again, I felt it could have surprised me). While all the ingredients are there; two great actors leading the film and a decent sci-fi premise, the execution felt rushed and only partially completed. It honestly felt like half a movie.
|The bridge seems to be immune from collecting snow. What sort of future material|
is this bridge made of and why wasn't EVERYTHING in this movie made of it?!?
The Colony has great special effects and the tone of the film is fantastic. It’s dirty, grimy and just feels cold—like the weather and the locales of the film—BUT, the film is viciously underdeveloped. The story doesn’t need much to make it move, it’s simple and that’s fine but the characters—both the pro and antagonists—don’t really have much going on for them. The cannibals are just faceless bad guys who have no real backstory (and that works sometimes) and one of them looks like he’s trying to go for a look that can only be called Nazi Chic.
|Okay, it's more like homeless Nazi Chic.|
But this just ends up making their presence in the story feel like they were a last minute addition because their budget couldn’t afford something more horrifying or interesting to discover when Briggs and the guys got to Colony 5.
|And they really set the bar high for the monsters in Colony 5, too. I mean, look at|
Death here. He's seen some shit and if it scares Death, it has to be some scary shit.
A lack of development is most apparent when it concerns the biggest names in the film: Fishburne and Paxton. Both men are incredible actors and don’t disappoint in the film, however, their characters have nothing going for them. When the movie starts, it seems that they both are going to have some meaningful characteristics and some growth will happen to them as the film ventures forth but nothing really happens to them.
|Fishburne, seen here trying to bring Cowboy Curtis back to the surface.|
Fishburne seems like he had a few hours to kill and showed up to film his minor role one afternoon (he's still good but this film desperately needed more of him in the story...at least a weekend's worth of filming). Paxton, on the other hand, gets to see his character go from a brash, aggressive leader to a violent dictator…but we don’t get to see it happen. When the character of Sam returns from Colony 5, Mason is no longer the man he was when he left, he’s actually worse. Nothing wrong with that change but the problem comes because this alteration happens when he’s not being seen in the film. It just felt lazy. The group leaves for Colony 5 and something meaningful possibly happened that forced Mason to get more extreme but why bother showing it? It would have been nice to see a little inter-cutting between the doomed mission to Colony 5 and the tension roiling around Mason at Colony 7 that forces him to tighten the reins to the point they're choking.
|"Um...game over, man?"|
Then you have Kevin Zegers. He's...well...he's just kinda there and he's not really doing anything special. Actually, the snow in the film is a little more lively and convincing...the snow drifts give off more emotion, too.
|The lifeless gray and cold backgrounds were kinda--oops, sorry, that's actually|
a picture of Kevin Zegers.
That’s the real killer of this movie. The Colony could have be a mildly entertaining sci-fi film about survival in a post apocalyptic world. While this formula is overly familiar and kinda cliché, it could have worked to a minor extent—especially since the special effects look great, the acting is decent and the beginning of the film sets up a great tone and atmosphere for the story. However, the film felt rushed. The movie didn’t even feel like it was the first draft of the script but rather a crude outline written on the back of a piece of scrap paper.