Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Snowpiercer

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Kids getting their snows pierced is just another way of rebelling against their parents.




Snowpiercer – 5 out of 5

Climate Change is a serious thing (I capitalized each word, that's how serious it is!). For some (like almost every scientist in the world), it’s real and it’s a huge threat (it really is). For others, it’s fake (it’s not) and they will go as far as to say it is a conspiracy to make us live ecologically responsible lives and take care of this floating rock that we live on (those monsters!) and they are usually the people who will post a status to showcase what an annoying asshole they are that reads “Where’s this global warming?” when the weather gets cold. Whether you want to deny the facts or not, Climate Change is here and it permeates into our pop culture and worms its way into our Sci-Fi films...even Sci-Fi films that are adaptations of graphic novels.
The sad irony is that, in order to stay warm, the people in the tail section of the
train had to burn graphic novels.

Take a moment and try to imagine the smell that
is in the back of that train...
In an effort to combat climate change, world scientists created a chemical agent that, in theory, would have reversed the effects. Unfortunately, it ended up causing a perpetual winter that froze the world and killed off all living things on the planet. A fortunate few were able to quickly board a train called the Snowpiercer—an experimental train that is capable of being both self-sustaining and capable of traveling along a world-wide expanding railroad track. However, the train runs on a very strict class system and the folks in the back are tired of being the poor and dirty. Curtis (Chris Evans), along with his second-in-command; Edgar (Jamie Bell), lead a team of hungry, angry masses on a bloody battle to get to the head of the train. But to get there, they will need help from a narcotic addict who designed the gate system for the train (Kang-ho Song) and take the train’s minister (Tilda Swinton) hostage. Once accomplished, they will be able go car to car in order to get to the engine and stop the man who started this, the builder of the train and the man behind the curtain; the mysterious Wilford. However, getting to the front won’t be easy as Wilford has followers in place to use lethal force to stop the uprising.
The train operators are trying to explain to her how horrifying her coat is but
she just won't hear of it.

I feel the rich could have easily stop this uprising if
they allowed the poor to hang out in the
aquarium car for an hour or two a week.
Dystopian futures have always been the rage with science fiction films so the real challenge is trying to figure out how to do something unique with them. Hell, even the concept of the lower class rising up in revolt against the entitled masses of the dystopian future is nothing new—that’s The Hunger Games bread and impoverished butter. However, Snowpiercer was able to bring about a Sci-Fi story with some very familiar elements and make it stand out thanks to great characters, incredible performances, and a surreal edge that made the film both light and heavy in tone.
I feel like I'm glossing over the sex appeal factor with Tilda Swinton's character.

It wouldn't be a dystopian post-apocalypse film without
strangely dressed eccentric rich people doing
drugs and rave dancing.
Snowpiercer had it all: There was some funny, lighthearted moments that made me laugh, brutal action sequences that feed the primitive side of me, and some delightfully wicked absurd moments that gave the film an aloof spirit at times. There were moments that were able to be both silly and kinda frightening at times. Whether it be the ridiculous nature of the train itself, its self-sustaining ecosystem, the near religious obsession the passengers have towards the train’s engine and Wilford, or how outrageous the upper class of the train looked (they had a freakin’ dentists office up there), the film and director Joon-ho Bong (who also did The Host, which I highly recommend—no, not that The Host) would, without apology, mix the gritty, dark feel the journey of Curtis, Edgar and the other lower class passengers were engaged in with something that made you wonder if you might have been taking an extremely mild trip. This mixing of tones could have easily worked against the film and come off looking like the film went through two drafts—a dark one and a silly one—and, after a hilarious sequence that involved a lot of slapstick falling about, the pages to the script got mixed together but, in the end, these two elements ended up working in concert and helped to keep the film moving, helped to keep me, a viewer, sympathetic to the new sights the lower class was seeing on their journey to the front (seriously, it really helped to make you feel the confusion they were going through), and, most of all, keep the film’s tone fresh and stop it from ever becoming monotonous and boring.
Believe it or not, there is actual context to this picture...yes, even the shoe
on the head.


The look of a man who realizes he's in too deep or
the look of a dude who is scared that fart that
is loading up may be something more.
Aside from delivering a really great story that was both dark and heavy, and light and strange, the film also delivered great characters that were easy to sympathize with and cheer for. It’s easy to cheer for the poor and abused to rise up and try to take a slice of the pie (unless it’s in real life, then fuck those poor bastards. Right, Fox News and every Conservative friend I have on my Facebook friends list?) but the characters need some detail to keep us invested. If Katniss was just a poor working girl competing in the deadly Hunger Games we might cheer for her survival, sure, but what if she was struggling not only to stay alive but to stay alive so that she could figure out what man she wanted in her life? Well, in that case, we’ll all fall all over ourselves to see that she gets to live so that she can find love. Snowpiercer does this but it’s not for reasons of the heart…unless you count those members who are trying to get their children that were taken away by Wilford.
"If Wilford won't give me back my child, I will have no choice but to prepare him
a very special chocolate pie!"


Along the journey towards the engine and when there was time to kill in-between sessions of fighting and murdering off Wilford’s forces, we get tidbits of the lower class’ history and we see how hard the early days of train life was. Seeing what motivates Curtis along or that maybe drugs aren’t the only thing that gets Kang-ho's character to agree to help them is just another well developed aspect the film has going for it and another thing that kept me glued to the television and completely forsake bathroom breaks. These characters are only enhanced by truly epic performances from the main cast.
Laugh it up and smile your face off, Kang-ho Song.  You've earned it!


Whether it be the brooding and holding-on-to-deep-seated-pain-one-can-see-behind-his-eyes performance from Chris Evans or the wickedly eccentric and colorful performance from Tilda Swinton or the quiet reserve of John Hurt as Gilliam, one of the oldest members of the lower class, or the surprise appearance of Actor’s Name Withheld for Spoilers Purposes as Wilford, each actor was just magical to watch and were capable of making their characters believable in a slightly strange world and were able to keep the film moving forward like some sort of engine-powered vehicle that runs along a predetermined track…what do they call those things again? Oh yeah, a monorail.
The War Doctor is here!  We're saved!

Class Warfare gets bloody in this adaptation of Fox New's
worst nightmare.
Snowpiercer is a dark journey with just enough levity to it to make the build up to the film’s climax feel like it was a mixture of The Matrix sequels with a dash of Willy Wonka and The Wizard of Oz thrown in. The film is exciting with its action and intriguing with its plot reveals and character confessions. While on paper, it may seem like a typical Sci-Fi film that would move along predictable lines, the film proves to be much more and ends up being a bittersweet tale of human survival with a very strong ending.

The film also had an interesting marketing campaign that involved Ed Harris
standing behind people and whispering in their ear that they should
"totally see this movie."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.