Saturday, July 19, 2014

Snowpiercer (2013)

I think I can, I think I can... I think... (little engine joke)

First, this movie did drop in 2013. I get that. But with all the back and forth with the studio and the director's determination (with I much respect) to present finished project, well, it took a while to get here. And now here it is, and boy howdy do we seem to have a divide in opinion. One side of the critical universe is praising this as a modern Science Fiction master piece, and the other half, is more or less calling bullshit, and saying it's slightly at par at best... Hmmmm... primetime for Ol' Boonsweet to slide in with his seven cents.

Your plot: The world froze, everyone died. Except for those that made it aboard the train. This train now circles the globe endlessly, to avoid freezing. At the rear of the train, the poor, and starving, live in cramped space and eat protein jellies. At the front of the train, the mysterious Willfort. Who designed the train, and has maintained it for 17 years. Well the folks at the back of the train are done watching people kill them, abuse them, and they are ready to put a crazy plan in motion to reach the front of the train and change shit up.

DO you get the little engine that could title now? No, well, screw it I'm leaving it as is!

Man there are some cool visuals here. As the rebels proceed forward from the back of the train each car is as much a wonder to them as it is to us - the viewers. Joon-ho Bong, the director, has created a film that lives and breaths with this universe. From the little moments to the crazy action scenes, this is an example of a director at the height of his talents. Let me tell you some of the action is top notch, vicious, and violent. You will cringe at least once.

I know what you're thinking. That is not Flava Flav. 
Now before I go any further I need to explain one thing. And man it bothered me. At the beginning of the film when the Rebels (led by the very talented Chris Evans) are planning their escape to the next car, they clearly explain there is a 4 second window to get through three doors. Then when it happens it is definitely... absolutely... for sure... longer than 4 seconds. Ok. I get it. Things like this fall through the cracks. But if you are setting out to create this would be genius of a film, DON"T DO SOMETHING SO BLATANTLY STUPID!

(deep breath)

Ok. So right away I realized there would be some holes in our story here. And there were. Little things, but with how great the performances are, and for the most part the writing... they can be forgiven, mostly... Ah come on I'm a blogger. There has to be ranting of some kind right? Right?

Performances. Top notch. Chris Evans, if you haven't jumped on board his talents, now is the time. The man has been criminally underrated for years... nice to see him get credit as Captain America these days. Sunshine... if you want to see how good Evans has been and for how long, there you go. How about the supporting team Tilda Swinton (as a flamboyant member of the controlling elite), Jaime Bell (as Chris Evans second), Ed Harris... I mean the cast is stacked. There are a few conversations that without the effort of the cast the tone may have been lost. Especially towards the end... Seriously intense stuff.

Um, hey, Bob, did you forget to cut eyeholes in yours too? 
However, there aforementioned issues that really hold this film back from being great, like super duper great. 1. The little silly things I mentioned before... like when it seems they were just Um we are already an hour and a half into this film, damn, let's just jog to the end of the train. Or 2. More or less changing the game in the final act. I get twists. I get the message. The difficulty of difficult choices... Needs of the many out weighing the sacrificing of the many... Blah, blah, but it really does slow the whole thing to a freaking crawl for about 20 minutes.

I mean from full car brawls, and mind bending revelations... to lets sit and talk about our feelings... and then let's talk some more.

But I do think there is enough here, actually more than enough, for me to really say - SEE IT. It's definitely one of the better genre flicks to hit recently, and with the talent in front and behind the camera... worth it. Plus, I couple those twists, caught me... I mean I saw the bigs ones coming, but the little twists... the children for example... (thats all I'm saying)

Is it the masterpiece some would have you believe? Honestly... the grounds are just too trampled. These is grade A standard Scifi plot. Rich society holding down the poor and unfortunate society. In a future post apocalypse. But perhaps that is the reason it is so easy to slide into the narrative without asking too many questions... Hmmmm? Kinda like when James Cameron dressed up the oldest idea in science fiction in real pretty effects and made 2 billion worldwide... :) (zing!)

Easily in the top 5 scifi flicks of the last few years, and heads and shoulders above Elysium (another film that dropped recently with a similar plot, and lets rebel and reach the command centre).

Movie scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Scifi Scale 3.5 out of 5 stars

Choo Choo. My energy train is off the rails... bed time... probably. Maybe...

-Chuck B.

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