Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"This is disorder"

Director: Joon-ho Bong
Cast: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Kang-ho Song, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Alison Pill
Released: June 27, 2014

Spoilers ahoy!

After hearing about this movie on the many movie review podcasts I listen to and after seeing the trailer, I knew I had to see it. I mean, don't you want to see it too after watching this:

It was Tilda Swinton who sold me. Yes, that woman with the large glasses, buck teeth, and funny accent is Tilda Swinton.  She plays one of the more higher-class citizens who lives on the train known as the Snowpiercer, and as you saw from the trailer, likes to keep everything in order. She believes everyone has their place on the train and that they should all stay where they are.

The movie takes place 17 years in the future and the whole world has iced over due to a government experiment...I honestly don't remember why or what happened, but basically, whatever they did, it caused the entire globe to become a popsicle. (Well, at least Elsa from Frozen would love it!) Most of the world's population died, but the few who were left, boarded the Snowpiercer. It is captained by Wilford (Ed Harris) who built the train's everlasting engine. In a propaganda video we see, the train (I don't know how many cars there are, but it's a fairly long train) travels along a track that goes across the entire world (it helps when the oceans are frozen to do that, I suppose). They have set it up so that  the Snowpiercer crosses a certain section of the world on a certain holiday each year. This way, when they pass a certain landmark, they know it's the New Year and can celebrate another successful year aboard the train.

Now before we get any further, I have to nitpick about a couple of things. The first being, how did the people on the train get chosen to be on the train? Were there not that many survivor that they were all allowed on it? Was there a lottery system? Also, how in the hell did they build the track, especially when it goes over the ocean? Did they do this after the world froze over? (Well, they must have). But that doesn't make sense because they say that anybody who goes outside dies instantly as is evident whenever they pass a bunch of frozen people outside who escaped from the Snowpiercer and didn't make it 100 yards before they froze and died! And how long did it take to build this track? We are not provided with any of these questions. We get a two minute backstory of what happened 17 years ago, then we jump into the "present" on board the train with our characters.

There is a caste system on the train. The wealthy, more affluent people live near the front of the train, which has the nicer, plusher cars while the lower class citizens live in the "slums" of the train, the very rear. They are all crammed together with bad lighting. Everyone is dirty and wears tattered clothes. They are given what are called protein bars to eat and they look like the most disgusting things ever. Imagine a brick of black jello. They even have that jell-o texture. I would probably puke if I had to eat one of those! I would rather starve than eat one of those! We later learn that they are made out of ground up insects so if you thought they were already unappetizing...
Captain Snowpiercer!

Our protagonist, Curtis is played by Chris Evans. Can I just say that as an emaciated (okay, obviously Christ Evans is not emaciated, but Curtis is probably suppose to be on the skinny side since he doesn't get fed very much!) guy with blood and sweat on his face throughout most of the movie, he is much more better looking than he is as the buff, blond, blandy mcbland Captain America? Like 10000 times better looking? I think it's the facial hair. And the fact he looks (much!) better with darker hair than blond. Blond hair is not our friend, Chris Evans! Curtis boarded the train when he was 17, so he has spent 17 years living in the outside world and 17 years living on the train, so after doing a quick sum in my head, that makes our hero 34 years old. Curtist leads a revolt to take over the train from Wilford. He is a mystery to the viewer and we only hear little snippets about him. The characters played by Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, and John Hurt are also part of the revolt. Tanya (Spencer) wants to go because her son has been taken by the people who work for Wilford. Now you may be wondering why people are allowed to procreate on a train that can hold so many people, but young children, as we will see later, are very vital for the success of the train.

Many people want to stop them from getting to the front of the train and therefore ensues many bloody battles (and deaths!). After a quick stop at another car near the back of the train, they recruit Kang-ho Song's character who built the train's security system  and can get them through the doors. He and his seventeen year old daughter (she looks more like she's 12 to me!) join them. They are both addicted to a drug called Kronole which Curtis offers them in service for their help.

They capture Tilda Swinton's cartoonish, Harry Potter character-esque character, Mason, who is Wilford's right hand (wo)man and make her lead them to Wilford. What I like is that we go through all the cars in the same order as our characters: from the back and onward to the front. The movie never jumps from the back, then to the front, then to a random car in the middle like I thought maybe it would. So we're seeing each train for the first time as are our characters. (Well, the ones who survive....we lose a few key players along the way). My favorite car was the aquarium car, complete with a sushi bar. There's also a classroom car (Alison Pill plays the teacher with the propaganda video and gun hidden in a basket of eggs...don't ask...), a dance club car, a sauna car, a beauty shop car...pretty much anything you can think of.


Now I knew Swinton was going to get her comeuppance, but she dies much too soon for my liking. And Jamie Bell dies really early in the movie...once they start the revolt, he was one of the first to get killed. That made me sad. I like Billy Elliot! And Tanya dies and it was sad because she never got to rescue her son. Soon it's only Curtis and the Korean father and daughter. Curtis finds Wilford and it is revealed that Curtis and the other low-class citizens had to engage in a bit of cannibalism to keep everyone alive. He says babies taste the best as he ate baby Billy Elliot's arm and killed Billy Elliot's mother (which Billy Elliot never knew). Curtis felt guilty about that and that's why he took Billy Elliot under his wing. He also feels guilty about never having the courage to cut off his arm or leg  to feed to the others as many of them had.  We find out that Wilford has been keeping Tanya's son under the train to keep the train going because only small children can fit in there. Curtis rescues him and in the process, his arm gets all messed up because of the mechanisms.

Meanwhile, the Korean father and daughter blow up the train because Kronole is not only a drug, but also an explosive! Everyone aboard the train dies except Korean daughter and Tanya's son. They go outside and see a polar bear so we know it is possible that life can live outside the Snowpiercer. So we have a 17 year old girl and 5 year old boy who are suppose to repopulate the earth? Or you're probably what I was thinking: That bear is going to eat those kids.

This movie starts on the right track, but starts to loose steam towards the end. Yes, those puns were intended.

1 comment: