I had never heard of the film Snowpiercer until my friend Ethan suggested that we see it. It looked a bit too dark for my tastes (Nolan destroyed my ability to tolerate dark movies), but I agreed because I was pretty pumped to see a movie and he really didn’t want to see Trans4mers. The film is based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, about an environmental disaster causing a new ice age, forcing what’s left of humanity to hop on board a giant train. The story follows a small group of people who revolt, but unlike the films, in the comics everyone dies from a virus. And there’s a second train. And it’s somewhat safe to go outside. Bong Joon-Ho took some creative license, obviously.
That being said, the film is pretty good. The over-the-top violence is a blast, at times it makes you think, and the rest of the time it kinda sucks. The first twenty minutes or so are way too dark, and when there are bits of humor, it feels very out of place. The setup doesn’t make a ton of sense. The length of the train seems to vary wildly throughout the film. The protagonist is bland as fuck. And the ending reaches A.I. levels of ridiculousness.
At the end, the train crashes. Then we fade to black for a few seconds. Now wouldn’t that have been a good ending? Not knowing whether or not anyone survived, left to wonder what happens next? But nope, it turns out that the Asian girl and the black kid make it out OK, and it turns out that the temperature has risen so much in the past ten years, that they can now walk around without hoods! By the way, that guy’s arm at the beginning of the movie got frozen solid in a matter of minutes, so how does that work? Anyway, they see a polar bear, and then the movie ends. But wait, where did the polar bear come from? Polar bears don’t just pop out of nowhere. The answer must be that the polar bears were there all along, which would indicate that it’s not actually that cold.
Now on to the premise. Essentially, the governments of the world send a chemical into the air to prevent global warming, but it winds up freezing the planet, killing everyone. Wait a minute, did they not test this chemical at all? Did they not have any backup plan in case something like this happens? Did everyone agree to send this mysterious chemical into the air all over the world? The only survivors are the ones who boarded a privately-owned, privately-funded, 1001-car train. Whose designer has never been in the back of it. Quickly a caste system develops, and most of the passengers are left to wallow in the filthy back cars and eat weird protein bars made of insects. And when I say “quickly,” I mean “App Development and Condiments” quickly. Seriously, how did they get so many people to agree to this shit? I mean, obviously they didn’t, because there have been more than three revolutions over the course of 17 years. One would think that the powers that be (all two of them) would have made some sort of changes to prevent more revolutions, which waste precious bullets and cause damage to the train.
On to the tone of the film. At the start, the movie is hella dark. It slowly becomes lighter and more over-the-top, but in one particularly gory and dismal scene, the main character (Chris Evans) trips on a fish. They TRIP ON A FISH. I’m not making this sound sillier than it is. HE TRIPS ON A FUCKING FISH IN THE MIDDLE OF A MASSIVE BRAWL. Don’t get me wrong, it’s funny, but it’s so out of place. And then later on, when it seems like the film has made a permanent lighter shift, there’s a scene all of a sudden where Chris Evans and Song Kang-ho just sit down and start talking about their life. It’s not out of nowhere or anything, but we were in the middle of a pretty action-and-humor-heavy portion of the film when they just sat down and started being all emotional and shit all of a sudden.
Chris Evans is the main guy, and he has absolutely no personality, especially compared to the other colorful characters in the film. It really made me wonder, why didn’t they just make one of them the protagonist? Why did this character have to be in the movie at all? A lot of action heroes are bland, going all the way back to Luke Skywalker, but rarely this bland.
In one scene, Chris Evans and a generic bad guy we never learn anything about start shooting each other from opposite sides of the train whilst the train goes up a spiral. So, they must be several dozen cars apart, right? So it’s no wonder that the bad guy CATCHES UP WITH THEM ALMOST IMMEDIATELY. In fact, Evans makes it from the very back to the very front in one day. I mean, the movie never clarifies that the train has 1001 cars, but it clearly has at least a hundred.
But in spite of all that, I give this movie a B. It’s pretty enjoyable, if you can get past a few flaws here and there. And you might as well leave after the train crashes, because the ending won’t be at all satisfying. Coming up: reviews of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Sex Tape, Lucy, and possibly others. Like if you like, favorite if you favorite, follow if you follow, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and as always…
Liek dis if u cry everitime.