Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Year 8, Day 118 - 4/27/16 - Movie #2,318

BEFORE: Well, if "Whiplash" featured two actors from Marvel Comics movies, so does this one - Jamie Bell carries over from "Fantastic Four" where he played The Thing, and he co-stars with the man who used to play the Human Torch, before the last reboot.  That's an odd coincidence. 

THE PLOT:  Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges.

AFTER: I wonder if the Republican Party funded this film - you know, the climate-change deniers.  "See, if we try to fix global warming, we'll accidentally cause global FREEZING!" and that'll be a perfect excuse for many people to just do nothing about the problem.  Me, I'm totally doing something about global warming - I made sure that I bought a house on top of a hill, so if things work out the way I think they will, someday I'll have beachfront property.  

But in this film, it's already too late to fix things, so they loaded up a train, Noah's Ark-style, with all of the resources they could gather, and set that train to run on a continual loop around the world - not a circular loop, that would be ridiculous, because the train can't ride over the oceans.  Come on, get serious.  The train does a loop around the Americas, then crosses over from Russia to Alaska and does a loop around Asia, Europe and Africa.  And the loop takes exactly one year to make, how about that for a coincidence? 

When the film starts, the train is in its 18th trip around the world, and people at the back of the train are starting to wonder what sort of things go on in the front of the train, and questioning what exactly is their role on the train, and what happens to the kids and old people who get "invited" to move up to the front.  (Whatever it is, it can't be good, right?)  Hey, why worry about it, just relax and hand me another protein bar, OK?  

It's hard to take this premise seriously, when you start to think about what track maintenance might be necessary to keep all of the train tracks in the WORLD free of snow, ice and other debris, and if everyone who's still alive is ON the train, that means that nobody is doing that.  A couple of times I think the train had to plow through a snowbank, but what about ice on the tracks?   What if an avalanche covered up a train tunnel with rocks or something?  Then once we get into simple facts about resources, the unwieldy size of this train and the amount of energy it would take to keep this thing constantly moving, it all seems rather impossible.  Did humanity manage to convert to solar or nuclear energy before causing the next Ice Age?  It's pretty unclear.  

And what, exactly, was the plan?  To get people to zone out on powerful hallucinogens and ride in small compartments that look like the drawers they keep bodies in at the coroner's office?  How long can those people last without food, or at least some kind of nutrition taken through an I.V.?  

But maybe we're not meant to take the concept seriously - perhaps it's just a metaphor for the one-percenters who ride up front, and what those people expect from the 99% of people in the rest of the train The class system on the train seems to be very specific too, there are the elites, the soldiers, the chefs and other domestic workers, and then "the rest".  I mean, I guess riding in steerage is better than freezing to death, but when you're viewed as a resource by the upper class, it's not by much.  

I guess it's fun to see the different train cars as the ragtag band of rebellious tail-riders works their way toward the front.  It must have been some set designer's dream (or perhaps a nightmare) to make every car different - this one's a garden, this one's an aquarium - and some are just very surreal, like a whole room full of roast chickens, it's like the Boston Market car.  
Also starring Chris Evans (last seen in "Ant-Man"), John Hurt (last seen in "Immortals"), Ed Harris (last heard in "Planes: Fire & Rescue"), Tilda Swinton (last seen in "Trainwreck"), Octavia Spencer (last seen in "Get On Up"), Ewen Bremner (last seen in "Judge Dredd"), Kang-ho Song, Ah-Sung Ko, Alison Pill (last seen in "To Rome With Love"), Luke Pasqualino, Vlad Ivanov, Adnan Haskovic, Tomas Lemarquis, Marcanthonee Reis.

RATING: 4 out of 10 hard-boiled eggs 

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