This is a movie that takes the “screwed up trying to fix global warming, everything’s frozen, oh shit … ARK!” premise (that’s a thing, right?) and adds a perpetual motion train and a shit ton of social Darwinism … though that comes with any troubled human settlement, so maybe that doesn’t count as an add.
One of the things I liked about this movie is that it is very international. Director Joon-Ho Bong is Korean (directed The Host) adapted the story from a French graphic novel Le Transperceneige. It is a Korean movie, but stars actors like Chris Evans (the lead), John Hurt, Ed Harris, and (my super favorite) Tilda Swinton (seriously, she is the absolute shit, I adore her).
The actors did a good job, all of them. Tilda coming heads above all the rest, let me just say. Some of the dialogue was … corny. There are so many quotes I would put here if they didn’t spoil the movie like nutbunnies. So we’ll just move on.
For what might be considered a “low budget” film (please, it cost over 30 million USD, that’s not low budget to ME, but I guess in the age of THE AVENGERS…), the graphics were pretty darn good. There were some shots in the Engine that weren’t perfect … and one spot where I think blood splatter might have been fake … I couldn’t tell, it just looked weird.
Sound was good. A lot of the fights looked and sounded pretty rough, but in a realistic sort of way. Though I will go ahead and say that there were at least two … three deaths that were complete bullshit. Totally not possible, complete bullshit.
So basically what we have is OHNO GLOBAL WARMING! They put something in the upper atmosphere to cool shit down to “manageable levels”, it goes to far, and plunges the whole planet into an ice age that makes everything extinct. To our knowledge the only things left alive are the people who booked passage on this special train. It is “eternal”, circles the entire planet in a years time, and — like any good post-apocalyptic society — is cleanly divided into an as-usual caste system. Front of the train, the Engine (basically a holy thing) to back of the train, the Tail … where all the poor and unwashed live.
Chris Evans is one of our poor, unwashed. (Yet his beard is well groomed, as are all beards … I can’t say that of many of the bearded men I know in this pre-apocalyptic world.) He, like many oppressed before him, plans to rebel. To take the front of the train. To take the Engine. And when he gets there, he will bring equality.
To do this, he must overcome Tilda and her Guard Unit people. And rescue the imprisoned security expert Namgoong, who will open the doors between cars. They also grab Namgoong’s daughter because why not? Also, she’s sorta clairvoyant or something. That’s never explained. Possibly has something to do with Yona and her father being addicted as hell to the Train drug of choice, made of industrial waste. Yum. Super-Meth!
Anyhow, you go through the train, seeing the amazing difference in quality of life between the Engine and the Tail. Saunas and Raves and Sushi in the front vs. protein bars (jello jigglers!), fun vs oppression, etc etc. People die, there are moving “closing dead peoples’ eyes” moments, the usual.
But the ending is worth it. It’s ballsy. It’s stupid. It’s pointless. Hopeless. But ballsy.
Interesting to note:
Kinda stupid to be all disgusted by how the protein bars are made, really. All things considered.
It’s nothing that hasn’t been done before (sept the train, I think… I don’t remember ever seeing another Train-Ark before … usually boats …), but there’s something about it that kept me watching, despite the steady stream of cliches. If you’re not strapped for cash, I’d be willing to recommend this movie. With the caveat that it IS a big post-apocalyptic, social Darwinist cliche, all it needs is a black and red flag, or a Guy Fawkes mask or something to push it over the line of unwatchable.
But yeah, I’ll probably go watch it again. I love a cliche. Do you know how many times I’ve seen White House Down? Hahaha!
Fuck, I loved this movie.