(The gist: Snowpiercer bored me. The premise was revealed as banal, recycled apocalyptic themes in ridiculous packaging. People doing awful things to each other when this world ends…this time on a train!)
Most days, I ask my beloved Facebook/Twitter follows wayward questions, centered around things like horror, the apocalypse, maybe survival. One night, I queried for apocalyptic movies about cold weather, global freezing, the like, not knowing of many myself. The Day After Tomorrow came to mind, naturally, but I drew much of a blank after that. Snowpiercer was cited, and that put it on my radar.
After watching the trailer, I was at least intrigued enough to audition the film. Snowpiercer is set after a global freezing apocalypse where the only survivors of humanity are those who boarded a train that makes a yearly loop around the world and their unfortunate descendants. These people are segregated on the train into classes defined by the tickets they initially held. Until Curtis leads a revolt from the back of the train to the engine.
Now, as I type this synopsis, I see where I went wrong thinking this movie had a chance. Typing aloud makes it sound even more ridiculous.
Snowpiercer is just that: ridiculous. The premise hinges on the apocalyptic themes of savagery and inhumanity, the ugliness in people revealed by the end of the world. These are themes I can get behind; these are themes I have written an entire book about (Savages). However, it ultimately just feels like The Hunger Games shoved into a metal train on frozen tracks.
The alternative setting is really the only thing that sets the movie apart from the sea of its apocalyptic brethren. Yet that setting, this frozen train, fails to be fully enthralling. More often, it seems unlikely or silly. The idea that this train continues to move without stopping for 18 years in conditions that eradicated every other species and element on the planet and an ecosystem and the whole of humanity remained locked within it becomes more of a stretch as the movie unfolds.
As the rebels shove their way from train car to train car, I found myself marginally interested enough to keep watching, yet not invested in the characters. Even as key players fell, I just shrugged and continued half-watching as I multitasked. It was not until the climax that the movie actually engaged me. I found the last 15-20 minutes to be the entertaining part of the movie.
But that is not enough.
Eh. Overall, just eh. The premise ended up being pretty silly in execution. While I always enjoy the exploration of the savagery and underlying evil of man, the delivery in this movie lacked charisma, lacked attachment. Ultimately, I was neither very interested nor entertained.