starlady: Mako's face in the jaeger, in profile (mako mori is awesome)
[personal profile] starlady
Snowpiercer (2013)
I've been wanting to see this movie for more than a year, and it did not disappoint. It stars Chris Evans as the de facto leader of a ragtag band of revolutionaries on a postapocalyptic perpetual train struggling to make their way to the front of the train, and it's really, really good. It was made outside the Hollywood system by Korean director Bong Joon Ho, and it's consequently refreshingly unlike most Hollywood movies, and most Hollywood SF in particular. It features a fairly diverse cast and a fairly realistic postapocalypse, I think, and equally importantly, Chris Evans is amazing. I knew he could act before, of course, but he can really, really act, and the rest of the cast is equally good, particularly Song Kang Ho as the train's renegade locksmith, and of course Tilda Swinton, whose role was genderflipped for her. I also really appreciated the way that the film used the affordances of what movies can do to its advantage; there are indeed a lot of chinks in the worldbuilding, but you're so transported by the movie (har) that those only occur to you after you've left the theater. And while it is violent (most revolutions are), the movie focuses not on the violence itself, as do Hollywood movies, but on its psychological impact, and cost. I also really appreciated the film's willingness to delve into other moods along the way, including more than a touch of the surreal. Really, really good. 

I've seen a lot of criticism of the film's critique of capitalism and the class system; it's certainly true that Snowpiercer is not an accurate representation of how either is created or maintained. But on the other hand, it's 2014, and I don't need a movie about a postapocalyptic perpetual train to tell me that capitalism is bad. We've punched that ticket already, methinks. But I will say that I liked the movie's ending particularly for what it said about how to deal with oppressive systems. 

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
I've heard good things about this movie on Twitter, and all in all it did not disappoint. Equally importantly, it's actually based on a Japanese light novel, All You Need Is Kill, and I wanted to support the continuing adaptation of Japanese SF to Hollywood, too. It stars Tom Cruise as a hapless U.S. army media relations officer conscripted into the final invasion of Europe, humanity's last hope against an insidious alien invasion. Along the way he acquires the aliens' own powers, and Emily Blunt is the battle "Angel of Verdun" who has the plan to use it to end the war. You can see its Japanese origins in the fact that about 75% of the movie is a training sequence of one form or another, although I agreed with people who said that it needed more Emily Blunt and less Tom Cruise. (But then, when do you not need more Emily Blunt? Never, that's when.) It would make a good Club Vivid vid, although it totally trivializes violence in the Hollywood way that I scorned above, but all in all it was a clever and enjoyable movie, I thought.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-10 13:06 (UTC)
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)
From: [personal profile] troisroyaumes
Song Kang Ho as the train's renegade locksmith

Whoa I didn't realize he was in this movie! Must watch. Thanks for the rec!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-10 14:44 (UTC)
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
From: [personal profile] lnhammer
Wait -- Edge of Tomorrow is All You Need Is Kill? done by Hollywood?



(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-10 17:41 (UTC)
sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
From: [personal profile] sasha_feather
I loved Snowpiercer too! I loved the twists and turns in the plot. I loved the teamwork. It was beautiful and interesting seeing all the different cars. What a great experience of a film.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-11 04:42 (UTC)
kuwdora: Pooka - card 60, brian froud (Default)
From: [personal profile] kuwdora
mind if i quote some of your pithy snowpiercer remarks on [community profile] metaquotes?

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-13 16:53 (UTC)
barometry: solid wall of paperbacks stacked up (Default)
From: [personal profile] barometry
I finally saw Snowpiercer yesterday! After trying and failing to see it in two separate local Cambridge theatres (I'm down here for a few days), M. and I finally just rented it from Google Play.

I'm really glad to have finally seen it. I'd been especially curious since seeing various people's comments on twitter, and I think it lived up to those comments. I definitely noticed the chinks in the worldbuilding while I was watching, but I was able to focus enough not to care particularly.

(And Edge of Tomorrow is indeed amazing, though I agree it needed a higher Emily-Blunt-to-Tom-Cruise ratio. Emily Blunt was fantastic in that movie.)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-15 07:40 (UTC)
swan_tower: (Default)
From: [personal profile] swan_tower
Revisiting this post because I hadn't seen the movie at the time, but now I have, and I wanted to re-read your comments in light of the experience.

there are indeed a lot of chinks in the worldbuilding, but you're so transported by the movie (har) that those only occur to you after you've left the theater.

Sadly, this was not remotely true for me. The gaps aren't so much chinks as the Grand Canyon, and while I recognize that the film wasn't trying to be solid in that regard, I kept bouncing out. You call it "a fairly realistic postapocalypse," but I felt exactly the opposite: I thought the apocalypse was pure handwavium, the survival solution was completely nonsensical, the system to control the train was absurd, and the ending was an attempt to gesture at hope that wound up making the pre-apocalypse people look thoroughly stupid. (If a polar bear is still alive eighteen years later, then there must have been reasonably abundant life still in the sea or wherever -- which directly contradicts the "zomg all life on the planet died" opening.) To the extent that I enjoyed it -- which I did, reasonably well; the performances were good, there were cool visuals, and some memorable moments -- I had to take it as not realistic in the slightest, but rather as a metaphor writ large, with logic decidedly optional.

I liked the ending up through them crashing the train, because yes: by that point, I was firmly of the opinion that the whole shebang deserved to go up in flames. Could have done without what came after, though. Kyle accused me of being dark for saying I wanted the credits to roll on the last bits of the train grinding to a halt in the snow, but I told him what followed would be either darker or a cop-out -- because the only paths forward from there were either "and then the few survivors of the train starve to death in an environment that doesn't kill them immediately but can't support life either, especially with their complete lack of survival skills" or some cheap indication of hope. I'm not positive the polar bear was meant to the be the latter -- it might have been "life will go on, even though the human race will be extinct in a month" -- but either way, I could have done without it.

(And now we find out whether you still get comment notifications on posts this old.)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-27 05:10 (UTC)
swan_tower: (Default)
From: [personal profile] swan_tower
he said that the ending was meant to signify the extinction of white people

Hah. So, uh, people on other continents were less stupid about the apocalypse? Or something?

I think what I was getting at with the "fairly realistic postapocalypse" comment is that it isn't a Hunger Games-style setup, or weirdly white majority; it clearly is riffing on existing global systemic inequalities but is also cognizant of the fact that the world has more than just white people in it. And things are pretty bad; it's not like "oh, the world ended" and then somehow people have still managed to preserve an advanced society (I'm looking at you, Divergent and The Giver).

Well, if we're setting the bar that low. :-P

Insofar as it acknowledges inequality and the existence of people who aren't white, yes, it is much more realistic than many dystopias/post-apocalypses. And I guess I should acknowledge that when you say "realism," that isn't the first thing my thoughts went to; I was looking at other angles (the ones we stereotypically mean when we say "realism," which do reflect a certain bias). I didn't find the logic of the setup any less silly than the Hunger Games, though -- just silly in different ways.

Implausibility is a weird thing. Some forms of make me go "whaaaaa? No. Just no." Others make me shrug and move on. Some make me giggle in glee. It's hard to predict which one will have which effect.


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