Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Colony (2013) Review

This week, I threw on my snowsuit and took the dog sled down to the local cinema to check out The Colony (2013) starring Laurence Fishburne and directed by Jeff Renfroe.

The Colony (2013) takes place in a future where the world has entered another global ice age. The struggling remains of humanity have sought shelter in underground colonies. These colonies are slowly dying off due to lack of medical treatments and proper medicine.

When Colony 5 stops responding by radio, Colony 7, led by Laurence Fishburne's character "Briggs", sends out a rescue party across the frozen wasteland to determine what became of them. Hijinks promptly ensue.

I wanted to like this movie. I really did. It's a low budget Canadian production starring two of my favourite actors (Fishburne and Paxton) in a limited release. It's sci-fi in nature, which I love, and the trailer didn't look half bad. Alas, it was just not meant to be.

As with my previous review, Iron Man 3 (2013), I can't really do a proper review without giving away some spoilers. If you plan on seeing this turd of a movie, skip the rest of this!

The story is the real issue here. There are enough plot holes to drive a convoy of trucks through. What's worse is the almost total lack of explanation as to what really happened and why.

I'm usually okay with leaving some plot points to the viewers' imagination. Take The Matrix (1999), for example. Fishburne's character of Morpheus begins trying to explain to Neo what happened to the world and how the machines took over. He admits that it's been a couple of hundred years and record keeping is really dodgy, so they only have scattered facts and a few theories. It's left to us, the viewers, to fill in some of the blanks.

Now take this movie. Nobody stops to explain to the viewer how the world ended up a frozen ice ball. Only that, one day, it started snowing and it never stopped. The problem is, this event occurred within their lifetimes! Both Briggs and Paxton's character "Mason" were serving in the military when the snows began. They helped with the evacuation of civilians, according to Briggs. They were around when this started. Yet they seem fantastically uninterested in how it happened or even how to go about trying to fix it.

There's a hint fairly early in the film as to what might have happened. When our intrepid heroes set out to check up on Colony 5, they pass a huge structure that they identify as a weather controlling machine. When the youngest member of the group says something about checking to see if it still works, Briggs says "It's already done it's damage". This would seem to indicate it was the weather machines themselves that caused the global ice age. This gets taken away later in the film, however, when a message is received from another colony who happened to repair the weather machine near them, creating a thaw and allowing the planting of crops in soil.

So in all the time Colony 7 has been within walking distance of a machine that controls the weather, barely hanging on to life due to the extreme cold and constant snows, not a single person has ever ventured out to see if they could get it working and, I don't know, control the freaking weather. If we're unsure if they could fix it, we only have to look to the satellite in orbit that Briggs managed to fix from the ground and communicate with. Clearly, our man Briggs has some skills to pay the bills.

Then we get to the reason Colony 5 went silent:

Bad guys. Grunting, teeth filed to points, lots of chains and leather wearing bad guys.

In a not so subtle nod to Serenity (2005) and Ghosts of Mars (2001), the main antagonists are deranged dudes bent on killing everything and everyone they come into contact with. They don't speak or plot or plan, they just kill. Somehow, these 20 or 30 mentally unhinged, rabid killers band together and organize themselves into a colony-invading wrecking machine. Again, we rely on the Briggs character for an attempted explanation. He says they've gone "feral" due to the hunger. Oddly enough, we never see any of the baddies stopping to actually eat anything or even anyone. Just lots and lots of stabby stabby.

Oh, did I mention the baddies bring knives and axes to a gun fight? And WIN???

I was hoping for another decent, low budget sci-fi movie with great performances like Moon (2009). What I got was my patience tested and a sense of regret at having paid $9 to watch this.

1.5 out of 5 stars
The Colony (2013)
Reviewed by The Bitter Critic on May 12 2013
Rating: 1.5

1 comment:

  1. Just ended up watching the movie. Completely waste of time, and I guess what led me to see it was the fact that Fishburn was in it.

    I dont agree with you with the fact that the snow was unexplained. I thought it was clear. They mention at some point that men created the environment changing machines to cool off the Earth to the abusive use of fuel (I felt that was the only actual sane message that the movie had). The machines were men playing god, and like in every other movie, when that happens we are presented with another ed of the world apocalypse.

    Now perhaps this can be seen as SPOILERS as the questions are rather action specific.

    But then you have the inconsistencies and lack of information that you well mention. Where do the derranged people come from? How were they able to survive out in the snow in te first place?. How the fuck where they able to leave the blown up factory... or move so fast in the snow? How the hell they were able to cross the bridge with less than half a day delay? How were they able to track the way back to the colony? And how the fuck after such a long walk in the snow they were still fully fit to fight?

    ----- END of SPOILERS -------
    (now the question is... is it possible to spoil even more such a bad movie? )

    Up until the scene at the bridge I thought that the movie wasnt anything great but at least bearable to watch. It completely went downhill from there.