Friday, October 9, 2015

Movie Reviews: The Colony, The Day After Tomorrow, Doomsday

I wanted to give a couple of movie reviews for some movies I have watched and enjoyed recently (or rewatched). They are all delightfully post or currently-apocalyptic and in some way speak to my outlooks on preparedness and post-disaster survival.
The Colony (2013) is set in a snowball scenario Earth, with the remainder of humanity locked away underground in vaults, not unlike in the Fallout series of games, as Colonies. We learn that the Colony our protagonists are in has suffered significant epidemics, and lost many of their population to both disease and also summary execution. They have a small selection of livestock, supplies of grains and seed-libraries and a very grim determination to survive. We also learn that the world froze over due to man-made weather stations gone awry, and have both radio contact with other colonies, and also satellite uplink to scan the surface for hot-spots, looking for a mythical thaw. Colony 7 sends a team to check on Colony 5, who they lost radio contact with after a garbled distress message. When they get there they find the that the colony has fallen victim to screaming cannibal crazies. They fall back, make it home but have lead the crazies to Colony 7. In the ensuing poorly orchestrated defense, we learn that a different colony has found a localised hot-spot, but have no viable seeds to restart the ecosystem. It's up to the remaining heroes from Colony 7 to survive the cannibal's and save their seeds...
So, fun premise, very well shot and cast, but the scripting and plot was a bit sketchy. The long term surviability issues were well presented, but I'd have liked to see some more competency in the Colony survivors, and less "mindless ravagers" from the cannibal crazies. If they were smart enough to survive, find and assault a fortified Colony, why were they growling, snarling animals? Give me thinking savages as believable bad-guys any day.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
An old favourite, and another snowball scenario Earth (in the making) in which a massive ice-sheet calving in Antarctica triggers a cascade of global cooling. This happens whilst world governments deny the possibility of climate change, and everyone except Paleoclimatologist Jack Hall, who not only locks horns with the US Government, but also finds assistance with NASA, and other Climatologists across the world as they begin to see signs of a coming disaster. With 3 weeks of non-stop rain in some areas, and after a series of weather-related disasters beginning to occur over the world, (which was awesome). The young adult son of the paleoclimatologist is in New York with friends when the climactic snap freeze occurs, which is awesome as it is thrilling. The paleoclimatologist must make a daring trek across America to reach his son, trapped following the international storm which plunges the planet into a new Ice Age.
I loved this movie, it was well made, the effects were awesome, and it showed a lot of awesome people doing awesome things. I love competent survivors. The way the characters dealt with adversity, both the professional explorer type, in the dad and his team, or the clever and innovative son and his friends. They all displayed "the right stuff" and I approved heartily. The nay-sayers and slow-thinking characters got what was coming to them, and even though the premise and science is well exaggerated, I enjoyed it.
Doomsday (2008)
The movie starts out with a military quarantine forming on the Scotland-England boarder when a lethal virus spreads throughout Scotland, infecting millions and killing hundreds of thousands. To contain the threat, a brutal quarantine is enacted with a new Hadrian's Wall being built. Three decades later, the virus resurfaces in London. A team is put together and is sent into Scotland to retrieve a cure by any means necessary, as there is reason to believe it exists there, after satellite footage indicates possible human activity.
It turns out that shut off from the rest of the world, Scotland has reverted to a Mad Max style cannibal wasteland. Lots of cannibal. Well fed and post-industrial nightclub outfitted cannibals, with all that goes with that. They have been somehow hiding out in Glasgow by the hundreds. Mayhem, murder, anarchy. Yay.
Then suddenly we're headed for the Highlands, where the Doctor last working on a cure is believed to be holed up. In a castle, with a fully fledged feudal society of survivors. Medieval styling all the way and all technology is eschewed. Apparently there is no cure, some folks are just naturally immune. More Mad Max car-chases and murder, and we find the Government back in London is neither innocent, or doing well. Mayhem. Lots of fun.
Having previously lived in the UK, I always love it when I see a disaster movie set there. The science and settings were good, although as with any fanciful plague movie, the speed and numbers always seem to be pretty wild. Having a diverse split between urban savages (who, unlike in The Colony) were still very, very human, just hungry, bad people, and the huddled feudal dwellers in the hills, indicates a couple of very realistically (again, if you bar where all the food and or bodies came from in Glasgow) portrayed post-apocalyptic society settings. I really enjoyed this, and will watch again.

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