snowpiercerThe Weinstein Company
2013
R

“Eternal order is prescribed by the sacred engine: all things flow from the sacred engine, all things in their place, all passengers in their section, all water flowing. all heat rising, pays homage to the sacred engine, in its own particular preordained position. So it is. Now, as in the beginning, I belong to the front. You belong to the tail. When the foot seeks the place of the head, the sacred line is crossed. Know your place. Keep your place. Be a shoe.”

After a failed global warming experiment, a post-apocalyptic Ice Age has killed off nearly all life on the planet. All that remains of humanity are the lucky few survivors that boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, powered by a sacred perpetual motion engine. A class system has evolved aboard the train, fiercely dividing its population–but a revolution is brewing. The lower-class passengers in the tail section stage an uprising moving car by car up toward the front of the train, where the train’s creator and absolute authority resides in splendor. But unexpected circumstances lie in wait for humanity’s tenacious survivors…

So, here we have the first English language movie by famed Korean director Bong Joon-ho, the guy who brought us the cult classic The Host back in 2006. Well, it’s mostly in English. 80%, if Wikipedia is to be believed. Regardless, this movie received so much buzz and won so many awards, that sooner or later I had to check it out just to see what the buzz was about. I’m not normally one to go see a movie because of its popularity; most of the time, it’s the exact opposite. Being skeptical of things that are highly acclaimed by the masses has served me well.

And now, here we are, five years after Snowpercer’s release. And what did I think of Snowpiercer?

It’s overrated.

Judging by the responses my assessment on Facebook got, you’re either condemning me as a heretic (sorry, Virginia), or smugly crossing your arms over your chest and nodding in agreement. More than likely, the former. This movie has appeared on many a Best Science Fiction Movies lists since its release, after all.

Mind you, I’m not saying that Snowpiercer is a bad movie. Nor am I saying that I hate it. It’s gorgeously shot, has some great action scenes as well as some effective tension (no doubt due to the limited spaces being set on a train lending to a claustrophobic atmosphere), and the character development is really good. I’m not certain, but I believe that Snowpiercer makes a little over a baker’s dozen worth of movies Chris Evans has been in that was based on a comic book.

No, the reason why I consider Snowpiercer to be overrated is that, essentially, this is Battleship Potemkin on a train. And no, I’m not saying Snowpiercer is secretly socialist/communist propaganda. It’s based on a French comic (Le Transperceneige) that was first published in 1982. And I don’t care really about the political leanings of any artist; I care about whether or not it’s a good, well-crafted story. And, when you get down to it, Snowpiercer is a good, well-crafted story. Only, I don’t consider it as innovative as everyone seems to think it is. Especially in this day and age with the explosion of hyper Social Justice Warriors making life interesting for everyone. But, I digress.

Do I recommend watching Snowpiercer? Yes. For all the reasons I stated above, and then some. Watch it and decide for yourself what kind of movie this is for you. For me, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t go ga-ga over it, either.