Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Colony (2013)

Kevin Zegers and Charlotte Sullivan made no difference in The Colony (2013).
Production still from The Colony (2013).
And don't you dare bitch about spoilers.
At a glance:
I had the pleasure of attendin a secretive test audience screenin for an unfinished cut of The Colony last year. So I was particularly excited to go to the world premiere at Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto, a week or so before it goes on wide release. It's a modest and respectable, if essentially unremarkable Canadian effort by screenwriter Patrick Tarr and director Jeff Renfroe, about a snow-set post-apocalyptic world that's bang opposite from Hollywood's usual projections of global warmin in the future, i.e. Waterworld (1995). Trust the Canadians to have come up with this twist, eh? Shot at the decommissioned NORAD base (North American Aerospace Defense Command) in North Bay, Ontario, the synopsis reads: Beneath the icy surface, survivors of Colony Seven struggle as food supplies dwindle and temperatures continue to drop. Plagued by illness and internal conflict, the colonists suspect the worst when they mysteriously lose contact with Colony Five – the only other known settlement. Sam (Kevin Zegers), a strong-willed mechanic with a tragic past, joins a team headed up by Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) on a dangerous expedition to find out what happened. After a hellish trek, they discover a threat much worse than imagined, and now Colony Seven must win a savage battle to preserve the last of humanity.
Bill Paxton outperforms everyone else in The Colony ...
but only because he actually has a credible character arc.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Well, it sure didn't get much better the second time around. We start off low-key, buildin promisin, creepy isolation, like in The Thing (1982) but suffer a narrative meltdown to end on a generic slasher note that mostly failed to resist the easy overkill. A major letdown comes by way of underwritten primary punch-clock characters who constantly appear less desperate than they ought to be. While it is in no way a poor movie, the final product cannot pretend to have transcended the sort of weekday afternoon sci-fi mediocrity that always leave us emotionally shortchanged. I believe it's perhaps three or four more rewrites from cult DVD material. Nevertheless, eOne has packaged it well and I do hope it gets a good run at the cinemas.
"What if I told you... that you've seen this movie before?"
Perennial wonderment:
How tall is Laurence Fishburne? There's something about his neck as though he's kind of 'squashed' in appearance. Still, you'd think he's huge if you ever watched The Matrix movies, schoolin Keanu with that trench coat. Accounts vary but today I was standin next to him and can report he cannot be much more than 6'.
Reminds me of:
The Road (2009) and that addictive FPS I used to love, Left4Dead2.
Watch out for:
Bill Paxton (remember Frailty?) as the resident troublemaker. Each time I see this guy's face, I think of an axe. You can read all about his role in this Twitchfilm interview - he apparently refused to say a line because it sounded too much like one from the Alien movies. Maybe that's why his was the only character that has a semblance of originality.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
I prefer a more cerebral brand of sci-fi but have a look at The Divide (2011) if you want somethin cut from the same cloth. Check out the Facebook fan page to learn more.★★1/2
Bonus material:
Here are some photos from the world premiere in Toronto I attended, thanks to Toronto After Dark for havin me.
Fishburne tried his darnedest not to look at this TV reporter's boobs.
His wife, actress Gina Torres, was visibly irked. Haha.

The security guy on the left looks a bit like Cantona, innit?
Today I managed to make the cut, by virtue of being a good hour early. Yay!!!
Poor guy kept being interrupted by people shouting "Morpheus". Haha!
Anyone knows what kinda interview-recording device this guy is using?
Director Jeff Renfroe flanked by leads Kevin Zegers and Laurence Fishburne.