Snowpiercer vs Waterworld
I will admit to some confusion about the great reviews Snowpiercer got on its release in 2014. The trailer was a pretty straightforward look at the upcoming movie when I saw it way back, and I knew I had no interest in a film about a train full of climate apocalypse survivors perpetually speeding around the frozen Earth. It looked like a really stupid premise. Years later a friend told me I should check it out for its post-apocalyptic message, so I went ahead and gave it a try. While watching it, slack jawed and marveling at how bad it was, I was a little irritated. I don’t mind bad movies. Some of my favorite films are terrible. But I hate a bad film that’s just…bad.
There are several sub-genres of post-apocalypse films, and one of my favorites is the Wow This Is Bad. Zombie movies are often in that group, as are movies like Day After Tomorrow and Waterworld, which got no love from the reviewers when it came out in 1995. These are entertaining because they’re bad but goofy. Typically, the filmmakers hire solid actors in a desperate attempt to make things better and spend tons of money, but what you end up with are movies that waste tons of money and stain the actors’ reputation so people talk about them behind their back or on the front page of Variety.
After only a few minutes into watching Snowpiercer, I gave up writing notes like, “WHY are they doing THAT?” Or, “WTF? Shouldn’t they know that?” The latter was a moment when people who had grown up on the train seemed surprised at the actions of the thuggish military-style police after living with it for seventeen years. Yeah, the train has been going that long. How, you ask? I don’t know, they never explain it. Somehow people in the ass end of the train have been living and breeding and having a quietly desperate life of eating quivering brown gelatin “protein bars” and nothing else. Where do these come from? Why, from in front of them on the train. Everything good is in the front of the train including the “sacred engine” that keeps them going. Why do they have to keep going? I don’t know they never explained that.
Finally a colorfully dressed woman comes to the dark and dirty monotones of the steampunk back car to do some evil with her thug-police. She tells them right up front, so to speak, “I belong to the front. You belong to the tail. Keep your place.” Finally the natives are enraged enough to cry, “If we take the engine, we control the world.” Their fight toward the front is an allegory of the 99% trying to wrest some dignity and comfort from the 1% who will keep them down with every means necessary, including extreme violence. Snowpiercer takes on capitalism and classism, and the necessity of banding together to get things done. Great ideas, poorly executed on film with one incongruous act after another and a last scene that made me gasp in its absurdity.
The acts are, even more unfortunately, punctuated with expositional scenes that derail the movie in one screeching halt after another. Like above, when the woman states the obvious, or when they stop in a school car to watch a 1960s style history/propaganda film, or when near the end the entire movie is summarized just in case we missed all the whys and wherefores the last hour and a half. Like, all of them. There was not an ounce of funny in the movie, and it was so uneven that even the wicked fun scene with Octavia Spencer wielding a mean machete couldn’t save it.
Waterworld is just as stupid when natural disaster, also man-made, causes the oceans to cover the Earth and force the few survivors to live on cobbled together rust-bucket towns that are prey to slavers and “burners”, evil men who still use gas powered boats to careen around the oceans looking for victims. One man lives at peace with this world, and hey he has gills so he can breathe underwater and bring up all sorts of fantastical stuff from the ocean floor that no one has seen in a hundred years, like rear view mirrors, bottles of “real dirt”, and National Geographic magazines that are still intact. Naturally, the “normal” people try to kill him because he has gills. Why use a precious resource when you can drown him in a tank of previously composted people? Like Snowpiercer there are social messages, this time about inclusion and prejudice, but it’s more fun to watch Dennis Hopper in the most over-the-top role of his career with an orange hued bald head and a codpiece President Bush would envy.
If you don’t mind stupid movies and are looking for something vacuous, pretty and fast moving with some well-done fight scenes, watch Snowpiercer. Waterworld is more my style because it’s also vacuous and pretty, but lol funny. Unfortunately, most people won’t get the actually intentional joke at the end because they won’t know what the Exxon Valdez was, but it’s still the better of the films. Check it out.
Snowpiercer Official US Release Trailer #1 (2014) – Chris Evans Movie HD
Waterworld Official Trailer #1 – Kevin Costner Movie (1995) HD
CFR: In Addition: I’m glad Mildred reviewed these movies as I refused in my heart to see them, each for a different reason. Now first, I think it is AWESOME that these movies had social commentary. Rock on! I even like the message of both. It is the delivery I just couldn’t watch.
I can’t watch things that are the end of the world for the human species because of our own stupidity. I’m familiar enough with the issues and I do my darnedest to keep a positive attitude and behavior set to keep a positive future rolling. So these movies would be off my plate. However there are two other reasons to not see either, one per movie.
Snowpiercer. How come the big villain, the representative of the 1% was a woman? Uh, the controllers of money on this planet are predominantly men. So having a woman shows the social subconscious nonsense that women in power are bad. Oh good grief. Couldn’t they have had both a man and a woman? Oh well.
Waterworld. Uh I didn’t want to see a movie where women are traded like slaves and goods. No thanks.
If you liked these movies, GREAT! Go pop some corn, melt some butter, and break out the salt! Watch away and enjoy. I’m gonna put on Star Trek. 🙂