Friday, December 26, 2014

Snowpiercer Almost Gets There

"I can't do this, this movie is garbage." - Mrs. SoBL

"We're powering thru." - SoBL

"Oh come on, that's the 8th ridiculous plot hole and what is anyone's motivation? Nothing makes sense" - Mrs. SoBL

"Shut up, this movie is the train. We will make it to the end." - SoBL

No, Mr. Land. I could not let a Snowpiercer post go by without shouting down this piece of celluloid feces. "Apocalyptic neoreactionary speculative drama" does have a catchy ring to it. I saw this months ago, but withheld a review for fear of sounding too frustrated at its shortcomings and stupidity. Spoilers ahead, but give it up anti-spoiler commissars.

Snowpiercer is a critical darling. Here's the quick and dirty of why spoken like a prog. "The train is, like, an expression of global inequality man, and, like, see, the inequality is a system like the train is OUR system. We need a revolution man to end this bullsh*t. Why didn't Occupy work. We need that back. Hey look a cat gif." The movie shoves as much Piketty-MoveOn garbage about inequality that one can stomach into a movie setup, while combining video game aesthetics and sequencing. They reach different cars like levels with different obstacles and bosses. They pick up a helpful guide along the way who can unlock doors. Is this Zelda? How big is the train? Seems kind of small for a globe trotting train, yet they have entire cars for pools and saunas, even a rave. With a train that small, why not just make a giant loop in Nebraska for easier maintenance? Who is doing maintenance? Eating bugs is not that bad if otherwise it is cannibalism? Why did they even bother bringing on rear car passengers? Irreplaceable parts was not foreseen so it must have been the "tension" thing Ed Harris mentions in his one delicious scene. Why not create tension through faked insurrections in the tail section via video? Why plan ahead but not store food for the first month? Why plan ahead but not equip sections with a SOMA type gas to quell the tailies? Why not just live 50 feet underground? Why were there no subtitles for the Korean guy's lines? I'm going to set aside the incredibly stupid plot holes, missing motivations and other nonsense to discuss the reaction or standard issue prog action story debate.

A people's uprising with some convenient assistance from the front works its way through the train, massacring the shock troops and employing some intelligent means of maneuvering through the video game maze. They are doing it for more food, clean water, and whatever the hell the poor could think of to upend the order. Progressives loved the themes here yet avoided commenting on the black lady shouting for chicken multiple times. The fat black lady was the fat black lady from The Help, not from Community. There are two for Hollywood to use, you evil racist. After creating mass havoc, what does the hero really want? He wants to face the great and powerful Oz, Willard, because he "forced" the hero to be a villain the first month on the train. He "forced" him to be a cannibal. Korean guy says they can blow the train door and go outside because it is getting warmer with an explanation that should give the hero pause before swallowing whole since it is from a former drug addict. Once Willard explains that the revolution is done with, and the train will continue it's path to save humanity, he gives the hero the opportunity of learning and taking his place because the hero has immense talent. It is a dark enlightenment, but for one who is worthy. Bonus is the opportunity to be alone, just with his thoughts and no one else. Such a reward is given for one who has such a burden. The hero rejects it, learning the kids are used for slave labor to keep the train going as specific parts grew irreplaceable. Train gets blown up. A tacked on ending shows Asian teen and little black boy outside*. They see a polar bear. Life goes on?

Side note: Did you like how the introduction narrator explains how geoengineering can't fix global warming? See, naughty viewer, you must reduce your carbon footprint because even the science fixes won't work, bwahaha!

This is still standard prog entertainment because of that last choice. The final choice is destroying order. It is a rejection of that dark knowledge. Revolutionary chaos and the unknown is preferred over the confusing, grey known. Before I come back to that choice, look at how the non-tail section compartments were portrayed: food and an aquariaum for the connected, better and better compartments as one moved forward, education that was indoctrination to be anti-tail and pro-regime, luxurious pampering, a God damn night club and a neo-art deco look to dress and furniture (my wife appreciated the set design). There is no research and development compartment. There is no machining and production compartment. A positive portrayal of a Noah's Ark type train would have those sections, which would awe the tailies at the energy and effort involved in maintaining order and existence for all. There might be compartment for storing seed for any potential thaw and indoor growing anyway. Might make the hero choose differently. The hero doesn't, which cues popcorn eaters into the correct decision being the chaotic and destructive leftist decision. In Snowpiercer, viewers get to see the enclosed world the rightist created, and the signal is to reject it. No reviewer questioned the hero's choice. Did any fans? He made the right choice see. The little boy and girl made it!

That is the key, and I'll use another ending, which goes along with it. Here's the "Perfect Ending for the X-Files". Say it is the season after the bad movie. The final 3 episodes are a wrap up of the "mythology" storyline of X-Files. Mulder and Scully know of the aliens, know of their evil intent, know of the government cover up, have proof and can go public. One problem. Cigarette Smoking Man (CSM) has his minions kill Scully and capture Mulder. CSM makes Mulder an offer with armed guards around him. "Now that you know the truth you have so desperately sought, you see why we must keep it secret. They will try to come and try to wipe us out. You despise me, but without me, your body is an alien incubator and gone in no time. Now, I am old, and my peers are dying. You have figured out what we thought too secret and too byzantine for anyone to learn. You believe, but do you now see? Join us, learn and take my place. Stop being petty. Stop being an agent. You want to avenge Scully, protect all humanity." >Extends hand< Scene ends. We then see the camera roll through an office building like before. It approaches an office and goes in to the sound of a man typing with smoke coming from the man in the chair. Man turns, and it is Mulder as the new CSM. That actually is a cooler ending than however X-Files ended. Mulder finally finds proof, but he also finds out why it must be kept secret and why his opponents were right. His trials and challenges created the uber-agent who could take over for CSM. He has earned his rightful place protecting humanity from aliens. X-Files did not end that way. It could not end that way because to do so would be to sell out, to choose order and hiding knowledge only for those worthy over freedom and the need for the truth to be free. Fans, and our liberal default mindset, would have rioted online or whatever we did before social media expressions of anger.

Back to Snowpiercer. A more adult and reactionary work would have the hero gaining knowledge through the movie just as the hero does. Arriving at the front, with full revelation he would understand that order as the system is in place is the best way to survive. With knowledge of the gutter, he could make suggestions for changes to maintain balance and tensions without occasional human sacrifice. He would reject the snow escape as a suicide mission. Most of all, he would see that you are going to have to employ some cruel labor, distribution and law enforcement practices to keep humanity afloat. That does not happen in this movie because we must affirm stupid leftist viewpoints and ideas. Order and the whispers of power are an evil, seductive offer. Revolution, woohoo! Destroy order, woohoo! Destroying the world is better than humanity existing through ingenuity, intelligence and sketchy decisions for order. Another prog friendly message: two children of the hero's social circle were taken for slave train labor. What one does he see under the train that sends him into final sacrifice mode? His black friend's kid, not the ginger kid. Progs are going to cry at that moment. It is better to destroy all of humanity, except for 2 bits of polar bear lunch, than to live in a sick, rightist system, maaaaaan.

Snowpiercer was close, Elysium was close, but they are not all the way there. Hollywood will probably never allow it. Our best hope would be a deleted scene, alternate ending. Only viewers fully invested would seek the final confirmation of the dark knowledge and the right choice. Once Matt Damon in Elysium decides against the lumpenproles or Chris Evans decides against the destruction of the eternal engine in Snowpiercer, then we will see a truly reactionary work. For now, we have to settle for these flirtations with it and seductive offers to protagonists for them to choose "correctly". Their choice must soothe the socially liberal fans in the seats. After all, those fans will spend a 2 minute care moment, and Tweet about #Occupy, #BlackLivesMatter and #Kony2012 all while using an Iphone made with African slave mine labor and Chinese sweatshop labor. They don't call them Blood Iphones... because they can use them but voice displeasure at the very system that provides them. Why even call them Blood Iphones? Victors should rule enjoy it in whatever way rule is expressed. We get scared and chicken out from accepting it. We do not want to know or understand or, more likely, to remember what it takes to run a proper society.

*Whiskey, if you're reading this, go see a therapist if you think the little black boy being left is the filmmaker's view of blacks being the only worthy males or even alphas. Yes, because an entire movie of an older white genius working with other older white genius to get white hero with awesome Asian male sidekick to spark revolution and last a while is a sign of a pro-black male motive. Get a grip, man.


Steve Johnson said...

You addressed a comment to Whiskey but in the near decade I've been reading the comments that guy shits on to good blogs not once have I ever seen him respond to a criticism or counterargument.

It's just the same tired nonsense over and over and unless he's talking about comic books I've never read a comment of his that didn't have at least one major factual error.

The guy really doesn't need to be engaged.

Ed said...

Hero(2002), the chinese movie, with the plot you described almost to a tee.... Check out wikipedia for the plot and the progs' indignation: "..These critics argued that the ulterior meaning of the film was triumph of security and stability over liberty, analogous to the "Asian values" concept that gained brief popularity in the 1990s."

SRBEL said...

Spot on. I have watched both Snowpiercer and Elysium during this holiday season, and was frustrated by both. Girlfriend understood my reaction to Elysium, but re: Snowpiercer, "but they're free, they made it off the train.." ugh... Polar bear lunch was my response.

But maybe the director was aiming at that: with the destruction of European man and his legacy (tech, education etc) the leftovers of humanity will be naught but a feast for the more dominant animals, human or otherwise. I don't think that was the intention, but certainly that interpretation is not an impossibility.

SRBEL said...

Also, is the destruction of the prevailing order (and chance to rebuild) not at least tangentially associated with NRx? Hence Landian Accelerationist love-in over Snowpiercer.

Rifleman said...

You addressed a comment to Whiskey but in the near decade I've been reading the comments that guy shits on to good blogs not once have I ever seen him respond to a criticism or counterargument.

That's because he is clearly is on the autism spectrum maybe with Aspergers.

The guy defecates on all too many blogs on the Right. He has a sociopathic disregard for facts and rigorous thinking.

But some of his racially based sexual obsessions can be found among quite a few White male types who might tend to be right of center more than left. I'm not sure.

But there are definitely quite a few out there, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...


Also "Midnight Meat Train".

Portlander said...

I watched this on Netflix last night.

RE: You and the misses… ROFLMAO!
Mrs. Portlander and I had about the same conversation here.

"Why are we watching this stupid movie!?!" - Mrs. P

"Some guy on the internet said we had to watch it. The train is a metaphor for the movie itself. Get it?" - Portlander

RE: A token black in sf movies... my first thought is always "Puh-leeze. No blacks are going to be sitting through to the end of this POS, just to see how exactly the movie makers decided to genuflect to the usual bromides." It's just like NPR doing their reviews of hip-hop music. By definition, it's not for the black audience -- they don't have one. It's for their SWPL audience that wants a black friend, doesn't have one, so gets one vicariously through the media.

We're so habituated to the device, it would be noticeable if the black character wasn't part of the denouement. It's like the old saw: a gun on the mantle in the first act, must go off in the third. Token, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Hey there owner of Great site. I think you should be little more strict with the comments.