Snowpiercer and Sunshine: Opposite and alike

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Sunshine movie posterI recently had a chance to sit through the entirety of Sunshine, the Danny Boyle movie about a team of astronauts taking a nuclear payload to try to re-ignite a dying Sun.  And when it was over, I immediately thought of Bong Joon-ho’s movie Snowpiercer—not just because both movies happened to have Chris Evans in them—but because they are very similar, even with their very opposite settings.

The opposites are quite obvious: While Snowpiercer takes place on Earth, Sunshine takes place within close orbit of the Sun; in Snowpiercer, everything around them is dangerously cold, while in Sunshine, the heat and energy of the Sun is the chief natural threat.  And while Snowpiercer takes place aboard a train with hundreds of people aboard, Sunshine‘s crew of the Icarus II totals eight.

But it’s in the similarities that things get interesting. (Spoilers follow… these movies have been around long enough now.) Continue reading

Best 21st century sci-fi movies? Not quite, Rolling Stone.

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best 21st century sci-fi Rolling Stone magazine did an okay job with their top 20 sci-fi movies of the 21st century list. (Let’s just keep calm, ignore the fact that the 21st century has only had 15 years in it so far, and carry on.)

There’s one obvious thing about the movies that I have to nitpick right off, and it comes in one word:

Monsters.

See, to me, monsters aren’t sci-fi; they are fantasy.  Because they are hands-down impossible and/or stupid.  And, therefore, have no business in a sci-fi list.  Move them to some list that includes ghosts, wizards and hobbits.  That means that certain movies should be removed from this list.  The biggest offenders are:

  • The Host
  • Cloverfield
  • Monsters (duh)
  • Reign of Fire (a close one, admittedly; but since it’s based on the idea that dragons have always existed, and just recently awoke from hibernation—and no archeologist has yet to find a sleeping dragon or the species’ fossils—I am forced to add this to the fantasy monster list.)

Which leaves us a list of 16 movies.  Which is good, because I know just which movies were omitted from the Rolling Stone list that I would add to create a well-rounded 20 monster-free sci-fi movies.  Continue reading

Snowpiercer: Don’t miss this masterpiece

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SnowpiercerThis weekend, I saw the Bong Joon-Ho experience known as Snowpiercer, on hotel pay-per-view.  I’d missed its appearance in theaters, so my wife and I were glad to see it in the hotel’s new releases rotation.  And we’re so glad we saw this movie.

First, it must be said that I realize quite a few people probably missed seeing this movie when it came out, just as I did.  That’s because the distributor, Harvey Weinstein, wanted to make cuts to the movie and add voiceovers for us poor, moronic, nose-picking U.S. audiences… which director Joon-Ho refused.  As a result, Weinstein gave the movie a very limited release, with almost literally no publicity attached (I’d been keeping up with Snowpiercer‘s progress on IO9, and I still managed to miss its release).

But, just like that recently-discovered masterpiece Cloud Atlas, this is one limited release movie that you need to find and watch.  (No spoilers ahead: Track is clear.) Continue reading