Topic: Snowpiercer: Fixing the Train

I find the strong favorable response to Snowpiercer strange. It's not a bad movie, but it's mostly nonsense that is pretty well acted. It occurs to me that there are fixes possible, tho. (I know, me and Harvey Weinstein: tight like brothers against these damn visionary directors supported by the Internets.)

Number one: the idea of a train driving around a frozen world continuously for 17 years. If that's what you want, then the engine has to be nuclear. There are various genuine proposals for small nukes. Apparently the press kit claimed it had a perpetual motion engine because that's what the reviews all say, which is idiotic.

Number two: the reason they don't stop the train. The movie never addresses this. But if you say that the climate catastrophe that ruined the world resulted in a rolling superstorm, you not only have a reason to keep them moving and a reason the entire rest of the world died, but you also have a great spectacle for your ending: train stops, storm catches up.

Number three: the paying passengers. Why are the paying passengers still living the high life after 17 years? When the entire world is destroyed, your ticket is void. The only solution I see to this is to say that the paying passengers funded the construction of the train itself, so they are its real owners, and this is still its maiden cruise.

Number four: where the hell did all those guards come from? How many security people do you think a cruise ship has? Eight? There must bee 100 guards on the Snowpiercer, with dozens of guns and 17 years worth of ammo. There need to be fewer guards, genuinely out of ammo, and they're people from the front who broke rules and people from the back who turned against their own.

Number five: the tail passengers. So a bunch of people crowd into the back of the train as it prepares for its maiden voyage because... winter suddenly set in? Again, if there is a rolling superstorm, this suddenly makes sense. Population control is obviously going to be an issue, but I guess we can infer that they get fed to the front passengers as meat (where else does Ed Harris get steak after 17 years?), but it should be explicit. Evans' speech is very explicit about the cannibalism that went on initially.

Here's the thing tho: there don't seem to be all that many tail passengers. Evans mentions 1000 in the beginning. Judging by the number of sub-17-year-old kids in the classroom, the rest of the train surely has a couple of thousand adults. Wilford seems to keep tail passengers just so he can use their kids to keep the train running. Plus he uses a few to replace service workers (the food processor guy and the musician). His other uses should be more explicit: the medical unit needs a stock of blood and organ donors.

Number six: Wilford being not batshit insane. Here is a guy who was crazy enough to create a kind of millennium ship, and it just happened to become the last sanctuary of all mankind, and for 17 years he's had to figure out how to keep it going. This guy is going to be totally insane but also desperate to be understood. "I've done all I could! I'm trying to keep humanity alive, and you're complaining about having to eat bugs? I had to invent that to keep you from starving! Even the front passengers are one bad harvest away from starving. Do you have a better idea?"

Number seven: destroying the train. In the end, the film makers seem to just throw up their hands and go "This can't end well. Let's just blow it up." It's so lazy. "I just want to tell a story about the courageous struggle of the lower classes against the upper classes. And, you know, how it's totally hopeless." The only survivors of the crash immediately meet a polar bear, which is probably going to eat them.

How about Chris Evans stops the train in a tunnel and lets the superstorm roar past, then they stop some place where they can scavenge supplies with plenty of time and not have to use child labor (which was poorly visualized but probably could be done better). Old man Wilford was too crazy to ever stop the train, since his whole concept was about never stopping. It was designed to be serviced by another train that would deliver supplies. So the first thing they do is find that train, still waiting in its station to depart. That will sustain them for years, and they have an entire planet of canned goods to scavenge while the weather gradually improves. Flattening out the class structure reduces the suffering to a minimum for the time being. Crazy security/drug guy nearly ruins Evans' plan but provides the final action beat when he ends up killing himself and taking some other bad guys with him.

Maybe that's TOO optimistic, but I don't really see a reason for telling this story without a more hopeful ending.

Last edited by Zarban (2015-03-30 04:44:55)

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: Snowpiercer: Fixing the Train

I was surprised by the raves as well. The whole social commentary aspect was half-hearted. It's a film most interested in seeing how well it can make its own cool-looking storyboards come to life, not social commentary.

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Re: Snowpiercer: Fixing the Train

My fix would for this to be a video game instead of a movie.

One Time @ Bland Camp...

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