Digital Popcorn: The Colony

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The Colony (2013)

A few weekends ago I sat down and streamed The Colony via Netflix. I’m a sucker for post apoclyptic stories and considering both Laurence Fishburn and Bill Paxton were in it I figured it could be a hidden gem of a movie.  Overall, the premise of The Colony is that it’s set in a verision of earth where mankind attempted to control global warming with technology and of course it went bad.  Instead of the desert wasteland worlds of Mad Max and Fallout  and even the dusty setting of The Book of Eli, the world of The Colony is an icy wasteland.  I found that rather refreshing, a setting can be a character/adversary a story and the freezing cold and snow is defintely a great one if used in that regard.  Further more the survivors in the movie’s setting dwell in underground bunkers and only a handful exist in the world. The colony where Fishburn/Baxton are in charge has a cache of seeds, unfortuantely you can’t grow crops in permafrost but they manage to use hydroponics and etc to eek out an existance.  Yet the threat of disease, especially the flu, is a constant danger and those that are sick are quarantiend until they recover. Those that don’t recover by the deadline are either exiled or excecuted. The choice is left to the victim.  Or at least that’s the way its supposed to be, but early in the movie we see Baxton popping a cap in some poor bastards head even though he wanted to be exiled. The movie does a good job at setting tension and potential conflict for power between Baxton and Fishburn.  Soon after we learn that the Fishburn/Baxton colony is allied with another of these so called colonies and when they lose contact with them Fishburn and company go out to see what has happened to them.

The movie then switches gears and focus on Fishburn leading a group of men to the other colony while Baxton strongarms his way to power while Fishburn is gone.  Once they arrive at the other Colony Fishburn and company quickly realize that something’s wrong.  The movie does a good job at developing tension and suspense and the revelation of what happened is disturbing.  There’s also a new revelation in the subplot of global freezing that’s intriquing as well.  When Fishburn and company head home there’s a rather exciting chase scene that has terrific suspense in it and some great action sequences.

But when the story returns back to the home colony it loses steam.  Instead of really developing the struggle for power with Baxton and the threat of disease or the subplot about reversing the permafrost, the story devolves into a simple cat and mouse game between the home colony and the antagonists from the other colony.  Bodies drop and heads roll but in the end it’s rather disappointing and shallow.  In the end the movie ends with a bit of a cliff hanger that leaves the subplot unresolved which is disappointing.

I think the Colony had a lot of potential but it failed to stoke the embers of the plot into something more intense then the same old same old.  In a lot of ways The Colony ended up reminding me of 28 Days Later if it happened in the snow instead of London.  Minus the character development and strong writing.

Final Score: 2 out of 5.


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