This dystopian parable had one of the nuttiest premises I’ve seen in a movie. In the not-so-distant future, the entire planet is frozen solid after the attempt to solve the problem of global warming goes spectacularly wrong. All life is wiped out, and what remains of the human race is gathered on a single train, which is powered by an eternal engine and whose rail network spans the entire globe, so it takes the train one year to complete the full circle. The train is the world, and as throughout the human history its population is split into haves and have-nots. The former reside in the front of the train where they spend their days in pampered luxury, while the denizens of the back section live in misery and squalor on a diet of protein bars which look like disgusting black jelly (and yes you do get to find out what they’re made from). At the very front are the quarters of Wilford, the mysterious owner/designer of the train, who is never seen to leave the engine room and who has cronies and armed forces maintaining the order in the back, including some inventive punishments involving cold temperatures. Despite that, the train had seen a few (failed) revolutions and as the movie opens we’re at the start of another attempt, spearheaded by Curtis (Chris Evans), who is something of a reluctant leader.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
– George R.R. Martin
I’m glad I watched it, but dear lord this was one silly movie. I overheard one person say that this was the worst film he’s ever seen, and while personally I don’t concur, if you don’t have a soft spot for the overblown gothic melodrama I can see why this movie would not agree with you.
Saw Laura Marling at the beautiful Hamer Hall yesterday – she performed as part of the Melbourne Festival. Monday night is a weird night for a concert, but then a break in the routine is always nice. I arrived early and lingered around for a while, observing the arty/hipsterish crowd and trying not to have a second helping of the hideously overpriced ice cream. The supporting act, D.D Dumbo, was short and sweet, surprisingly short in fact – I don’t think he was onstage for longer than half an hour. It was just one guy, armed with a bunch of pedals, where he’d record a sample of a drum beat or guitar and then let it loop over and over and gradually build a song up. This layering technique is always fun to watch live, and the music was pretty good, I even recognised one of the tracks since they played it quite a bit on Triple J. The crowd chat was minimal and he didn’t even introduce himself, which obviously bothered a guy in the audience who cried out, “what’s your name??” before the very last song. Strangely enough, he introduced himself under his real name, Oliver.
I ended up reading this book twice, because I didn’t feel like I gave it justice the first time around: I read it in a terribly rushed, haphazard manner and this is simply not a book to read in 15-minute bites. Plus I have a bad habit where sometimes I get impatient about two thirds into the reading, and start scanning and skipping through the final pages in a race to the finish.
They’re screening all of the Star Wars movies on Channel 7 Saturdays, and tonight it was Revenge of the Sith. I’m not a mega Star Wars fan by any means so I wouldn’t say that the prequels ruined my childhood memories or whatever, but there’s no doubt that they deserve the hate they get. This movie has many of the same issues that flattened the hell out of its predecessors, but overall it’s the most watchable one of the three. Which is faint praise I guess, but it does have quite a few things I genuinely enjoy and it manages to have some good moments of pathos and drama, mostly when the actors are spared having to spout Lucas’ stilted dialogue.
“Here and now, we are alive.”
– from Small Gods by Terry Pratchett