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Colony, The - DVD - Entertainment One Print E-mail
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Written by Jay Creepy   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
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UK Entertainment One DVD Artwork from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema
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AKA: A Colonia, Hell Freezes Over, Colonia V, Apoikia 7, A kolonia, Kolonia, Kolonija

Directed by:
Jeff Renfroe
Written by:
Jeff Renfroe, Svet Rouskov, Patrick Tarr, Pascal Trottier
Produced by:
Matthew Cervi, Paul Barkin, Pierre Even, Marie Claude Poulin
Cinematography by:
Pierre Gill
Editing by:
Aaron Marshall
Music by:
Jeff Danna
Special Effects by:
Raymond Mackintosh, Rosalie Mackintosh, Derek Bujalski, Ben Boren, Melissa K. Nicoll
Cast:
Laurence Fishbourne, Kevin Zegers, Bill Paxton, Charlotte Sullivan, Dru Viergever, John tench, Lisa Berry
Year:
2013
Country:
Canada
Language:
English
Color:
Color
Runtime:
1h 34min

Distibutor: Entertainment One

As much as I don't like CGI in films, I think it's because a majority of times it's laziness.  Lazy cheap effects, where a quick make-up artist could throw something together instead and his/her creation could look better.  Some movies, I suppose, need CGI to create endless landscapes that would take years to build as model work or appear false like dark shadow paintings or whatever.

"The Colony" is an interesting entry into the debate of CGI.  It's a low budget shocker, you can certainly notice the financial side with the computer buildings, but at the same time you have to smile.  The basis of the film is that we're in a second ice age created by weather adjusting machines many decades ago.  We are treated to long shots of cities buried by snow for miles and miles and due to budget we can see the... tacky CGI as opposed to almost convincing CGI.  However, money might have made model cities and snowed over bridges look a lot worse.  So my Horror Soulmate and I could smile and be forgiving this time round. 
"The Colony" is ambitious and the makers have tried their hardest with what they have at their hands.  It is, however, a  shame they didn't try harder with the script and concept.

"The Colony" is sold (in the UK anyway) as a take on "28 Weeks Later," but we compared the first half to John Carpenter's "The Thing," and the second half to an episode of "Doctor Who" entitled Utopia.  The film is in two halves and the first part is fantastic.

The two name stars, Laurence Fishbourne and Bill Paxton, play Briggs and Mason, respectively.  Both characters argue over how to run a small colony of ice age survivors deep underground.  You see in this future, a cold or a dose of the flu is lethal and can spread throughout whole groups, wiping out everyone it infects.  If you show a sniffle or a sneeze, then into quarantine you go for a few days, subjected to tests.  If you don't get much better you're taken to the surface and given a choice, a bullet or a long walk.  Mason is brutal and doesn't agree with the choice, “They always come back!” he states, so without Briggs knowing he begins to shoot.  Briggs is a leader of sorts and after one shooting is reported back to him by Sam (Kevin Zegers, "Dawn of the Dead" remake, "Fifty Dead Men Walking") who witnesses the shocking slaying, confronts Mason.  Mason is Bill Paxton, I mean you cannot expect him to be an emotional sort of guy, can you?  So he sneers a lot at Briggs and doesn't hide his deep down wishes to rule the colony.  Instead, he makes it obvious to everyone.  Which makes it unusual that Briggs chooses to leave with Sam and a young lad, leaving Sam's girl, Kai, in charge whilst an angry Mason and his close comrades stay behind.

They exist at Colony 7 and one day receive a brief distress call from Colony 5, some miles away, which is cut off and left with radio silence.  The two colonies made a pact to protect each other, so Briggs decides to take a small team across.  Mason is in the mind of leave them to it, they might all be dead from disease and the team may come back infected.  Ignoring this, the three man team walk off and we finally see the rest of the world and what is left.  Cities and buildings are buried by snow which keeps falling, a desolate landscape in which three tiny figures trudge slowly.

Staying warm in a smashed up medical helicopter for the night, the three talk.  Briggs is a lot older so he can still remember when the world changed for the worst.  It was to do with global warming -- the weather machines were built to combat the temperature -- but of course it all went wrong.  Millions starved, only the small groups are left now (in that part of the world anyhow.)

On their journey they cross a ruined, dangerous bridge and pass under one of the weather machines, damaged beyond repair.  Slowly but surely they reach Colony 5 and are horrified to discover long streaks of blood outside in the snow leading towards the entrance.  Down they go on an endless ladder underground, into the dark using only small torches and a flare.  Blood is literally everywhere, splashed across walls, across beds, everywhere.  The third lad, being that this is his first time out, is terrified.  Briggs is quite sympathetic, “Grow a spine,” he says.

Noises can be heard; long periods of knocking.  Sam leads the way through the darkness and blood until they find a locked door covered in dents and scratch marks.  Sam's a lock pick, so it doesn't take him long and in they go.  There lays a shaking survivor, Leland, played by Death himself from the later "Supernatural" series', Julian Richings.  “Have they gone?  They're still out there!”  He drinks water, obviously in a bad way.  Showing them a video taken from satellite, it shows a man claiming to have repaired a weather machine and reversed the snow, making a thaw.  Yet they have no seeds.  Colony 7 has ample enough stored seeds.  “Anyone else alive?” asks Briggs.  “Define alive?” Leland smirks.  He refuses to leave and is made worse by the revelation it wasn't him knocking.  “They're still here!!” he cries in mortal terror.

Our three heroes have to leave him when he locks the door after them, so they follow more noises.  What they find is the closure of the first part of the movie and we're now into another kind of film.  There's a tribe of flesh eating sharp toothed snarling men and women cutting up and eating corpses.  These people are modelled perhaps on Neil Marshall's Doomsday, but very likely Utopia, a thrilling episode from the David Tennant era of "Doctor Who."

In that episode the last survivors of humanity lived in a small colony near the end of the universe itself, whilst a tribe called 'Future Kind' tried to get in and basically eat them.  The barely human feral creatures in this film dress like Future Kind, snarl like Future Kind and have identical teeth.  Someone took the idea and ran with it, structuring a far more violent and gory concept.  Well, they should have done that, but what we get instead is a crappy game of cat and mouse all over Colony 5, into the snow, and finally over to Colony 7 in a predictable series of gun battles and fistfights.

Mason and his loyal group have of course taken over, shooting whomever they want and tying up Kai.  When the Future-kind tribe arrives, some are backstabbing, but some bravely fight united, especially Mason's pal Viktor, (John Tench) who goes one on one with the bald hulking flesh eating leader in an impressive scrap.

You find yourself knowing who'll betray who, who'll die and which innocents will live on to walk for miles and miles looking for the 'thaw'.  As stated,
"The Colony" is in two sections.  Section one is a slow burning atmospheric vision, which even dodgy CGI moments cannot spoil.  Once we see the '28 Weeks Later' kind of threat, it's shamefully downhill to the very end.

Laurence Fishbourne, Bill Paxton and Kevin Zegers play their roles pretty well, though due to the scripting are centrally predictable.  Kai and any other female characters are pushed into the background so humanity's future world in the snow is very male dominated.  The underground sets are cool, quite convincing, and the views of the outside world are subject to debate by fans.  Yes the digitally constructed buildings are ropey, but at least they tried and the ideas are sound.

It just all seems to become rather rushed and a cop-out.  Plus, why if the flesh eating tribe are scavengers, then do they not wear any puffy jackets (which seems to be the mandatory dress style of that era), taken from the dead?  Why do they wear tatty leathers or punk like gear?  It's not explained either, why they don't feel the cold as much other than some of them wearing hats.  I had to chuckle to myself as bombs go off, we get the obligatory slow down running and the cinematic surround boooooooo... found in nearly every action film these days.  When Briggs fired up the first dynamite stick I sort of predicted that happening.

In the UK it's rated '18', but the gore is minimum, apart from splashes and a brief scene of carved up corpses which is near enough in the dark, so don't watch this film expecting a crimson shower.

Four people were involved in the story including the director Jeff Renfroe who has directed a handful of episodes for the USA version of "Being Human."  We really tried to like
"The Colony" because all card's down the first forty minutes or so are engrossing and holds your interest.  Unfortunately, by the conclusion you feel sold out by the team behind "The Colony."

Extras on the Entertainment One DVD release are limited to a brief Behind-the-Scenes feature.

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema
 

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Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from "The Colony" on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 16x9
 Region: NTSC R1
 Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo 5.1, 2.0


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - Behind the Scenes

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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