Playing now on Indonesia’s big screens are two blockbusters. Both set in the future, both present a study on order in the futuristic society, and the revolt against it. Seriously, guys … where are movies that predict the future as a happy place where all our sweet dreams come true?
Bong Joon-Ho‘s ambitious feat follows a futuristic Noah’s ark in the form of a train powerd by a perpetual-motion engine. The world has turned cold – thanks to a failed effort to overcome global warming, bringing the new ice age to the planet. On board, class system is applied, and the poor suffers in the back of the train. After 17 years rounding the globe, now the tail of this snowpiercing train is trying to bring down the head.
Packed with ideas and loaded with thoughts on order in society, Snowpiercer indeed exhibits excellent filmmaking. The film explores facism and population control, and delivers great action sequences in cramped set pieces at the same time. But one major thing kills the idea of second viewing: the lack of elements of fun. The non-existent love story lets Snowpiercer hangs on a very weak thread of entertainment. It’s a great and excellent study trip, mind you – no money and time wasted! – but, don’t bother bringing a bucket of popcorn.
Snowpiercer (2013, South Korea), directed by Bong Joon-Ho, starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Octavia Spence, Song Kang-Ho, Ko Ah-Sung, and Ed Harris, is playing in Jakarta now at Blitzmegaplex only. It’s the original cut, not Harvey Weinstein’s.
Following up Katniss Everdeen’s story, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire finds a great balance between fantastic – if not comic – thoughts on order, being a symbol-slash-celebrity, survival, and a rather emotional – if not mellow – love story. I honestly did not enjoy the first movie, but this sequel made me want to revisit it.
As expected, Jennifer Lawrence holds the whole story on her shoulders confidently. A great sequel does not (just) make bigger or more explosive scenes, but firstly explores the characters involved deeper, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire does that indeed. We are brought to know Haymitch Abernathy, Effie Trinket, and even Gale Hawthorne further. The addition of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee does not only present a new menace to Katniss, but also leads to an exciting cliffhanger.
And while Indonesians are proud to have Tex Saverio’s design appears as Katniss’s wedding dress, the film also subtly sends a message that fashion, too, can play a very important role in a political revolution.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013, USA) has in total 50 minutes presentation shot on IMAX, so a trip to IMAX theaters is worth it. For sound connoisseurs, the Dolby Atmos also adds dimension throughout the 146-minutes duration.