The Colony (Blu-ray)
Image Entertainment / 2013 / 94 mins / NR
There isn't a whole lot of THE COLONY that doesn't come with a healthy smack of déjà vu. From characters to concepts to situations, this Canadian after-the-end-of-the-world movie seems to be more of a patchwork quilt from numerous other films than anything else. Where this déjà vu in other movies with fairly rigid formulas (like, say, the underdog sports movie) can come across as a comforting cushion for audiences to sit back and enjoy their variation of the theme, in THE COLONY it comes across as plain lazy storytelling.
The year is 2045. Due to a failed weather control experiment, the snow has not stopped falling for 11 years. The entire planet is buried in ice and resources like medicine and food have either dried up or are dwindling. The human survivors have either set up "colonies" where they are trying to 1. find a way to reverse the weather situation and 2. save as many seeds and livestock specimens as they can in hopes of being able to farm someday or they have... well, spoilers. Colony 7 is our base of operations for this movie, led by Laurence Fishburne's Briggs. In addition to life in general, one of their main concerns is disease; something they have no way to combat. So, if you get the sniffles you are put in quarantine. If you don't get better in a day or two you are given the choice of walking into the wasteland or taking a bullet in the head. Mason (Bill Paxton, playing an evil version of his Private Hudson from ALIENS) has decided this isn't working and simply shoots the sick he is ordered to give a choice to. Into this stew of high pressure tension comes a distress call from the sort of nearby Colony 5. Briggs takes two volunteers to check it out. While they do get some good news from their trip, it is overshadowed by the... other type of human survivors.
THE COLONY isn't all bad. Apart from the always enjoyable Paxton and Fishburne the film features loads of very nicely done special effects. The panoramic vistas of buried and ruined cities are as good as anything that has come out of Hollywood. Unfortunately, a pretty picture does not a movie make and the endless elements lifted from THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, 28 DAYS LATER, ALIENS and the RESIDENT EVIL franchise make you feel as though you have already seen THE COLONY. Whenever a plot point is introduced, you know exactly how it is going to end; and unfortunately the FOUR writers credited with this project don't deviate from what has come before in the slightest.
The anamorphic 2.35 transfer is pretty enough. The loads and loads of digital effects blend in seamlessly offering lots of cityscapes buried in snow and science fiction-y looking towers that have crumbled with age. White are bright, blacks are deep and detail is sharp. No complaints on the look of the film.
Ditto the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundmix. Interiors can be either cavernous or claustrophobic depending on where the action is; the outdoor scenes are suitably windswept and desolate. Dialogue is clear and the creatures make creepy enough roaring howls to make you look over your shoulder.
The sole supplement is "Behind the Scenes Interviews with Cast and Crew" and is about a generic as the title. The key participants in front and behind the camera offer their insight in this publicity skewed piece that is worth checking out.
If there really isn't anything else to rent, THE COLONY is worth an overnight look.