Review: 'The Colony' explores beyond the 'happily ever after'

Posted October 21,2021 - 03:06 PM

Hollywood has a fascination for all things "happily ever after." Many of their offerings focus on the struggle and pathos that lead up to the cliché ending above, but for some people, that's not enough.

I am one of those people.

As it relates to the film The Colony, a traditional Hollywood film would focus on the lead-up to the catastrophic event and the heroic and heartbreaking decisions that have to be made to ensure humanity's survival. See Greenland. Deep Impact. The Day After Tomorrow.

You get my point.

Far less celluloid is spent on what comes after that proverbial ending, but that's the part that I'm always fascinated about. Humans have a way of adapting and finding a way to survive. If our planet is decimated to the point of needing to find another home, will those left behind be able to eke out an existence?

That's where The Colony picks up.

In this riveting sci-fi thriller from executive producer Roland Emmerich, Earth has been decimated by climate change, pandemics, and war. Years after the ruling elite escaped to another planet, a mission was launched to find out if a return to an uninhabitable Earth were possible. That mission was lost. Now, a lone astronaut in search of answers struggles to survive the hostile planet, and she must ultimately make a choice that will seal the fate of the wasteland's remaining populace.

Executive produced by the master of this "destroy the planet" oeuvre of film Roland Emmerich, The Colony opens two generations after the elites of Earth vacated the dying planet for greener pastures on Kepler 209. Well, you know what they say about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence.

As it turns out everything isn't all champagne wishes and caviar dreams on Kepler as humans on this planet have lost the ability to procreate. Nothing will put a stop to repopulating the human race than losing the ability to have children.

So, after getting signals from a weather station orbiting Earth that the planet might be healing itself, the survivors send two exploratory missions to investigate the potential of returning home. The action follows a young astronaut, Blake, from the second mission who is intent on trying to save her people and to find out what became of the first mission, which was headed up by her father.

Yeah, there's a lot going on here. But, I'm on board for the most part because as I said, this type of story interests me. What she finds naturally is anything but what she thought she'd find.

Overall, the look and feel of the movie is something of a mix between Waterworld and Mad Max, both of which are also set in a post-apocalyptic dystopian future. The biggest problem that I have with The Colony is that the filmmakers again didn't spend enough time developing the script.

I'm not sure if it's a matter of filmmakers becoming lazy or just shoddy writing, but so many good premises these days simply die somewhere in the second act, and the end either feels rushed or unearned. That's the case here as I was hoping for a more thorough exploration of the Muds (the ancestors of the survivors left behind all those years ago) or at least more explanation for Gibson's motivations.

I think either or both of those things would have added so much more to the film. In the end, though, I'm not sure if it would have been enough. It's always difficult to pull these types of dystopian films and, to be frank, there's just not much here that compels the audience enough to be rooting for any outcome.

It is an interesting concept and in today's Covid landscape, it's going to be increasingly difficult to get films such as these made and made at a level that one expects from these types of films. At the end of the day, your mileage may vary, but I felt myself watching the clock hoping that an asteroid would come and put the characters, and me, out of their misery.

The Colony is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.