Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Futuristic Colony bleak inside and out

  • Print

IT'S almost May.

As I write this, it's snowing. Again.

The snow on my front lawn is still about a metre deep.

And did I mention it's almost May?

I state these things in the interest of laying prejudices on the table: A post-apocalyptic movie set on the perpetually frozen Earth is not something I would have chosen to see if I had a choice.

I'm sorry. The concept of a never-ending winter hits a little too close to home.

But even factoring in my weather-related chagrin, the doom-laden scenario of the Canadian sci-fi/horror hybrid The Colony doesn't hold much redeeming value as either entertainment or social commentary.

The year is 2045, and Earth's population is reduced to the clever few who have taken up residence in a handful of underground colonies, where they are sustained by meagre hydroponic farms.

On Colony 7, the populace is especially vigilant about disease. A common cold will result in forced quarantine, and if you don't get better, you have to go for a long walk -- outside.

Even on this policy, there is a divide. The colony's ultimate authority Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) favours the private (exile) option. His ruthless second-in-command Mason (Bill Paxton) is inclined to quickly execute the afflicted with a single shot to the head.

Yep, even in 2045, there is still a health-care debate.

The grim populaces face a different danger when a neighbouring colony ceases communication with Colony 7. Briggs decides to investigate himself, along with the plucky mechanic Sam (Kevin Zegers) and an adventure-craving young man named Graydon (Atticus Mitchell). In the face of Mason's nascent psychosis, they leave Sam's girlfriend Kai (Charlotte Sullivan) in charge of the colony.

After the long trek to the neighbours, the three adventurers find a virtually abandoned facility, only to discover some malevolent interlopers who now endanger Colony 7.

In shooting this future-imperfect adventure, director Jeff Renfroe invokes comparison to, of all things, Waterworld, with which it shares a worst-case-scenario message about hubris, climate change and a feral future for humanity.

But even Waterworld (itself a waterlogged rip-off of The Road Warrior) had the redeeming visual value of sun and sea. The largely computer-generated icy landscapes of The Colony are bleak, bleak, and more bleak, broken up by scenes of industrial grunge and slaughterhouse horror.

The only way it might have worked if the script by Patrick Tarr, Pascal Trottier and Svet Rouskov offered a novel bit of wit and/or terror to the proceedings. They don't.

I admit this movie may just be the victim of a poorly chosen release date. In the heat of the summer, people might find the concept more palatably alien.

If I want to confront the spectacle of bedraggled humanity struggling to survive in a grey realm of unceasing winter, I'll just get out of bed.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 26, 2013 D5


Updated on Friday, April 26, 2013 at 9:21 AM CDT: adds fact box

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Lawless in the Morning (March 30): Jets believe they belong

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(  Standup photo)-    A butterfly looks for nector on a lily Tuesday afternoon in Wolseley-JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- June 22, 2010
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos


What do you think of Manitoba Hydro's deal to create a surface-parking lot to allow for construction of a new substation?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google