This film managed to hit both of my biggest sci-fi movie peeves:
- the hero “saves” the world by destroying everything and killing everyone; and
- the final scenes proceed as if the fundamental rule of the narrative (established in the opening scenes) doesn’t exist. From that first scene, the cold outside will freeze your body solid in seven minutes…but then, in the final scene, characters walk out into the snow without gloves or hats and with coats hanging open and they’re fine. Start the inspirational closing theme. (I really hate that kind of stuff.)
So ultimately, I’m not sure what to make of the North American hype around this film. I’m sure people have arguments about style and construction and etc. But I’m guessing that at root it’s about the fascination of big names working for a South Korean filmmaker on an arty Matrix-style, life-as-a-box sci-fi dystopia.