2307: Winter's Dream (2016)
Paul Sidhu (Bishop), Brandon Coles (Ash-393), Anne-Solenne Hatte (Atka), Arielle Holmes (Kix), Kelcey Watson (El Hatta), Timothy Lee DePriest (Ishmael), Brad Potts (General Trajan)
"141 years after man declared God dead we're in the middle of the longest winter in human history. 300 years of remorseless cold and it probably won't end for another million, not until every last one of us has disappeared. The only thing left of mankind's footprint dwells ten meters beneath the ice where the last of Earth's geothermal energy pumps life into the bowels of our crumbling infrastructure. We are the only surviving animals; scavengers still driven by commerce, creators of a synthetic world, humanoids our black-blooded offspring engineered in our own likeness, a race of workers and the men who police them. Any hope of peace was forgotten a long lost time ago." - Bishop, opening narration
It's been a while since I've covered a direct-to-video film and this one was inspired by a random visit to Wal-Mart where I saw a movie with a bad cover, a bad title, and a rather brazen pull quote where it's compared to Mad Max. I didn't have anything planned for this slot and I felt like destroying something so I put it on the docket for the column.
The movie starts off with the lead character Bishop (Paul Sidhu) narrating in the sort of joke grimdark anti-hero voice that has been adopted for comedic purposes in pop culture of late. (Think Derek Wilson in Hulu's Future Man) The joke badass voice is accompanied by some truly clunky expository narration (see above) that would be a pretty clever if it weren't meant to be taken 100% seriously.
Bishop sets up that humanity lives in a frozen wasteland that has lasted 300 years and that humankind has genetically engineered a slave caste of grey-skinned, hairless, black blooded creatures called Humanoids or just Noids for short. Some sort of event happened where the Noids broke free, killing their masters, and ran off into the frozen wasteland (they're genetically engineered to survive the cold) to ruin everyone's pizza. In the process of this breakout, Bishop's wife was murdered and her unborn child pulled from her womb by the king badass of the Noids, Roy Batt- I mean, Ash-393.
Bishop is a washed-up drug addict living in the slums of the Arizona underground human encampment of unspecified size. He's pulled from his stupor because he was one of the greatest soldiers that ever lived and a general wants to send him into The Dead Zone (an area of the frozen wasteland where a magnetic anomaly prevents energy weapons from working) to catch Ash-393. So he's saddled with the direct-to-video version of the squad from Aliens and sent into the wasteland where things fall apart almost immediately.
The first hour of this movie is wall-to-wall cliches and nearly every line of dialogue feels like something that would appear in a parody of an overly-macho military movie from the 1980s. The standouts among the soldiers are a blonde white supremacist woman (Arielle Holmes) and a Caribbean-accented black man with a booming laugh (Kelcey Wilson.) I do want to commend both of these actors for bringing some life to both of these stock characters because there is nothing in the script that makes them interesting.
So you've probably figured out by now that this movie is a mash-up of Blade Runner, Apocalypse Now, and I Am Legend. In fairness, I don't think that mashing up the plots of other stories is a bad thing per se. Originality is a myth and theft is one of fiction's greatest traditions, even when the theft is incredibly obvious. The problem is that 2307: Winter's Dream has nothing to separate it from the things from which it clearly draws its influences. It has nothing new to say in regards to any of these stories or ideas, it's just a cheaper rehash of those themes.
Visually, the movie looks very impressive for what is clearly a low-budget affair. The costumes and props look great and the actors, for a movie of this caliber, are pretty solid aside from the lead Paul Sidhu who's really not that bad when he's not effecting the growly voice he uses for narration. I have never seen Blue Valentine but considering that this movie's big selling point is that its writer/director Joey Curtis wrote that movie (he's actually one of three writers credited) I expected that the writing here would have been stronger than it is, because it's the film's biggest weakness. I daresay Curtis makes a far better director than he does a writer and I don't mean that as an insult.
2307: Winter's Dream is clearly a labor of love, which makes me feel like an asshole for tearing it down as much as I have. One can watch this movie and not feel like they've wasted their time but that's about as much of an endorsement I can give this one. Maybe with a stronger cast and script, Joey Curtis could make a good movie but this one is okay at best.
Next Time on Doomsday Reels
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