In the realm of sci-fi thrillers, Netflix has been a platform that consistently delivers a variety of content that spans across numerous sub-genres and themes. From dystopian futures to alien invasions, the streaming giant has something for every sci-fi enthusiast. One such recent addition to its repertoire is a gritty sci-fi thriller titled The Colony, which paints a bleak and desolate picture of our home planet, Earth.
The Colony, an English-language German-Swiss science fiction movie directed by Tim Fehlbaum, takes the audience on a harrowing journey through a post-apocalyptic Earth, exploring themes of survival, desperation, and the inherent human instinct to persevere against all odds. Originally titled Tides, the film made its debut at the 71st Berlin International Film Festival in 2021 before making its way to Netflix in January 2022.
A Glimpse into a Desolate Future
The Premise of The Colony
The film introduces viewers to a future where Earth has succumbed to a global catastrophe, forcing the upper echelons of society to seek refuge in a space colony known as Kepler-209. However, the sanctuary soon reveals its unsustainable nature as heavy radiation renders its inhabitants infertile. In a desperate bid to preserve humanity, a mission is launched to determine whether Earth has become habitable once again. The narrative follows astronauts Blake (Nora Arnezeder), Tucker (Sope Dirisu), and Holden (Hong Indira Rieck) as they navigate through the challenges and threats posed by this new Earth.
The ‘Muds’ and The Colony’s Dilemma
Survivors from the initial mission to Earth, previously presumed dead, have been gathering the children of the remaining human population, now dubbed the ‘Muds’, for their own secretive purposes. Gibson (Iain Glen), a survivor from the first mission, leads a group of raiders who imprison these survivors on cargo ships, introducing a complex dynamic between the colony, the Muds, and Gibson’s group.
Visual and Thematic Brilliance Amidst Criticism
A Visual Spectacle
The Colony is lauded for its stunning visuals, presenting landscapes that are simultaneously beautiful and haunting. The desolate, half-destroyed environments, drenched in wet and grey hues, evoke a sense of dread and melancholy, effectively conveying the bleakness of Earth’s future. The score, composed by Lorenz Dangel, complements the visuals with its hauntingly beautiful melodies, tinged with an industrial, slightly ugly interference, enhancing the film’s gritty atmosphere.
Criticisms and Shortcomings
Despite its visual appeal, The Colony has faced criticism for its slow pacing and plot holes, garnering an average score of 54 percent from 28 critics and a 35 percent viewer score from over 100 viewers. The plot, while straightforward and classic in its Sci-Fi approach, has been deemed lacking and not particularly revolutionary, especially in its exploration of class systems and environmental commentary.
Comparisons and Context in Sci-Fi Cinema
The Colony in the Sci-Fi Landscape
While The Colony offers an interesting premise, it is not entirely unique within the Sci-Fi genre. Films like After Earth (2013) and Wall-E (2008) have explored similar themes with varying degrees of success. The former struggled with viewer reception, while the latter was widely acclaimed, indicating that the execution of such themes is pivotal to a film’s success.
Television Series vs Film
Television series like The 100 and Battlestar Galactica have managed to explore similar themes with more depth and complexity, thanks to the extended runtime that allows for character development and plot evolution. This has often resulted in a more favourable reception from audiences and critics alike, suggesting that the medium can significantly impact the storytelling of such thematic content.
Final Thoughts on this gritty sci-fi thriller on Netflix
The Colony brings to the table a visual spectacle and a narrative that, while not groundbreaking, adds to the rich tapestry of Sci-Fi thrillers exploring post-apocalyptic worlds and the struggle for survival amidst desolation. Despite its shortcomings and mixed reviews, it offers a cinematic experience that may be appreciated by those who find solace in its stunning cinematography and the raw, gritty portrayal of a future that humanity desperately hopes to avoid.
In the broader context, The Colony serves as a reminder of the potential and challenges that lie in Sci-Fi storytelling. While it navigates through familiar territories, it also opens up discussions about humanity, survival, and the ethical dilemmas that arise when faced with extinction. Whether it becomes a staple in Sci-Fi cinema or a transient piece, The Colony undeniably leaves its mark, prompting viewers to ponder the future and our role in shaping it.
What do you make of this news? Are you going to watch The Colony on Netflix?
You can stream The Colony on Netflix right now.