Netflix loves a good sci-fi film. The streaming platform has an entire treasure trove of collections to rifle through. So when I saw this week that a new title had been added, I had to jump on the wagon and check it out. The Colony is latest original sci-fi film on Netflix, and without further ado, let’s dive in and check it out.
The film is directed and co-written by Tim Fehlbaum, which was originally titled Tides when first released in Europe earlier in 2021. The story tells of a reconnaissance mission to an abandoned planet that has undergone radical environmental change, along with war and disease which decimated the population. Yes, it’s Earth.
The ruling elite of the population fled, and settled on Keppler 209, an arid and dry planet able to sustain life. Now, a few hundred years into the future the Ulysses-2 astronaut team must survey the planet to see if it’s viable to host life. That, and the current colony population is suffering from infertility, with the hopes that Earth holds the key to saving the species.
The mission is led by Blake (Nora Arnezeder), the daughter of an infamous astronaut (Sebastian Roché) who commanded the Ulysses-1 which was tragically lost and never heard from again. After Blake’s ship crashes down to Earth into the ocean, she’s immediately forced into action, fighting to survive. What she wasn’t expecting to find, however, were survivors. Survivors with children.
Fans old enough will immediately draw comparisons to Waterworld (1995), and the Mad Max franchise, and it’s easy to see why. The location of the film is unknown within the context of the story, but the conditions suggest the polar ice caps have melted and the planet now shifts swiftly from oceans rolling in and out leaving only muddy, wet beaches in their wake.
Visually it’s a stunning film to behold, utilizing a vast amount of practical cinematography. Fehlbaum and his team deserve a large amount of praise because there are some beautiful shots that are absolutely breathtaking.
That being said, the plot itself is rather thin, and just as the story starts to develop, the curtains roll up. The film relies on a heavy amount of tension and action to capture the audience’s attention, which sadly it doesn’t consistently do a great job at delivering.
Additionally, there is a swath of films set around post-apocalyptic futures where humans squandered our stewardship to the planet, so naturally, comparisons will be drawn and the question will be asked “so how does The Colony set itself apart from the rest?”.Simply put, it doesn’t.
There are too many heavy-handed notions of the surviving population devolving into warring community tribes. While the elite class that escaped have passed down their knowledge and decorum and have come to save the people from itself. This theme is challenged late on. But it’s frustrating watching the assumption that the lower classes only know survival, becoming brutal and savage, whereas the elite class comes riding in on their space shuttle bringing technology and science with them.
The twist at the end is predictable, and forecasted, without ever really leaving you with an impact for what the film wanted to say. The message appears to be hope, but adversely I was left with a feeling that this would just be a second chance to screw it all up.
The performances of Arnezeder, Roché, and Iain Glenn, who pops up in the later stages, make for a decent watch, but not enough to lift the quality of the film above its average reception.
In the end, The Colony promised to be a fascinating concept, but the plot left a lot to be desired, leaving too much on the table. There were some good performances, but what really delivered for me was the cinematography that was brilliantly captured and produced some astounding shots. The film is largely uninspired, however, failing to make any kind of impression.
The Colony is available now exclusively on Netflix.
- Rating - 6.5/106.5/10
The Colony promised to be a fascinating concept, but the plot left a lot to be desired, leaving too much on the table. There were some good performances, but what really delivered for me was the cinematography that was brilliantly captured and produced some astounding shots. The film is largely uninspired, however, failing to make any kind of impression.
Aaron is a contributing writer at But Why Tho, serving as a reviewer for TV and Film. He is also the co-host and social media manager of the Nerds Social Club podcast.
Hailing originally from England, and after some lengthy questing, he’s currently set up shop in Pennsylvania. He spends his days reading comics, podcasting, and being attacked by his small offspring.