Have you noticed how movies are starting to gravitate toward living beings tackling cold and snowy environments here on Earth? Disney’s “Frozen” this holiday season might have been the animated human answer to the “Ice Age” franchise, the latter of which told us what used to be on Earth. And while “Frozen” is somewhat of a fantasy world where winter is cast as a spell, was it a subtle nod to the idea of global cooling?
It might seem unlikely to think of an environmental message like that placed in a family film. Some theorists may think it’s trying to plant the idea of global cooling into the minds of our future generation to get them used to it. Global cooling is far from done in being discussed. It’s still being argued in some scientific circles lately as being more of a possibility than global warming and the real reason behind our extreme weather.
Whether true or not, global cooling plots aren’t going to be consistently settled into the family film market. Adult sci-fi will also soon start tackling it as the antithesis to the global warming sociological sci-fi tales of the 1970s. We’ve seen more references to global warming in futuristic sci-fi movies than anything other than nuclear winter. Usually, it’s been a combination of both, hence eliminating mankind (except for an A-list star or two).
While movies like “Soylent Green” still give the fears of us needing to take extreme measures in our food supply while battling extreme heat, we haven’t had a sociological examination in smaller spaces. We’ll be seeing that soon in the movie “Snowpiercer” that takes on global cooling for the adult set. This one is going to be set on a large train as the only method of transportation left on an earth that’s been frozen over with a new ice age.
On this train, we have a hierarchical setup of the poor living on the bottom floor and the rich on the top floor. Yes, all of this on a train where the poor and rich still intermingle on the same floor in our current time. But it’s a perfect setup for establishing the social injustices that may happen if the world ever cooled to such a level. While it may answer some questions about the nature of human beings during times of weather crisis, it brings to question whether “Snowpiercer” can set off a new spate of similar films afterward.
There’s something inherently scarier about the thought of the world freezing over than when warming up. That’s because some people could probably take the heat longer than they could surviving in subzero temperatures. It’s the new stuff of nightmares that the movies may be geared up to explore.
We’ve certainly seen our share of how harrowing the cold can be in past classic films. The ice labyrinth chase scene between Jack Torrance and his son, Danny, in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” only showed a preview of what’s possible with frigid cold on a global scale. Those who grew up with the original “Star Wars” movies also remember the nightmare scenes on Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back” and how cold and ice turns survival to the extreme.
Sci-fi has been lacking in sociological study in recent years, and “Snowpiercer” can potentially bring more global cooling plots showing us how it could affect humanity. We should wait for the tale that shows an entire earthly generation preparing for global warming, only to be met with global cooling instead. A blistering ironic story like this is one that provides the irreversible tragedy of humanity the best sociological sci-fi of the 1970s gave us.
While Disney disguised global cooling with fantasy and a feel-good story, it’s inevitable we’re in for some very bleak depictions. When those happen, we’re going to get a group of sci-fi films that may look downright accurate in about 30 years. Those sci-fi movies of the 1970s look painfully accurate now and ably shows how predicting the future in film is becoming much more interesting than depicting our past.