판도라 예고편 (Original title)
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Not Available in South Korea
Written by: Park Jong-woo
Directed by: Park Jong-woo
Starring: Jin-yeong Jeong, Kim Joo-Hyun, Shin-it Kang
In this Korean language film from screenwriter turned director Park Jung-Woo, an earthquake hits a nuclear power plant, and the already irradiated plant engineers risk their lives
to save family and country from the impending atomic explosion.
Not a bad disaster movie but it suffers from trying to tell a few too many stories and taking too long to get to the point. Trimming the fat would make this a faster paced and better movie. The last half is much better than the first, but this needs a single character from start to finish to unify the movie.
This contains heavy foreshadowing that in a few instances isn't even logical. This starts with a flash back scene to set the stage for a nuclear power in Korea. It's not necessary, and it doesn't even address the fact that a third of Korea's power is from nuclear energy. That fact would have provided a context for the impending disaster. Instead we get a scene with kids describing a nuclear power plant and having no idea what it is.
The start of this throws everything at you. There are protestors, lazy employees, and rats that inexplicably flee from the sewers. It makes no sense as the rats run before ANYTHING happens, but the point is, something bad is coming.
Everything that can go wrong does. Coolant is leaking all over the place. Radiation is stopping all relief efforts, affecting fireman and rescue workers. The nuclear disaster is the star of this more than any one person because there are just too many under developed characters to care about. It's capturing such a broad story that there's not a single element to unify this. It's like San Andreas (2015) (read my review) without Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. We need a single person to carry the movie.
Does this plant really not have any gear to protect against radiation? Maybe the radiation is just so high at the end of the movie it doesn't matter. Once we get to this point, the movie has figured out what it is. We've got the brave engineers willing to risk their lives to save the city. There's selflessness and a rousing speech. There are just too many disparate stories that weren't connected well enough prior to the final plot point. Finally the conclusion sheds everything unnecessary and focuses just on what's happening in the plant. This should be a ninety minute movie. Focusing just on the plant would solve a lot of issues. The last quarter isn't that different from recent disaster movie Deepwater Horizon (2016) (read my review), though there's still a wide gulf between them.
The first half of this movie is a definite skip, but the last half of this is just good enough to make this an "It depends."