Back before we rebranded global warming into climate change, we were afraid the world was cooling. Actually, in the 1970s, it was cooling, bringing on fears of a global ice age. This wasn’t addressed nearly as much in Cold War movies as fear of nuclear wars; many movies actually featured worlds that arose in the aftermath of such destruction, though it might have included a nuclear winter in there. What you don’t see, though, are many movies set in a future ice age.

After watching “Snowpiercer”, I tried finding similar movies and stumbled upon “Quintet”. These two movies are almost as far apart as possible, though they end up in the same, dismal place.

“Snowpiercer” is set on the namesake train that houses the last of humanity. They are kept alive, fed and warm by its perpetual energy source, the same thing that powers the train on its one year loop on a pre-determined track. The Ice Age these people survived was man-made, the result of geo-engineering gone wrong. Really, guys, you should have gone with the armada of ships generating clouds – you could turn it off or turn it down as required.

“Quintet” is set in a natural ice age, though it is bad and getting worse. The movie hints that there will eventually be no one left, though that’s a logical assumption given that the characters say seals just went extinct.

“Snowpiercer” is an action movie essentially from the start. A man is liberated from the jail section and works his way to the front of the train.

“Quintet” is a quiet movie at the beginning, even carrying hope for the future in the main character’s lover revelation that she is pregnant. The shock for many is that she’s killed just half an hour into the movie. That it happens for stupid reasons makes it worse.

“Snowpiercer” involves a main character seeking to save everyone, and he meets the creator of the train who offers him the chance to do that by taking on the leadership role. He wants to understand the train and get answers.

In “Quintet”, you and the main character learn that the multi-layered game and namesake of the movie has several layers. The basic, table top version of the game is based on Dungeons and Dragons. The higher-stakes version involves gambling. And the top tier involves killing those who die on the board.

At the end of “Snowpiercer”, the main character chooses to blow up the train and derail it. He’d rather end everything than sacrifice more children of his friends as literal cogs in the machine to keep it all going. That is the secret that the conductor knows, the reason the children were taken.

In interviews with the director, it is made almost certain that the two children who are “saved” are the last humans alive. And they’re walking out of a literal train wreck to stare in wonder at a polar bear that is quite likely to eat them. “Snowpiercer” thus saved these “train-babies”, children born after the end of the world, one saved by her father, the other saved by Curtis. In “Quintet”, the main character tries to save his young lover and their unborn child but fails at the very start. In the end of both movies, though, the children are certainly doomed … and so is the human race.

At the end of their war for our attention, both movies suggest there is nothing redeemable about humanity and that we’re doomed to extinction. We fought a war for survival as individuals, success as people and groups (especially in Snowpiercer), but at the end, we all lost.