Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Days & Weeks

Look! What passes on The Pie Blog™ as a "clever" title for a post!

While reinstalling the game on my PC for the one too many-th time because I reinstalled a 64bit version of Windows 7, I wrote up some review/commentary/comparison between 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later.

It was in about ten minutes with minimal spellchecking/editing on some particularly lousy forum software, so there's almost definitely an abundance of errors. Here she is:
I've seen both. I definitely liked Days better of the two. There's spoilers of both below, so don't read if you haven't seen them. I personally think after 5+ years people should either go watch/play/read whatever or not expect everyone to keep the twists and turns a secret. But whatever, moving on....

That's not to say Days was without problems though. First, the positive. It had a pretty genuinely creepy, hostile environment for the pre-Mansion part of the movie. It didn't just make everything dark and have squeeky cats pop out every ten minutes like some horror flicks do. You got the feeling that this place is totally fucked and there's little hope of escaping it. The viewer also discovered (though much wasn't hard to guess) what happened along with Jim. The writer and director obviously heeded the "Show, don't tell" mantra of writing/storytelling.

The characters while not ultra deep studies of the human character weren't all one dimensional and boring. Towards the end of the movie there's a moment where Jim is about to be brained by the black girl (who's name I forget) because he's acting as, if not more, savage than the infected. The Rage Virus didn't transform people into blood-thirsty monsters, it kind of just flipped a switch that was already there. Or flipped a switch off. Depends on your view of human nature, I suppose.

Now for the negative. The story while still entertaining was far too predictable towards the end. The soldiers kidnap and are pretty blatantly planning on gang raping the two girls (one of whom is underage), and take Jim off into the woods to put a few new holes in his head. Did anyone not see that coming? That's not rhetorical, I'd like to actually know if a person exists who while watching 28 Days Later did not realize what was coming? I'll wait...

Ok, so that's not much negative. Well, the CG zombie child was pretty bad CG. There, that's all the bad I can speak of [i]Days[/i].

As for we go. Let's start with the positives again. The intro was suspenseful and built tension and terror as infected began to burst through with increasingly little apparent hope of escape. Then the cowardly, later-infected, antagonist flees in broad daylight in a speedboat that was conveniently just left tied to a dock, not half full or sunk from of any rainwater in the past SIX MONTHS (I never new England didn't get rain), and makes his getaway.

Now for some negative. Improbably dry and basically fully functional speedboat aside, maybe the director was trying to go for some sort of ironic contrast of the nighttime-like conditions of the survivors hiding out with candles to the shocking full daylight escape, but it really didn't work for me. Being "avant garde" or whatever by having the contrast of daylight in a zombie movie and that the infected are still vicious even when they could get a tan...Ugh. Maybe it's just me, but the dark adds a fear of the unknown. The pre-preposterous escape scene was dark despite it being daylight. That makes sense because the survivors had boarded all the windows, but I didn't get the sense it was daytime watching it. It just really didn't work for me. Maybe I'm just weird, whatever.

Back to some later in the movie positive. I found several of the character interactions interesting, if still a bit weird. The husband who escaped in the beginning kissing his wife, becoming infected and then violently murdering her, and stalking his own children in an apparently more willful and intelligent way than most infected was pretty disturbing yet interesting. I'm not entirely sure what the commentary there was, but I definitely noticed something.

The movies two BIG negatives that really made it a mediocre successor to Days are that after the infection disaster starts practically everybody but the main characters (and sometimes some of them as well) is handed the Idiot Ball for the rest of the movie.

Watching it you'll constantly be asking yourself, "Why the hell did he/she/they do that?!?" as somebody does something stupid that is either self-defeating or a massive overreaction that is unlikely to improve the situation. (Somebody on an earlier page mentioned that the overreaction of the American troops who begin murdering everyone, including the obviously not infected, was supposed to be social commentary. But it was handled so hamhandedly it was lost on most people.)

There's also the ending. The movie was originally supposed to have the kid who was infected, like his dead mom, but not psycho because of it (also like his mom) being flown away and the credits rolling. The new director instead hired a bunch of extras (a.k.a. "homeless people") to get on some makeup and run at the camera all crazily in France in a final scene. There could, hopefully, be some non-retarded explanation for how this happened, but I really doubt it.

It reminds me of the very much dead, with his head cut and waved about to the camera no less, Vorador appearing without explanation in Blood Omen 2. It was made by a different studio who crapped all over the continuity with a nonsensical story and forced the proper devteam in Defiance to try and explain away all the nonsense. (The answer was basically, "A wizard did it!" Kain gained sudden new powers that you'd have thought he would have used before under different circumstances, but didn't because nobody had asspulled them yet.)
So yeah. I complained about an awful game in the Legacy of Kain series instead of that Squall/Seifer/GODiHATEthisGAMEsuckFEST for a change. Gotta switch it up once in a while, right?

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