August 19, 2003

112 Days Later

So CCC finally got around to seeing 28 Days Later. Much later. Yes, yes, we're lame and pathetic for taking such a long time to see the summer's second giant indie-baby smash hit of all time 2003 (the first being Bend it Like Hot Jonathon Rhys-Meyers. which, um, we haven't seen either). C3 almost turned in his film student card, but finally gathered the energy and money to go see it with his best pal, Jason.

For the most part, we loved it. And by love, we mean it made us pee ourselves in fright. Just a little. HOWEVER, there were MAJOR problems.

WARNING, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD (for those 3 people left who haven't seen the movie)

28 days.jpg 1) How the hell did the disease spread to other countries? It takes 20 seconds for people to go from normal to zombie after infection, so how would the disease cross the English Channel, much less the Atlantic Ocean? I suppose that a boat being boarded could become infected and then leave, fleeing in terror. Same with a plane. The captain could lock him or herself in the navigation room thingie until they got to where they wanted to go, but A) that would mean that the zombies wouldn't be able to break down a door, B) the person navigating would have to be scared stupid to think it smart to dock or land somewhere, and C) wherever they would try to go would have to be really fucking stupid to not shoot the hell out of anything coming from Zombie Town, UK.

2) The alternate ending. What the bloody hell? If we’re going to be forced to sit through some very loud credits, we damn well best be handsomely rewarded (Matrix Reloaded, you could take perk your ears up). And while CCC does think that a writer/director's vision (in this case, presenting the original ending to the film as a "What if...") is more important than the whims of stupid audience members, the slightly open-ended alternate original was wholly unsatisfying compared to the new, shot on film, w00t w00t happy ending. And the new ending isn't really much of a "What if...", so much as an "Or...". The difference in the two is that a "what if" should produce a definitively different ending (which it didn't), whilst an "or" just shows some small differences (which it did--ok, the death of a character isn't so small, but still, the two endings aren't mutually exclusive, which is what was expected).

28 days 2.jpg 3) "I hate you!" What!? Why is this zombie demon baby child saying this? In case you don't remember, when Jim enters the hamburger stand (a stupid movie decision in the first place) a young kid attacks him, only to be beat down by Jim and his trusty bat, Zombie Smasher. The kid, silent when sneaking up on Jim, jumps on him and shouts, "I hate you!" Yes. He says this. Despite seeing many a zombie in the movie, and knowing that they're infected with "rage", this is the only time one of them speaks. And in our opinion, being able to say "I hate you" denotes a certain amount of intelligence. In fact, knowing grammar gets you pretty high up there. The zombie didn't say "Me hate you," or "Me hates you," or "Hate," or "We hate you, my precious." It had subject-verb agreement and correct first person singular going on. And le zombie said "I hate you" in a clear, loud voice. No grumble or mumble or growl. WHAT THE FUCK?!

4) A small thing, but what happened to all the cats and dogs? Can they catch "the rage"? Why were chimps chosen in the first place? Their immune system isn't the closest one to ours, is it? If they can catch it, why not other/all animals? CCC supposes the scene in the tunnel with the wave of rats outrunning the zombies explained that animals were afraid of zombies, but we think that there should be some zombie animals around. Like zombie horses. How completely awesome would it have been if that pack of horses had turned out to be zombies and descended on our band of travelers? Eh? Eh?

5) Why the hell must all end of the world movies (which this wasn't, it turns out) hit us over the head with the "man kills man, left-over man must rebuild society, oh, wait, left-over man is actually crazy and re-enacts Lord of the Flies, left-over man is beaten by other, hotter left-over man and we all see the evils of our ways". This one really didn't need much of the third act. They could have just left it there and not turned Jim into...

6) ...The Terminator. Where did Jim get all these skillz-with-a-zed? Just because your kinda woman and your kinda daughter are about to get raped and crap doesn't mean you’re suddenly imbibed with all sorts of atheletic abilities and a death grip. And why does the movie bother making us think he's a zombie? It serves no purpose. Unless he were to become a zombie with a gold heart. Awww...

Ok, writing all this has made C3 dislike the movie a little bit more than he thought he did. So here's what's good about 28 Days Later:

-Well thought out "what would happen if the world were ending" scenarios involving food, water, and the way people find each other
-Blowing up zombies with land mines
-Pretty red dresses (for girls about to get raped :-/)
-Starving zombies
-A satisfyingly heartwarming ending
-Priest zombies
-Selena (played by Naomie Harris) being an ass-kicking chick
-Jim and his hot ass
-Zombies, now with vomiting action
-Some beautiful videography
-Scary scary zombies that wiggle funny because they're angry

Posted by josh at August 19, 2003 11:32 AM

I enjoyed bits and pieces of 28 DAYS LATER, but the whole thing didn't add up to anything anywhere near a revolutionary take on zombies -- just a grainier one, with stranger lighting. Mainly it irked me that the characters pulled ALL THE SAME STUPID MONSTER MOVIE SHIT after proving themselves to be semi-experts at surviving; "Why yes, taking the darkened subterranean route is obviously a better idea than the well-lit overground one," and "Why yes, I'll explore this abandoned service station alone!"

And yes: the horses were such a disappointment. Here's how I would've played the scene:

JIM: Think they're infected?
(CUT TO: Horses. They suddenly snap their heads towards the camera. Their eyes are glowing red and their teeth have been sharpened into gnashing fangs. They are foaming at the mouth. A guitar squeals.)

Posted by: Chris at August 19, 2003 7:03 PM

think about it the ending this way...isn't it a bit terrifying to think that NOBODY would go help the people at all in england and thus, they are quarantined. i don't think they ever say the virus spread to other stayed within the what does that really say about the rest of the world?

Posted by: e at August 22, 2003 2:23 PM

you goons... of course it would be wrong to have the horses infected. this wasn't "Coven" or "Friday the 13th" or some other goofball movie; Boyle was trying to say something intelligent and give the viewer a moment to reflect.

Posted by: me at October 18, 2003 2:04 PM