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IMDb page here, official page here. Seen at the Light with gillywoo, nigelmouse, glennkenobi and sturmed.

Absolutely cracking stuff! The tone is rather different from 28 Days Later - fairly unsurprisingly, given that it was produced by a completely different bunch of people. But I'd say about equally good overall.

There are definitely a few plot holes, the most major one in my view being: why, always assuming it was a good idea to start repopulating Britain at all anyway, bring the people to a city that is full of places for the infected to hide in and so difficult to monitor properly that two kids can easily give the entire NATO task-force the slip? Why not take them to a small town, which you can be sure you've swept properly beforehand and with a perimeter that can actually be secured? I mean, obviously I know that the answer to these questions is really "Because the film would have been crap if the characters had made all the right decisions." But still...

Anyway, apart from that rather ridiculous set-up, I did very much appreciate the way the whole plot basically stemmed from a series of different people's decisions which seemed sensible or at least understandable enough at the time, but in retrospect turned out to have been completely disastrous. Letting a scared boy into a 'safe' hideout, wanting a photograph of your dead mother, keeping a woman you think might be the key to curing a dangerous virus alive, giving the wife you'd thought was dead a kiss, not shooting a twelve-year-old boy, not wanting to run into the path of a sniper, hiding the fact that the last remaining member of your family is infected from people who you know will kill him if they find out, taking two apparently healthy children across the Channel to safety. We'd all make those decisions - just as we would have made their equivalents in the first film. And it meant that, just as in the previous film, the real enemy wasn't the infected - it was us.

The pace was pretty different from the original. If I had to draw graphs plotting the relative scariness of each film against time, the first would look like a relatively gradual climb from left to right: slow to start, and increasingly incrementally to a big peak near the end, followed by a final fall-off. The second would be more like a valley: starting high, plummeting downwards towards a calmer middle section, but then before long climbing rapidly back up again and then just staying there for the rest of the film. I kept noticing that the palms of my hands were really sweaty all the way through - presumably because I was absolutely terrified! The downside of this was that there wasn't quite as much time as in the first film to really get to know the main characters and feel the full sense of the human conflicts going on amongst the chaos. The upside, though, was some really powerfully emotive scenes of utter carnage and destruction, all overlaid with a very clear sense that they'd been precipitated needlessly by the tragically bad decisions I mentioned above.

I don't know if it was seeing the film on the same day that I'd woken up from vague dreams about a ship being on fire in the middle of a city, only to find that I'd been listening to the news and the Cutty Sark actually had been reduced to a charred shell, that gave those scenes such an impact. Or maybe it is just living in a world where Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel seem locked in perpetual anarchy, serious terrorist attacks have become a fact of life and the polar ice-caps are melting. It's hard not to feel as though we have totally fucked up. 28 Weeks Later plays very well on those feelings, and the ending doesn't let us off the hook this time, either.

I agreed very much with mr_flay when we saw the first one that it should have just ended when the taxi crashed into the gates of the military compound, so that the last few human beings alive in Britain have actually killed each other with their aggressive, macho behaviour rather than help each other against a common enemy. And having recently come across the following words from Federico Fellini, I now know why a bleak or unresolved ending is so much more intellectually satisfying than a happy one:
"My pictures never end. They never have a simple solution...Because there are no 'solutions' in [the audience's] lives...By giving happy endings to films, you goad your audience into going on living in a trite, bland manner, because they are now sure that sometime, somewhere, something happy is going to happen to them, too, and without their having to do anything about it. Conversely, by not serving them the happy ending on a platter, you can make them think, you can remove some of the smug security. Then they'll have to find their own answers."
I'm not saying a Zombie movie is going to chance the face of world politics as we know it. But in the current climate, we certainly need to be doing some thinking.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 22nd, 2007 08:56 pm (UTC)
im glad you enjoyed it
May. 22nd, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
It was scary as fuck - but in a good way!
May. 23rd, 2007 08:30 am (UTC)
it was scary, more than i expected it to be, and that made it better than 28 days, and the parallels with iraq, afghanistan, actually probably all american foreign policy over the last 30 years, especially in latin america countries, for me made it scary and at times unbearable to watch
May. 23rd, 2007 11:00 am (UTC)
Love your Vampira icon.
I don't think I've seen 28 days all the way through, must dig it out, watch it and then go and see the second one.
May. 23rd, 2007 11:10 am (UTC)
He-he - Vampira r00ls! Well, actually what I probably really mean is that the character of Vampira in Ed Wood r00ls... but still.

Yes, dig it out - they're both very much worth a watch.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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