Monday, April 11, 2011

Ten Statements About....DAYBREAKERS (2009)

Willem DaFoe and Ethan Hawke--two men who do NOT
need any make-up to play vampires....
1) This film understands something that Legion wishes it did--namely, you need to lay down the mythology of your story as quickly as possible, and that includes all the little hints toward the denouement. Even tiny things like the existence of 'Subwalks' that allow vampires to walk around during the daylight help emphasize the fact that this world has had a long time to settle in.

2) I know everyone's made jokes about Ethan Hawke's being a vampire explaining everything...but MAN, does vampirism explain a lot about how San Neill hasn't changed save for his weight.

3) The weakness of the script is simple--the Spierig Brothers spend so much time creating and maintaining their world, down to the tiniest detail that the actual story comes off as a little sketchy (even though everything that happens is set up at earlier points, and the big reveal makes sense given the information we're presented with.

4) I think I would have preferred that the city not be explicitly American--the film was shot in Australia--as it intentionally bears no resemblance to any city that humans would build.

5) I would have liked to see more of the relationship between Edward (Hawke) and Frankie (Michael Dorman), not only because Dorman is excellent in a role that keeps playing different angles in this developing situation, but because I think it would have strengthened the impact of the two characters' ultimate fate.

6) Conversely, I wonder if the film doesn't suffer from the constant implications of a growing romance between Edward and Audrey (Claudia Karvan) doesn't really contribute anything to the film given the early establishment of Edward's sympathy toward the human race, and comes off as being there just because The Audience Would Expect It.
7) Also gratuitous is the subplot involving Audrey Bromley (Isabel Lucas). It does nothing for the story except muddy up the water concerning the progression of vampire to 'subsider.'...

This is what happens when you don't drink your blood...
8) ...which, quite frankly, didn't need to be muddied up, as the film plays havoc with the biology of the change, and how long it takes for a vampire to waste away into the admittedly cool, Nosferatu-meets-the-Coppola-Dracula creatures.

9) Man...while I get the reasoning behind the ultimate resolution of the film's situation....Hollywood has never quite figured out a way to cure vampirism that doesn't sound dopey, has it?

10) Look--you can have your cured vamps still showing the deleterious effects of the treatment like Willem DeFoe's Elvis (no relation), or you can have those effects disappear after the cure, like with can't have both.

Overall...I really did appreciate the Spierig Brothers' world building, and they really did do their homework. However, I think they emphasized the wrong emotional arcs, choosing characters who didn't need as much emphasis over those that did. It's a smart film that didn't do enough to show how smart it is, and maybe should be viewed more as an exercise in world building than as a fully developed package. Entertaining--doubly so after enduring the relentless dumbness of Legion.

Incidentally, this is the film that has broken the Regal Union Square Jinx, as, you know, I saw it at the Regal Union Square and it didn't Suck. I can't clearly remember the trailers, although for a change the cursed Regal Firstlook showed me something I wanted to see--a little mini-interview with Clint Eastwood to publicize the upcoming 35 Years-35 Films box set.

Oh, and I got a free movie ticket thanks to my Regal Club Card--which means I might be able to see my beloved Kristin go down the Road To RomCom Hell without actually contributing any money to sending her there.

No comments:

Post a Comment