Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ten Statements About....28 WEEKS LATER... (2007)

You hang your head, Imogen Poots!  YOU KILLED
"It all makes sense. They're executing code red. Step 1: Kill the infected. Step 2: Containment. If containment fails, then Step 3: Extermination."

1) You can see how badly this film gets it wrong in the opening sequence, where we see an Infected biting and, it is implied, eating a victim.  These Infected act like, well, conventional zombies, which implies that the four writers who wrote this sequel didn't understand the rules Alex Garland set out in the first film.

2) And another thing the script didn't understand about the first film was how the characters came first.  Instead of the small group of people we got in that film, we get a family of unlikable characters surrounded by a group of military ciphers.  We learn nothing about Jeremy Renner's Doyle and Rose Byrne's Scarlet and are expected to sympathize with them solely because they buck the system and decide to protect the kids we're expected to sympathize with solely because they're the main characters.

3) I guess an argument could be made that Robert Carlyle's Don is the most effective of a pretty sorry lot of characters, and he effectively pulls off his Janet Leigh-ing at midpoint...but it's hard for Carlyle to overcome the way Don was so badly written.  He's never quite able to add enough nuance to justify the fact that he was a cowardly dickhead who acts purely on selfish impulses.
Robert Carlyle tries to run away from his commitment to
star in this movie.

Plus he's there for far, far too long after the big change in his status quo solely so...well, we can get more sympathies for his children.

4) ...and don't get me wrong, Imogen Poots (still the most unfortunately named actress in the world) and Mackintosh Muggleton are downright awful as Tammy and Andy.  Andy is a rather one note character, and Tammy is petulant and unpleasant throughout.  And they end up making a decision--much like the decision Don makes when confronted with his wife--that's so stupid as to break the suspension of disbelief.

5) But then, that's the core problem with the script--it is moved solely by stupidity that's not profound, not illuminating, but just...stupid, starting with the way the writers have Tammy and Andy sneak out of an armed encampment by...ducking behind a wall on a bridge?  Hell, we have Doyle noticing their escape, reporting it to the main command center, only for the troops to do...nothing?...for as long as it takes for the kids to discover their mother.  The plot is built on stupid choices which are made solely to expedite the plot and are not supported by the logic of the film's set-up.
"I'm planning on taking up the does 'Hawkeye'
sound as a codename?

6) Why do you hire Indris Elba as Stone and then give him absolutely nothing to do except call 'Code Red' and order all the snipers to kill everyone and let God sort 'em out?  Is that how you waste an expectional actor like him?

7) I have nothing against characters being used as plot devices....except, you know, when the script doesn't bother to give Catherine MacCormick, well, anything remotely resembling a character other than 'concerned mother.'  Hell, once she re-enters the story, she's there solely to be washed up, have the big reveal about how her blood fights the infection, and get killed off.  We never even learn how she survived the Infected attack at the beginning of the film, or how she didn't starve to death; the implication is that she spent the intervening six months cowering behind that facacta couch.

8) Maybe it's the fact that they're using a different method to depict the Infected, or maybe it's because director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo saw The Bourne Identity and thought shaky-cam was a good idea, but the Infected attacks are not as scary as in the original.  They're messy, confusing and just not exciting in the least.

9) Given all the negativity I have for this stupid, stupid film, there is one moment that captures the feel of the original.  The sequence at the carousel manages to give the film its one breath in between the endless stretches of carnage, and manages to give us one of the best chills in the films as its punctuation.

10) Look, I know that the original script is contradictory about this fact--but it is mentioned by Selena in that film that there were reports of outbreaks in France.  So why is the revelation at the end (brought about, presumably, by the selfishness of Tammy) so shocking?

Overall...Almost everything the first film gets right, this film gets wrong, resulting in a film that does not innovate on the Zombie Film Formula, but slavishly imitates it.

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