Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Photo: from its Wikipedia page, here. Go to it to read about this film's troubled shooting history.
A very good movie, a little bit more intellectual, directed, and written than usual for a summer film. It's a constant moody edginess, a feeling that nothing extremely terrible is going to go wrong (or, actually, worse, since things go very, very wrong, right away, for everybody) for the main characters, but also that nothing much is going to lead to total salvation, either. If you're looking for a zombie film with a specific end to the disaster, look elsewhere.
But that's not to say that things--good things--aren't accomplished in this film, because they are. A family gets saved and (almost) permanently housed in safety. The main character (Brad Pitt, in a solid, but not terribly demanding, performance) even keeps in touch daily with his wife (a beautiful woman who looks like Jessica Chastain, but isn't. She's Mireille Enos.), which in one instance actually wasn't a good thing. Anyway, there's no message, per se, here, but if there was one, I guess it would be: protect your family and honor your fellow humans. This comes across in a sleight, non-preachy sort of way.
Everyone's heroic here, except perhaps for the scientist, whose end is somewhat vague, though obviously the movie has to swing to Pitt's heroics somehow, so there you go. The soldiers and scientists and doctors are heroic. The wife is heroic. A little boy is heroic. There's not one spineless person left alive. There wasn't room for one in the script, anyway.
You'll be blown away (as many of the zombies were, he-he-he) by specific special effects that lead to some very specifically breathless scenes. Unfortunately, you'll have seen them all in the trailer, and you'll be looking for them to happen during the movie, like I did, though if you're like me, you'll try very hard not to. But it won't be possible. You'll think: ah, there's the wall that millions of them will climb; this is the plane that will blow up and suck out a great many. And so on. Don't see the trailer, if you haven't already. If you have, it's not the end of the world (sorry) because the scenes are great anyway. In fact, the intensity and tension were picked up quite a bit because of the expectation. Well, for me, anyway.
At the end, I think you'll agree that this was a movie that needed to be viewed on the (very) big screen. The ending, such as it is, makes sense, and you won't feel cheated or disappointed. You'll wonder about the lingering health of those who get administered at the end, and whether it would be worth it to live that way, until also getting administered something else. And then what? How will they be protected then? (You'll see what I mean.) In fact, you might wonder, as I did, if a simple cold will do. Or how about a sinus infection? I get those buggers all the time.
P.S.--While buying the obligatory popcorn (stale for the second movie in a row, by the way), I noticed that the calorie count for each candy item was on a small but official looking placard. I know that some candy has more calories than do others, but aren't they all sort of equally bad? You can't stay on a diet, or maintain perfect cholesterol or heart health, if you were to eat any of the candy sitting there. So why the calorie count cards? Did someone actually threaten to sue because they didn't realize the calories in their Reese's Peanut Butter Cups? Speaking of which, a package of four Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, which sells for a dollar for most fundraisers, or $1.59, max, at your local store, was selling for $4.50 each at my local movie theater. I can't tell which is crazier, the cards with the calorie counts, or the price. I mean, isn't price gouging illegal?