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Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Saturday, May 26, 2007  

28 Amazing Weeks Later

Caution: 28 Weeks Later spoilers below!

I saw 28 Weeks Later last night. It was pretty good – I have yet to see a zombie movie I didn't like – but I thought this one was a little too…what's the word? Touristy.

I had actually read something to this effect in a review somewhere beforehand, but I thought I would be able to ignore it. I was wrong. As soon as the prologue is over and the action moves into London, it's one loving aerial shot of the city after another. Look, kids! There's the Eye of London! The Millennium Dome! Tower Bridge! That giant plaid phallus! Zombie movies are almost by necessity a pastiche of past films, but National Lampoon's European Vacation shouldn't be one of them. Big Ben! Parliament!

And it's not any different on the ground. It's like the director is so excited to be in London, and he wants to show us everything. Travelogue scenes like the sequence where Tammy and Andy steal a pizza delivery scooter and drive around looking at everything go on way too long. And I'm not sure that getting from the Isle of Dogs to Regents Park actually requires cutting through the West End Theatre District, but this movie would have you believe that it does. And that mournful close-up shot of Admiral Nelson's bronze face reflecting the firebombing as he watches from atop his Column in Trafalgar Square? Silly.

It was when the ragtag band of survivors had to go to Regents Park and then to Wembley Stadium for no clear reason that I realized: 28 Weeks Later is a London-based leg of The Amazing Race with zombies.

And if everything is better with zombies (and of course, everything is), imagine how much better something that already has zombies would be with elements of a game show. Starting with the theme song (with apologies to Miss Alli):

"Jump! In! Bed! Dad left your mum! For! Dead! Though somehow she! Survived! You won't know she's! Alive! Photograph! Makes you do something daft! You'll find your mum! Immune…Dad's dumb…He will…kiss Mum…become…Mindless mass! But he'll still stalk! Your! Ass! Infected! [CHOMP.]"

And then all of those city shots? If you were to fast-forward through them (and try to ignore the rooftop snipers), it would be like the beginning of a episode, lacking only Phil Keoghan's narration:

"This is London. The epicenter of a horrific plague that awll but wiped out the entire population of mainland Britain, it is being gradually repopulated now that the Rage virus is foolishly believed to have died out. It's also the first pit stop in a raceforyourlives."

It'll need a little re-editing, of course, because it has an excessive focus on certain teams. After the early elimination of Geoff & Sally (Married 50 years) and Jacob & Karen (Accidental housemates), Don & Alice (Married parents) are quickly disqualified when Don abandons Alice to a mob of Infected. Yet he continues to haunt the movie, even when the focus has clearly shifted to Tammy & Andy (Siblings|Possible key to a Rage cure). Doyle & Scarlet (Soldiers) get a fair amount of screen time thanks to their long-lasting alliance with Tammy & Andy.

Phil could help explain what's going on in scenes like this one:

"A Detour is a choice between two taahsks, each with its own pros and cons. In this Detour, teams must choose between 'Shot' and 'Smoked.' In 'Shot,' teams must sprint across an open street and out of Sector One while sharpshooters on an adjacent rooftop try to take them down. In 'Smoked,' teams will attempt to withstand the extreme heat of the concentrated firebombing that is scheduled to commence in four minutes. Remaining under cover is less physically demanding. But. Being subjected to two-thousand-degree temperatures that will incinerate them alive? May be uncomfortable."

The fact that Doyle & Scarlet are eliminated well before reaching the Finish Line defuses some of the tension of the final moments of the race. Andy & Tammy should be sprinting to the mat. But instead of Phil, they have Michael from Lost pointing an assault rifle at them, and instead of a mat, they have a U.S. Army helicopter waiting to take them over the channel to France. They also don't have the other eliminated teams waiting for them at the Finish Line, but since this is a zombie movie, that would be bad.

Conversely, maybe The Amazing Race could learn something from 28 Weeks Later. For instance, the idea of having eliminated racers pursuing teams and attempting to sabotage them is interesting. Why just sequester them for the duration? You could motivate their continued participation by offering them a share of the $1 million prize. Can you imagine the psychological effect on racers? The only thing scarier than having your steps dogged by a murderous, red-eyed, snarling, blood-spewing version of your own father would be getting pursued by Mirna or Jonathan.

I'm not actually sure how the logistics of that would work, though, so I leave it up to the show's producers. Maybe it would be too hard to work out.

In which case, I'd be satisfied with the simple addition of rooftop snipers.

posted by M. Giant 7:29 PM 4 comments


I'm laughing too hard to breathe right now.

By Blogger Cori, at May 26, 2007 at 9:51 PM  

Actually, going from the Isle of Dogs to Regent's Park can take you through the West End - it's not the only way to go, of course, but it's not entirely implausible.

But I'm with you on everything else!

By Blogger Alice, at May 27, 2007 at 5:45 AM  

I've always felt that there are very few movies that couldn't stand the addition of ninjas to get things going. Imagine Ghost with ninjas! But Ghost with zombies? And zombie ghosts? Dude, *that's* a movie!

You now have me also thinking that Phil needs to be cloned and added to everyday life. Grocery shopping with Phil? Mmmm, dreamy!

By Blogger Liz, at May 27, 2007 at 10:04 AM  

That was so funny! I haven't seen it, though I loved 28 Days Later and pretty much feel the same way about zombies. I wish there were TWoP versions of movies, too.

By Blogger Unknown, at May 28, 2007 at 8:37 PM  

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