A word about last week’s Flashback Friday, which, had it been done, would’ve been two entries, one focused on MONSTERS UNIVERSITY and a second on WORLD WAR Z. Why they didn’t happen is, in all honesty, I forgot. Then, by the time I realized I forgot, I was ill, ill, ill and just did not circle back to it.
It is possible, if you want to take a Freudian reading of the whole thing—and this is a website run by a guy soon to be Dr. Stevens, Psy D so why not do that—that it was no accident that I forgot to do my “work” for a zombie movie; that subconsciously, I screwed that proverbial pooch on purpose. I don’t think you’re right, but you’d have a case.
See, for one, WORLD WAR Z, the movie, is quite clearly nothing like WORLD WAR Z, the book, which I quite liked. And, on its way to being a not very faithful adaptation of aforementioned book, WWZ, the movie, had a rather public plethora of issues, not exactly inspiring confidence.
However, the bigger thing is, generally, I don’t like zombie fiction. There are exceptions, of course. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is a classic for a reason. 28 DAYS LATER (not to be confused with 28 DAYS, which I believe is a movie about zombies in rehab?) is another—although zombies purists, I’m sure, are no great fans. Both DAWNS have something to recommend them. The aforementioned WWZ, the book, is, in my opinion, just great.
For the most part, though, zombie fiction does not click with me. For some reason, I have a harder time suspending my disbelief when it comes to the flesh munchers in comparison to other fictional beasties, or, really, just plots in general. It is why, I think, SHAWN OF THE DEAD’s ending clicked so well for me. Yes, it’d be gruesome if the walking dead came to town, but it’d also be something the military could solve and almost certainly fairly rapidly. (WWZ, the book, similarly hits that logic sweet spot for me—although it takes longer—but there’s a lot more to recommend it). I also find a lot of the so-called metaphor of zombie films, their conclusions about human nature, remarkably cynical and facile. Real life events have repeatedly demonstrated the kind of selfishness and cowardice needed to bring about the apocalyptic wastelands of, say DAY and yes, even DAWN, are not actually how humanity engages crisis. We are prone to flaws, of course, but we also improve, we also rise to the occasion. In zombie movies, that idea is often drowned out by gore and nihilism masquerading as insightfulness and that just doesn’t engage me.
So, yeah, not generally a zombie guy.
Title-wise, I probably would’ve done 28 DAYS LATER and…maybe QUANTUM OF SOLACE, the director’s last action pic. So, to render verdicts on them quickly: recommends to both, 28 wholeheartedly, SOLACE just as part of the current Craig BOND series. 28 is a movie I have little negative to say about. SOLACE is a bit to very slow, depending on the scene, but the opening car chase is supremely well done and Craig nicely grows into a more refined (while still retaining his brutish elements in a way that makes sense) 007.
As for MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, I was more excited for it, although I do worry about the day when Pixar overfishs its brand (CARS 2, I’m looking at you.) To that end, I would’ve covered TOY STORY 3, to demonstrate that, certainly Pixar can and have done follow-up films with impressive aplomb and MONSTERS, INC because, well, I think you know.
Quick judgments: TOY STORY 3 is awesome. I won’t say it is falls as #___ in terms of quality because I think ranking the three movies like that is a fool’s errand. Suffice to say, I place it toe-to-toe with the other two though.
Also, for fun, view the movie as a sort of JACOB’S LADDER in which the toys must pass through hell (the whole movie really) and accept they are dead to reach heaven (a new life being played with by that little girl Andy passes the toys on to).
Oh, and as with all TOY STORY movies, if you don’t get choked up at least once you are a monster and cannot be trusted to interact in healthy ways with other people.
MONSTERS, INC is not the best Pixar movie—I think I’d have to say that’s WALL-E—but it remains one of my favorites. Actually, even moreso now that I am a dad, although I can’t explain the alchemy by which that is the case. I love the “world” of the film and the design sense on both it and the delightful credits sequences is just perfect, in my opinion.
Ok….there’s the catch-up.