Wednesday, May 18, 2011

28 Days Later and Reel Ales 10^2 Barleywine

I didn't know when it would be appropriate to review a film so controversial in the zombie movie world.  I'll spell it out for anybody stuck in the rut of non stop debate.  The infected are not zombies!  So why oh why am I putting a review a movie without zombies onto a zombie movie blog?  Because the line isn't black and white to me.  And with the slew of comments people have written on my blog (none it's a joke) I'm not too worried about the harsh criticisms.  Is survival in a "28 Days Later" world different from survival in a "Dawn of the Dead" world?  No.  So with a nod to liberals and a quick apology to the purists I'm going on with the film.

The beer is a monster.  Reading the bottle I've learned that this beer is brewed using 10 different types of hops: Horizon, Chinook, Columbus, Willamette, Tradition, Northern Brewer, Santiam, Tettmanger, Cascade and Golding.  Not to mention it clocks in at an impressive 10%abv.  I think I'm drinking this one a little too cold.  This could be a problem.  It pours a cloudy hazelnut brown with no head and no lacing.  The aroma is so mixed up with all that malt and different hops that it takes me a couple of tries to really pinpoint what I'm smelling here.  The hops are intricate and powerful but there's a still a maltiness that pulls through.  It boarders on IIPA with those resiny hops.  The first sip has a deep caramel, and dark roasted malty flavor.  The hop flavor storms the beaches behind waves of malty sweetness.  The first few sips leave no real discernible bitterness.  Of course as it warms the bitterness becomes more and more apparent.  The flavor builds as it warms in my snifter like very few beers I've ever had.  I was surprised at just how awesome this beer is.  It's complex with deep rich maltiness, and layer upon layer of hop flavor.  I would love to try an oaked version of this beer.
Monkeys infected with rage virus get loose because i couple of uniformed yet well intentioned hippies took it upon themselves to fight the man.  I don't care if your a vegetarian or if you volunteer on your off time at the zoo, but breaking and entering is a crime!  One that in your case caused the end of the world.  This movie makes even me hate hippies.
This movie was great for a lot of reasons.  One of the biggest for me is that i didn't know any of the characters.  Yes it's an English movie so there's that, but also Danny Boyle chose actors who were talented but not Angelina Jolie style famous.  For me that made it real.  These could be people you know.  They could be your friends or your neighbors.  The other thing that made this movie terrifying for me was the cinematography and flow of the plot.  The scenes following Jim's awakening better portrayed an end of the world emergency than any film save Children of Men.  You could feel his isolation as he walked the empty London streets.The church scene was pure brilliance.  Where all other movies focused on survival and farm houses this movie took you to the heart.  The place where everyone would go when there was no hope...Church.  Hundreds of dead bodies covered the benches and littered the aisles.  My mind recreated the events that brought them there.  I imagined the infected ripping through that church like wildfire.  But that was already done by the time Jim gets there.  All we get to see is the peaceful silence that surrounds the dead bodies.
As for the flow of the film.  I don't have to get into the science of script writing to tell you that the break from the action after the Jim gets attacked in the Church is perfect.  The dark humor that Mark beings in.  The heartfelt dialog.  It's all there.  I really like Mark.  he's probably my favorite character until Sarina chops his arm off.  Things just get worse and worse for mark from there.  I know I'm skipping around a bit but i assume anybody in this blog and most people with access to current media have seen this movie.  And if you haven't yet i want you to stop reading, punch yourself in the face, rent this movie, watch it, then continue reading.  It will just be better for everyone.
Each of the characters in this movie are rich and well developed.  You understand them and feel for them.  I enjoyed how this movie had the ying and the yang.  The best and the worst of people.  Frank was what you would hope people would turn into during a tragedy.  The soldiers (except that one Sargent) are what people probably would turn into.  I started visiting the website after i stumbled upon it looking for upcoming zombie movies.  It's a website totally dedicated to end of the world (the movies at least).
This movie also mixes scenes of great happiness with those of shear terror.  When Jim and Sarina find Frank and Hanna there is a small celebration and Frank really lightens the mood with his presence.  Then the tire changing scene is terrifying.  The glow of the infected's faces in the tail lights as they get away is one of the most horrific images of the movie.  The movie is terrifying without the in your face blood and gore like the Saw series.  There in fact isn't a lot of blood and gore in this film at all, not compared to other zombie movies anyway.
I would like to think people would be better.  That four weeks isn't long enough for a person to turn into what the soldiers turned into.  They behaved like animals, and sexual predators.  From the first moments that Jim, Sarina, and Hanna get there you have this unsettling feeling.  You can never let your guard down, you can never get comfortable.  The soldiers are as much a threat as the infected.  I have seen this move at least a dozen times and i still don't understand what the Major said about infection.  "This is what I've seen in the four weeks since infection: people killing people. Which is much what I saw in the four weeks before infection, and the four weeks before that, and before that, as far back as I care to remember- people killing people. Which, to my mind, puts us in a state of normality right now."  Does he really believe that?  Is he supposed to be crazy?  I would understand that he was a man doing what he needs to ensure the survival of his people.  But a lunatic doesn't make sense to me.
When faced with adversity one has but two options.  Overcome said adversity by any means possible or perish beneath it.  Jim becomes an animal.  He kills or causes to be killed all of the soldiers.  He smashes the one guy's head into the brick wall.  Blood sprays everywhere.  Then he calmly inserts his thumbs into the soldiers eyes puncturing his brain.  It's the most graphic scene of the film by far.
This film is a must see.  I remember when it came out it was advertised as "The scariest film ever!"  That's a lofty title but not a misplaced one.  This film is terrifying.  But not necessarily by itself.  After watching the extras and the making of where they discussed hoof in mouth disease I realized how real it was.  The flu ravages our population and kills the elderly.  Look at what swine flu did.  If something a little more severe, something with a quicker onset, and that effects our behavior was to infect a major population we would be unprepared.  That is what makes this movie scary...reality.

The Beer:
Aroma – 8/10
Appearance – 4/5
Taste – 9/10
Palate – 5/5  
   Overall – 17/20
Total = 43/50

The Movie:
Production – 5/5
Plot – 5/5
Gore – 5/5
Zombies – 5/5
  Overall – 5/5


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