Reel Reviews

28 Weeks Later



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</script></div>{/googleAds}The "rage" virus has finally run its course six months after virtually annihilating all of mainland Britain. The U.S. military, in charge of a NATO-backed effort to sanitize and repopulate the country, begins slowly allowing refugees to return. But much like how the American forces in Iraq are incapable of stopping the cancerous insurgency, here they're equally unable to prevent the spread of the virus. So goes the plot to 28 Weeks Later, the follow-up to Danny Boyle's wildly popular zombie romp, 28 Days Later. Returning are many of the stylistic visuals and political allusions to modern day events that made the first one so much fun to watch. But sadly, missing is anything new to see or hear.

The film starts out with a flashback to the end of the first outbreak. Working class couple Don (Robert Carlyle) and Alice (Catherine McCormack) are holed up in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere with a handful of other survivors and only one remaining can of tomatoes. We learn of their worries about their food supply, and also of their relief that they sent their children on a school trip to Spain. But as soon as they think it's safe to go back in the water, there comes a knock on the door. And you can rest assured it isn't the friendly Avon lady... and you can also rest assured that Don's not going to wait around for his wife.

Jump forward to 28 weeks later as we join Don with his children - Tammy (Imogen Poots) and Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) - in the heavily fortified "Green Zone" that is ground zero for the propagation of a new mainland England, free of the virus. Don eventually finds himself explaining to his children why their mother wasn't able to escape, but the kids aren't buying it. Their distrust in his explanation along with a few stupid moves of their own - leads to a giant breach in the security zone and a return of the plague.

It's at this point - as Andy and Tammy are fleeing the "infecteds" as well as the soldiers who have been ordered to shoot all escapees - that the film stumbles a bit. What remains is basically a race to join up with a rescue party at Wembley Stadium. But along the way, we find out that we don't know the kids that well, and we really don't care if they make it out alive. Muggleton and Poots are asked to carry the weight of the film on their shoulders, but neither garners any more sympathy from us than we'd give a cardboard character being pushed through the empty streets of London. You say, "well it's a zombie film you idiot, we're not supposed to care about the kids!" My reply would then be to point out that I cared more about the zombies ripping people to shreds than I did about seeing the heroes escape. And that's placing the focus on the wrong part of the story in what is supposed to be a worthy follow-up to Boyle's "thinking man's" zombie film. The standards were raised by Boyle. But as it is, director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and co-writer Rowan Joffe haven't lived up to that standard. 28 Days Later was a stylish, brooding, lonely, desolate thriller with as much to say about its characters as it did about society and the evil things men do. Weeks is a stylish, brooding, lonely, desolate thriller with a lot to say about the numerous cool ways a filmmaking team can rip apart a dummy.

Sure, 28 Weeks Later is chock-full of many memorable and frightening scenes and it definitely features some innovative camera-work although I must say back off a bit on the hand-held camera shakiness - but without an attachment to someone we care about, the film is really nothing more than a string of visually interesting scenes and cool "kill" shots hurriedly patched together without a purpose. Actually there was a purpose - to get to the film's "trick" ending that was seen coming from a mile away and was an all-too-obvious set-up for the sequel.

I'm not even going to get into the numerous near misses, bone-headed decisions, last-second saves and "don't go in there" moments that cheapened the experience quite considerably. We accept, and even expect, a certain amount of those things in a film of this genre, but they should never bring attention to themselves quite like they did in the case of the heroes going into a pitch-black tunnel... where everyone knows the zombies are hiding! Those things only happen in B-movies.


DVD

DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: English; French; Spanish

Language and Sound: English: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo; French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; deleted scenes; audio commentary.

* Commentary
o Feature-length commentary with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and Enrique Lopex Lavigne
* Featurettes
o Code Red: The Making of 28 Weeks Later (13:00)
o The Infected
o Getting Into The Action
* Deleted Scenes - 2 scenes that didn't make the final cut.
* Animated Shorts
o 28 Days Later: The Aftermath:
+ Stage 1 Development
+ Stage 3 Decimation
* Theatrical Trailer
* Previews

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging

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