Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Airframe, Chricton and Zombie Land

First off - we saw Zombie Land last night, and it was a dark comedy about survival in a post-apocalyptic zombie-overrun America. It's pretty good - the narrative is run through the perspective of the protagonist who goes only by his hometown, Columbus, who has a series of rules that he's developed to survive in Zombie Land (what he calls this new world survivors exist in).

All in all, there are only five people in the movie that aren't zombies - the only other humans are seen in flashbacks. It's a bit of a grim reality, but a reality that's established early and then expanded upon well throughout the rest of the film. It's got some funny stuff in it - but recall that's it is a dark comedy - so maybe you wouldn't really laugh about people being killed and ripped apart (which is gruesome, make no mistake) but there's a Tom & Jerry perspective to it, where some of the scenes you see might actually be taken from a Cat and Mouse cartoon.

It's good - if you're into zombies, this movie is just fine. Much of the film is not necessarily about zombies all over the place - actually, you don't see a lot of zombies all of the time, but rather, in particular scenes to move the plot forward. Really, this is a comedy about four strangers trying to survive in Zombie Land, not necessarily zombies.

Go see it!

Second, I finished Michael Crichton's Airframe the other day, which was a fine novel. I really enjoyed it - and you can read a review here. I was tentative to read the novel for some reason. I have really enjoyed Chrichton's work after all these years, but lately I've been worried that I'm going to eventually come across a stinker.

I mean, Prey was ... okay, and so was Next, but they weren't nearly as good as some of his cornerstone accomplishments like Congo, Jurassic Park, and Timeline (those books were all really outstanding). Whether they were great movies, that doesn't matter, they were terrific novels.

I had this same worry about the Eel's album Souljacker featuring the lead singer, E, in a unibomber outfit. I have really liked all of the Eels albums, but I never got Soul Jacker, nor listened to any of the stuff off of it (because I don't download music anymore - and my computer thanks me). So I knew nothing about it other than what the cover looked like and the names of the songs on it.

Well let me tell you, it is likely one of my favourite Eels albums now, which goes a long way to explain how good it really is.

Anyhow, I've digressed. Airframe was a great book - it was a tight story, with decent characters, who are flung into a tense and furious deadline confronted with high stakes. The protagonist manages to pull a rabbit out of their hat and find success in a way that you probably wouldn't expect, and that's what makes this a really special book. Generally, you know what the protagonist wants, and so while you're reading it, you're more interested in seeing HOW the protagonist achieves their goals, but instead, you don't know where things are going, how they're going to get there, and all you're trying to do is figure out what the hell happened on a mysterious plane incident mid-air over the Pacific.

It's really cool - and if you've got lots of time to read - tackel this one (or Congo, Jurassic Park or Timeline - they're all fantastic. Timeline has one page that put shivers down my spine with only two words, it absolutely freaked me out. It was that cool.)

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