November 01, 2010
Walking Dead 1:1
Soooo... I was pretty geeked about this series despite Frank Darabont's involvement in it. I liked The Mist rather a lot but he seems regularly to squander opportunities for horror in favor of syrup and, y'know, hard to say which Darabont was gonna' show for an adaptation of Robert Kirkman's Image comic series. Jury's still out. The problem I have is that main character Deputy Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is a fucking idiot. He makes bad choices, seems inconsistent in his acceptance/comprehension of the zombie apocalypse, and, lamentably, exists in a scenario that doesn't sensibly punish him for his idiocy.
Consider that when he returns home after bumbling about in hospital (in straight ripper of 28 Days Later) and making his way through a few impressive environments, he makes quite a spectacle of himself in his house and neglects to dress and arm himself upon his departure. Immediately after, a sympathetic father/son survivor unit warn him that any excessive noise draws the "walkers" (in a world without George Romero, I guess, you call them something else) which leads to The First Night in which Deputy Grimes' suburbia is seen crawling with nocturnal baddies (in a straight ripper of I Am Legend which is, by the by, also not about zombies). The idea that zombies would be more active at night is curious to me - and to the makers of the series as well, apparently, as soon enough our moronic hero rides a horse (!) into the middle of downtown Atlanta into a horde of the hungry undead in broad daylight.
It's not smart. It's kind of stupid, actually. Stupid being exactly what Romero's zombie movies are generally not. Honestly, whenever anyone in a deserted hospital that's obviously the scene of violence decides to go into an unlit stairwell with a pack of matches; well, son, you've already lost me - and most likely for the duration.
Like the scene where Deputy Grimes and his buddies take a hot shower at the local police station, a-whoopin' and a hollerin' in appreciation of one of modernity's luxuries: lost to the horde! But what about the noise? And what about Grimes' complete non-acceptance of the infestation despite witnessing scary hands and a half-eaten body at the hospital? And what about his failure to ask one of his former colleagues if there's any Bub in there after the "sickness" took hold? And what about the stupid cross-cutting between Grimes dispatching a cool-looking zombie chick out of... mercy (in a scene so poorly established that I did wonder for a few moments if the monster was his wife), and his buddy trying to shoot his zombied-out wife and failing in fits of unsympathetic weeping? What's it all about?
Hoping for the nihilism of The Mist, I'm sort of thinking that Walking Dead is more akin to the Eisenhower-era relational melodrama of The Majestic. As it's written so far - with the dumbass dialogue, the wooden performance, the stupid actions of its stupid characters (the wife's hooked up with moron Ponch? who gives a shit about any of these douchebags?) - there's not much hope for me that this derivative though often handsome-looking series is going to be much more than heartfelt pap with occasional gore: zombies your mom could love (to go along with the "Dragon Tattoo" series' ugly rape-revenge-sploitation you could take your grandma's sewing circle to).
Sure, I'll hang with it a couple more installments... but I'm just saying...