If any case could be made for the advantage of running zombies in the zombie film sub-genre, “Dead Set” would easily trump any argument against the device. I’m a zombie enthusiast who loves the lumbering dead, and in all honesty prefers them above all. “Dead Set” not only endorses the idea of running zombies, but makes turns them on to a world of lazy, complacent television addicts, with remorseless fervor. Like the reality shows that have become fixtures of civilization, we’re turned in to blood thirsty monsters that feed off of one another, and show little empathy for the weak.
This time around “V” embraces its science fiction roots more, allowing for a lot more looks in to the rebellion, and the inclusion of new corners of the visitors’ world and the rebels. Most of all, there’s the introduction of a Visitor/Human hybrid that becomes one of the larger symbols of the war, and is pushed back and forth between the resistance and people that think the visitors can stop the invasion and work with Earth. Months after the humans sent out the beacon for other alien species to help them take down the Visitors, nothing has happened and the humans are still trying to stop the Visitors and their plans. Now the Visitors are building new tactics, which includes armor that can deflect bullets, and a form of torture leader Diana has concocted that allows her to convert humans to the side of Visitors for programming.
It’s been said time and time again that if we don’t learn from history that we’re doomed to repeat it, and “V” is a remarkable miniseries that examines what happens when history repeats itself. Set in a not too distant future, Earth is visited by a massive race of anthropomorphic alien beings that looks very human in nature. Though imposing, the alien race presents itself in a charming and docile manner, and interrupts civilization to settle alongside us. Known as the Visitors, they’re a very uniform mass of beings, all of whom proclaim themselves our friends after arriving in a fleet of large ships one day. By garnering help from various governments and influential people to acquire various chemicals and minerals for their ailing world, they agree to give Earth access to their advanced technology which they promise will cure diseases of all kinds. Soon enough, though they begin to insinuating themselves in to the general populace and before long create an environment of unease and tension among some individuals.
Alex Haley’s epic television miniseries is one of the many television epics I always meant to watch over the years, but never had the chance to. Finally being given the proper window by Warner, I was not surprised that “Roots” ended up being a very good epic drama about slavery, and the struggle for freedom. “Roots” is one of those great cinematic success stories, where in 1977, network ABC in America didn’t expect the mini-series to do very well. Due to its predominantly African American cast, and very strong content, the network pretty much dumped every episode over the course of eight nights, rather than spacing it out to create an audience.
One of the highlights of growing up with parents that loved classic soul and R&B, was listening to some of the greatest bands of all time. My favorite of them all was The Temptations, a wonderful group of singers with one of the more compelling back stories of all time. Though I’m usually not a fan of biography films about bands or musicians in general, “The Temptations” garners an immense cast of strong actors, all of whom help fuel what is a tale about fame, greed, and clashing egos. It’s just a shame that the movie breezes through some crucial details.
Mick Garris’ 1994 cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand is one half a great epic post apocalyptic tale of human endurance, and one half a preachy and overwrought religious tale about God, the Devil, and a lot of hokey sermonizing that falls flat. Which is not to say it bogs down the film, but as King is noted for, “The Stand” eventually devolves in to religious hokum that completely eliminates the appeal of the original story.
If anyone knows me properly, then they know that I absolutely love post-apocalyptic fiction and it’s a wonder why I’ve never read Michael Crichton’s novel before. I guess I just never crossed paths with it. Although a bit gaudy at times, this new television mini series is packed with heavyweights both behind the camera and in front of them, and not a single person goes without serving some sort of memorable moment in the spotlight. Everyone is here, even Andre Braugher, the character actor who hardly ever appears in an ensemble without biting it before everyone. “The Andromeda Strain” is a bit familiar, but then Crichton only serves to explore our fear of space travel and the potential repercussions of discovering something alien. And unstoppable. What if we discovered alien bacteria that ravaged Earth? Would we even be able to stop it?