It was a real surprise. I had low expectations after all the talk in the media about messing around with the script and problems during the shoot. It's easy to think of Waterworld when such things come up. Also, I might not have been Brad Pitt's biggest fan, if I may say so.
What did you know about it before you saw it?
I was fairly uninitiated. Of course, I had seen the poster and snippets from the trailer, but I knew nothing about the book or the background to the film. And I certainly did not know as much about them as some others with our hobby did.
How was the experience?
It started with a very nice dinner with my good friend Jojjenito. Once inside the movie theater we found our seats and mine was gilded with a wonderful creature to the left. Nice company both to the right and to the left, I was happy to say.
How did it start?
Director Marc Foster had a disease. He liked cutting. Cut, cut, cut. Often it would result in a fragmented movie. A good example of that is the Bond movie Quantum of Solace. But in this case it worked out great. The long opening scene was impressively good. Much because of the fast cuts. We did not really see the monsters in the beginning. We did not really understand what we saw. We didn't get it. An effective technique. As we all know, a monster we can't see is more scary. As the virus is.
It started out good then, but after a while it turned bad?
No, not really. But it seemed to go in that direction for a while in the beginning there. Gerry's daughter began to cough and have shortness of breath and I was immediately suspicious. I involuntarily thought of the illness another movie had. War of the Worlds had that disease. It was destroyed by the two children's constant screaming and obnoxious behavior. But even though everything was set for a repeat of the illness, the film took a different turn and soon we lost the wife and daughters and the film got going.
The scene in South Korea proved to be just the start of a number of succeeding magnificent scenes. Non stop action. Also, it was there in Korea that we lost the smart but clumsy guy from Harvard. At least he did manage to tell us a little snippet of wisdom about Mother Earth that helped Gerry to crack the nut in the end.
Did it all start in Korea?
No, I don't think so. Already the opening scenes from Philly were very good. I'm thinking especially of the first zombie transformation to the sound of the toy that counted to 12, the scene in the store and the claustrophobic scenes in the apartment building.
What happened after Korea?
It was then that the peak of the film came. The Jerusalem scene was one of the coolest I've seen in 2D in a long time.
[Mr Hank jumps out of the armchair with a sparkle in his eyes.]
YES! We naturally chose 2D when we had a choice.
Why was Jerusalem cool?
The pace. The film flies forward. Gerry barely had time to land before it takes off again. After a short time with his Mossad contact all hell burst loose and then it was rock'n'roll. The scenes from the wall and the short but uneven battle for Jerusalem were superb. The scene with the helicopter crash got me even more worked up, and the last glimpses of the Israeli attack helicopters firing rockets towards Jerusalem gave me chills.
And then the movie died?
No! The airliner scene was also great. I especially liked when Gerry washed the wounds of his friend and also the hand grenade. Don't forget the hand grenade. I was tense as a stick. The movie was exciting and engaging. She next to me huddled up in her seat purring like a cat.
But then the movie died? The classic pathetic end waited ...
Right, the pathetic ends that are so common in blockbusters. How many times have I cursed them? It seems to be more difficult to finish a movie than to get it going. But no, not this time, NOT this time! Instead, the movie went from the grand scale and bombastic action to an ending that was more like 28 days later. "Smaller scenes", characters that we actually got to know, more personality and dialogue. The last section was also played out in a closed location. The scenes were almost as claustrophobic as those in the film's beginning. It must have been one of the most brilliant things the filmmakers did, the change of focus and feeling for the scene in Cardiff.
Is there anything else on your mind?
A tiny little scene. When Gerry flew from Korea to Israel we saw a nuclear bomb being detonated down there, on the ground. They might have been flying over India. It gave me chills down my spine when I realized how people's last resort was to use the atomic bomb. A small but important detail.
Have you read the book?
No, up until a few days ago, I did not even know that the movie was based on a book. But I started reading it yesterday.
4/5, can't wait to see it again ...