Posts Tagged ‘survival’

zombie-blood

 

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In propagandastan. Survival is treason. “Mass evacuation can never be permitted…”

“You know Fred, actually staying in a city to help after an atomic attack is not nearly so dangerous as a lotta people think. The danger of lingering radiation is not really very serious.”

 

 

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I read Kim Nicolini’s review, and I was intrigued by the metaphor of the film.  A shipping container takes out a lone sailor’s yacht.  The seas are now littered with them and small fish like Robert Redford can no longer sail along as they used to.  The balance of nature has been disrupted, but nature always wins in the end.

The global market has fouled every corner of the world.  Will it be Redford’s savior, as he drifts helplessly across the ocean and through the shipping lanes, seeking rescue?

Some metaphors tie the story together, as it is an extremely sparse and minimal project.  One actor, one struggle.  The idea that the system may be suicidal and self-destructive enters later on.  By the ending we have a stunning ambiguity.  Was what just happened real?

The film received high praise and nominations during award season.  The production was far more intricate and filled with effects than it appeared.  It’s a pretty desolate, engaging tale, but a shame that Life of Pi  just did the lone survivor story so much bigger and better.  With Pi we were dazzled and seduced into a kind of dream world.  Here, things are “naturalistic” and logical.  It left me longing for some of the anagogic mystery of Pi.

3.5/5

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How To Turn A Beer Can Into The Only Camping Stove You’ll Ever Need

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Uninspired

This dismal, snow globe version of Ghosts of Mars lacks a solid foundation.  The villains are one-dimensional feral, screaming savages, and their entire contingent manages to utter one word of dialogue over the entire film.  At least in Ghosts they were terrifying freaks with some sense of style.

This film seems to lack a third act, ending abruptly after two.  It also fails to develop strong characters apart from some obligatory checklist stuff.  The lead starts off on a decent enough path, only to end up jumping instantly into mindless brutality.

Add to that CGI effects from 90s video games.  I was sort of stunned they had created such a cheesy 3D colony above the snow.  Many of the sequences lack the visceral quality of being somewhere real, and it is quite obvious they shot in green screen studios.

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The Colony’s end message, however, irked me.  We’re all monsters.  All cannibal savages under a thin veneer.  Yeah, yeah.  Couldn’t have done any more soul searching than that?  All in all a waste of time, nothing to see here.

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FREE

This free online show on Spike TV is very educational for a number of catastrophic scenarios including earthquakes, high rise fires, home invasions, lost boats and this mall shooting scenario.  The Kenyan incident makes this pretty much must-see viewing.  It teaches how to stage an ambush and to improvise weapons and try and fight back.

The sheer amount of life-saving information contained in the series could help you survive an extreme circumstance.

Go to Surviving Disaster – Mall Shooting

 

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“It’s time to junk some toasters.”

The relaunch of the cheesy 80’s space opera was actually quite a bit more serious, faster paced and more dramatic than the original.  The theme, calling our attention to our own shortcomings, our own deadly sins, is intertwined throughout the various storylines, and repeats during the series.  Galactica is a highly political show, and battles between factions and forces play out plausibly, given the world.  Various political battles seek to alter the destiny of the survivors, pitting democracy against militarism and dictatorship.

We are, in the real world, at the cusp of a technological catastrophe.  Chemical, radiological and genetic experiments and associated pollution — and of course war — now stand to push us toward extinction, our own doing.  This arrogance of our species is reflected in the show in some profound ways.

The Galactica miniseries introduces well-defined characters and setups, some noticeably altered from the original iteration (Starbuck a muscular woman this time, and a possible romance between her and Apollo).

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The show has a militaristic veneer, but war is not the glorious accomplishment sold to the public in many other slick packages.  It’s horrific, costly and futile.  An anti-war slant accompanies this tale of machines evolving to destroy their masters and being quite efficient at doing so.  This is not a new plot device, but it’s done well.  Actually it’s done really well, with so many cliffhanger “you are fracked” moments, that I soon found myself addicted, watching the entire 4 seasons on Amazon Prime.

Machines, and their cold mindset, obliterate 12 planets of humans in a nuclear attack.  The remaining refugees must flee with the last remaining battle star to find a safe refuge.  The Cylons now look and act human, actually like sexy blonde actresses when they choose to.  It’s pulpy, but it repeatedly hammers home its themes.  A vain computer genius compromises the security of civilization, and their defense network is rendered useless.

Personal interests take precedence over what is best for the many, and consequences unfold.  Personal love affairs blind parties and keep them from properly carrying out their duties.  Security is pitted against personal stakes and human foibles.  These character weaknesses are designed into the story.

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Cylons infiltrate the security of the fleeing ships and can turn up anywhere.  What’s more, they are quasi-independent, unlike the Borg of Star Trek origin.  These biological Cylons simulate human complexity so well that they exist in a grey area, not knowing if they too are somehow alive, possess souls and can exercise free will, even in opposition to the Cylon directives and genocidal efforts.  This duality is explored more fully by season two, and individual Cylons challenge preconceptions that this is a species or race based war, and throw it back into more ideological terms of right and wrong, genocide and domination.

Like all sci-fi, and all TV for that matter, plot holes emerge if you want to get nitpicky.  Here, however, I’m not that concerned as the show usually returns to capable hands and mature minds.  They may veer occasionally but usually return the compass needle to true north and progress the story by leaps and bounds.

“If there’s one thing we know about human beings with certainty, they are masters of self-destruction.”

Paranoia runs through the fleet, as the Cylons could be anyone and anywhere.  They blend so well into human life, that often they don’t even realize what they are until they are activated.  In that capacity they mirror saboteurs, sleeper cells, terrorists.  Amping the paranoia post-9/11 is a natural choice.  As the X-Files focused on sinister government operatives who work in the shadows, the shadow government, Battlestar Galactica has exported the unknown and mysterious enemy among us to outer space.

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Interestingly, myth and religion play a prominent part.  Prophecies are being fulfilled, and the old stories are repeated in real time with dire consequences for humanity.  Religion is examined for and against, while the magical wheels turn in the background to fulfill the ship’s destiny.

Oddly, the Cylons too have evolved to embrace religion, a God that comprises everything and everyone, including them.  The Cylons believe they are on a religious mission too, and now that they have achieved humanoid form, the question of whether they do believe, and more importantly, whether they themselves now have souls, is explored.  The Cylons are not one-dimensional “toasters” anymore.  They have unique personalities, rivalries even.  Some may even side with the humans in the interest of self-preservation or perhaps for moral reasons; it’s never completely clear.

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Attitudes toward genocide against the Cylons are tested, as the Cylons for the most part prosecute their genocidal campaign against their creators, these humans of the 12 tribes.

Earth is the 13th tribe, of course, the lost one they are desperately seeking to rejoin.  Their Frankenstein’s monster race of killer robots trails along behind them.

 

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Okay, Doom and Gloomers—

With It’s a Disaster set to release on DVD momentarily, The End and World War Z imminent, and us already living in Zombieland surrounded by The Walking Dead, why do I even persist?

Don’t answer that.

I want to talk about a little Canadian movie called Last Night (1998) that no one saw, but I really loved.  I’m so happy that Hollywood didn’t choose to remake and shit all over this indie.  Last Night is an end of the world tale that worked for its simplicity and plain, straightforward truth. No special-effect laden Melancholia about it, just two people facing the end and struggling for a human connection before their time is up.

 

Might as well mention some other apocalyptic films to keep this thing going.

Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain bends your brain in multiple epochs. It’s so bold, unconventional and visually mesmerizing that it sticks with you for a long time afterward.

 

Blindness is José Saramago’s tale of a world instantly rendered blind.  Complete anarchy and panic, and then the banding together as the blind lead the blind to atrocities and war for resources.  A disturbing powerful film that is filmed exceptionally well for its modest budget.

 

12 Monkeys, not a small film, but when Terry Gilliam does the apocalypse I’m there.  Like The Fountain, 12 Monkeys doesn’t restrict itself to one era.  It jumps back and forth pre-apocalypse to post.  It’s such a twisted unconventional tale though, and one of Gilliam’s best in my opinion.  How easy it is to destroy a world.

 

And of course, who needs zombies when you have The Humungous?

 

 

 

 

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The vampocalypse hits redneck America. Savage, though pretty dumb, the vampires are hunted down by a man with no name. At the opening, a teenage boy is recruited by the hunter, when this boy’s parents are chomped by a particularly aggressive vampire.

The boy comes of age in an environment of vigilante justice, desperation and the breakdown of society. The hunter has his own code, which he tries to impart to the boy. The complication is a huge cult, the Brotherhood, which runs large parts of the landscape. These religious nuts are potentially worse than the vampires.

This film has a definite right leaning, libertarian bias. The landscapes are devastated, abandoned, and Washington is to blame. The people are left to survive by themselves, which they do in an old west styled, circle the wagons mentality. The rugged individual is all that’s left, and any organization seems doomed to fail, a victim of herd mentality and crazy ideas or rose-colored idealism. It’s a depressing tale, but not a bad vampire flik. It has its own cult following around it, and that’s how I heard about it.

Most survival tales skew right with guns and self-reliance elevated to mythic proportions. This is true of zombie films and most horror genre pieces. See if you can read more into Stake Land than meets the eye.

Seeing the earth from a cosmic perspective, Astronauts speak about changes in perception.