Sunday, January 13, 2008

Man's best friend

The Sunday night ritual of getting the garbage out is complete. We are leaving a gigantic size carbon footprint because all the carpet we tore up this last week is now sitting on the curb awaiting the trip to its final resting place. And I moved all that carpet myself, thankyouverymuch! I hadn't intended for it to be that way, but I started with "oh, I'll move the small pieces and then have Heidi help with the one really big mother of a piece." Before I knew it, I was dragging the large piece up the driveway (a task made MUCH easier by all the ice on the driveway) and it was all out there. So YAY!

Earlier today, while Heidi was writing and Anna had a little friend over to play, I watched the movie Fido on the laptop. I remember hearing about this movie earlier this year, and since it was a zombie flick, I knew that I would be seeing it eventually. I'm not even sure that it even made it to the theaters here in Ames, for if it had shown up at that dollar theater, I would have undoubtedly gone. The basic premise of the movie is that sometime in the early to mid-20th century, a radioactive cloud from outer space reanimated the dead, leading to the Zombie Wars. Unlike in most of zombie lore, the humans actually are victorious over the undead, after they figure out what all us zombie fans know: Kill the brain, and you kill the ghoul. But armed with that knowledge, they take it a step further and develop the "domestication collar" which turns the zombies into manageable monsters capable of doing the tedious work that no one else wants to do. So they become household servants, paper boys, milk delivery men, garbage collectors, etc.

Fido is the zombie that the Robinson family brings into their home and unlike any zombie I've ever seen, he has a heart of gold. That is not to say that he does not have a few human snacks, but he develops a special relationship with little Timmy Robinson, a boy whose father is largely absent and whose mother is a bit of an enigma. They live in a typically idyllic 50s neighborhood save the fact that the walking (domesticated) dead are all around them.

What I liked most about this movie was that, for a zombie movie, it was actually kind of cute. That's not a adjective that is frequently ascribed to zombie flicks, the only one that even comes close is Shaun of the Dead, and I still wouldn't call that movie "cute." The relationship between Timmy and Fido is so endearing, and even though the movie breaks a few of the zombie rules, I can forgive it for it helped bring out the heart in the monster.

It was also fun watching zombie carnage set against a backdrop of 50s America. Every time I watch a movie that is set in the 50s, with its clean streets, white picket fences and all those other things that make up the popular conception of the 1950s, I always wish that I could live then rather than in our troubled times. Of course, the popular portrayal of the 50s as a time of carefree existence is completely and utterly false, plus there'd be no antibiotics save penicillin and sulfonamides, so no thanks, I'll stay here in the early 21st century. But watching the bloody-mouthed, shuffling zombies attacking their human counterparts during this time period was very Stubbs the Zombie and a interesting take on the genre.

The movie had a lot to say about the humanity of the monsters (specifically Fido) when compared to those that were actually living and while that was an overriding theme of the movie, you didn't feel like you were being hit over the head with it, which was a relief. I mean, after all, it is a zombie movie.

Next up from Netflix is likely Grindhouse: Planet Terror which is another zombie movie (I know, I need professional help.) That movie had me in the trailer when Rose McGowan took off her leg and replaced it with a machine gun. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is at the top of the queue, but it says "very long wait" so it might be awhile before we see that one.

1 comment:

Cate Gardner said...

I've only just found out about this movie and I'm gutted it's not available in the UK...