July 17th, 2005

Semiformalishmaybe

Updated Zombies

Tonight, I went out to see the Wonka remake, and afterwards Land of the Dead. The first was worth seeing, but comparing it to the old film, I feel that the original was better. Depp was good, and the inclusion of a backstory for Wonka made him seem more real, but Wilder as Wonka was more maniacal, and felt more natural. I remember the boat scene in the original, which left a big impression on me, even after all these years since I last saw it, whereby the new boat scene was more roller coasterish but isn't used to illustrate Wanka's character as well. The poverty of the Bucket family is overdone in a way that makes it leave less of an impression than that from the first film. Also, the theme of redemption, critical to the first film, is removed entirely in the second, replaced with the motif of the perfect, noble child. There were a number of other differences between the two that inspire me to reread the book sometime soon. However, I think that Tim Burton's style is a poor match for the story. All that said, it wasn't bad.As for the second, it was enjoyable and rather creepy. It reminded me of Dawn of the Dead in some ways, and also was definitely set in Pittsburgh, even if they didn't use the name -- the map was visible, and they named Mount Washington.

While in there, I made a realization about Star Trek's Borg -- they're meant to be the adaptation of zombies to science fiction. The zombie mythos is based on a few basic characteristics -- they're not intelligent, they were humans at one point (and their monstrosity is partly based on that), they clumsily and slowly move forward, they 'convert' their victims into more of themselves, and are unstoppable. Borg are, of course, meant to be highly intelligent, moreso than people. However, this is mainly used to add a higher level to the inexorability of the doom of the pursued -- real zombies wouldn't be particularly difficult foes in Star Trek.

I felt something akin to what someone else mentioned to me about Pittsburgh a few times -- everywhere I go there are a bunch of memories waiting for me. I felt this while watching the films and between them when I went to the bookstore for awhile, knowing that I sat at those very tables a few years before, in what feels like a very different life. Dwelling on that too much, which I am alas prone to do, easily makes me glum.