The Crazies (2010) Dir. by Breck Eisner
I got the chance to see this movie today with my good friend The Mike (From Midnight With Love), and a couple of other good friends, and I must say I was presently surprised. Having seen the original, I was a little worried going into this one. It had essentially the same plot as the first one. Town goes crazy, finds out it is biological, army quarantine, and then people are forced to try and escape. As amazing as I feel the first one was, it did have many holes in not only it's plot but the characters as well. I didn't feel that way about this one. It starts off with a bang and keeps going, filling in the holes with random acts of violence and sometimes funny dialogue. With the plot being almost exactly the same, I felt the movie had some room to play with it. They showed more of the towns people killing other people, and I thought that really brought up the fear factor of the movie. Yes the movie is semi-predictable, but is that really all that bad. This movie wasn't out to win an Oscar, it was out to please. In my book, it did just that.
The character development in this movie is what really drives it. The original was extremely lacking in that department, and I felt like it was a much needed focus for the remake. I finally got to feel for the characters, especially the town's people. I could have went without the unnecessary romance between a couple of unimportant characters, but I can see how they were just trying to build emotion to the film. I do think they could have filmed the scene a little less cheesy, and I would have asked for a little better acting, but I let it slide. I really had a chance to feel for the main couple. Baby on board, it was a chance to feel they were a real couple, defending a real problem, not just for themselves but for their child as well. Judy and David Dutton ( Radha Mitchell and Tymothy Olyphant) were definitely still the main focus of the film, as well they should be. The story follows them as they try to leave the town along with the Deputy Russell Clank (Joe Anderson) and Becca Darling (Danielle Panabaker). Giving the Deputy more character in this film is something I thought was an excellent touch. When Joe Anderson was on the screen, I couldn't stop watching. He has only been acting for six years, and I already feel he is only going to get stronger. I'm guessing he may become a well established actor in the near future. Sure this isn't a real killer of a role for him, but I think people will start to see his talent, and the emotions he puts into each character. I enjoyed him in the Ruins as well. Not being shy to scary movies herself (Pitch Black, Silent Hill, Rogue) Radha Mitch once again gives an amazing job. At times it felt like she might have been overacting a bit, but it seemed to fit right in. I look forward to her dabbling more in the realm of Horror. Last, I just want to say great job to the supporting cast, without the Crazies we would have no movie.
Breck Eisner, what am I supposed to say about Breck Eisner. He hasn't directed that many films so far, and they are usually hit or miss. Technically, I would view him as a nobody. Invisible the the rest of the movie industry. Thoughtcrimes (2003) was insanely boring, and Sahara (2005) was mildly entertaining at best. His direction of T.V. episodes was definitely his strong suit, having done an episode of "Taken" for Steven Spielberg. The one big thing that bothers me about him is he produced perhaps the worst short story science fiction adaption in history when he produced the atrocity Sound of Thunder in 2005. With all that considered, I do think he might have made his mark among filmmakers. If anyone out there is as nerdy as me to pay attention to camera angles, rotation, lighting, and editing, they should have seen the excellent work Eisner did on The Crazies. I hope I'm not spoiling anything when I say the shot of the plane discovering is one of the best I have seen in a long time. The use of aerial shot was magnificent, used often, but not too much. The film was bathed in seas of perfect dim lighting. It really added to the atmosphere of the film. Combined with a simple, yet effective score, this film was a pleasure to my eyes and ears.
Now that it seems like I am praising this film, there were some problems with it as well. It tried to use the same choppy editing and almost time traveling speed the original movie managed to make use of, but fell short on this film. There were moments where I felt there needed to be a little more to the conversation in progress, and it cut away to the next scene. These new scenes at times where sometimes hours ahead. It really put a choke hold on my ability to imagine the things that might have happened between then. At times, the death sequences were beyond the acceptable cheesiness. I can't say that I didn't crack at least the slightest grin when they happened, but they could have been toned down a bit. The movie was filled with laughable moments, and I can't deny that. I just want to make it a point to educated people before they go to see this movie. There are semi-scary moments, times you might jump, times you might laugh, maybe even feel sorrow, but do not go into this movie expecting an award winning film, and you will not be let down.
The military's involvement in the film was actually it's downfall, compared to the original (which it was it's strength). The military rushes into a town of over 1300 people in the middle of the night and sets up a giant quarantine area in the middle of the town's football field. I think someone would have noticed that. There is absolutely no character development with any of the military members at all. This displeased me very much, especially since some of the best characters of the original were part of the military. The make them seem like more of an enemy than the crazies themselves. They appear to be mindless, servants of a higher power, which might as well be a crack at the military in real life, and that I can understand. That is all followed up with an ending that shocked me a bit, and excited me as much as it let me down. With some of the movie clearly displaying landscape not actually located in Iowa (yes i understand it was essential to the plot), I felt a little let down. Not to mention, I know for sure The Mike is going to take a crack at destroying the Iowa Hawkeyes or something, haha.
All things aside, I loved the movie, and I can't wait to see it again. My thoughts for the future are as follows- I really dislike it when filmmakers make a footprint in the business with a remake, but this was acceptable, and with Breck Eisner's upcoming remake of The Brood, and remake of Flash Gordon, I really hope he doesn't upset my friend The Mike. To Mr. Eisner- No one has ever made that many remakes in a row and managed to keep their pay grade above poverty, so best of luck to you.
Entertainment Value: 9 Pitchforks out of 10
Cinematic Value: 7 Pitchforks out of 10