Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is coming out for blu-ray and digital download next week on May 31,  which made me realize that I never said anything about it here on Blogging Dead. So here are some thoughts on a marketing piece released with the film and a brief review of the movie itself. 

Zombify Yourself

Since I’ve extensively covered The Walking Dead’s Dead Yourself app, I thought I’d check out a similar feature that Sony Pictures released as part of the film’s marketing called Zombify Yourself. The press release announcing said feature said that after users visit the site they can upload or take a photo and facial recognition software will create a gif of them transforming into the decaying undead. That gif can then be shared easily across social networks or via text with friends.

My attempt at Zombifying Myself

My attempt at Zombifying Myself

I was skeptical, but I gave this feature a shot anyway, only to find out that it’s pretty boring. All you really do is upload the photo and the feature does the rest. There’s no personality or customization. And it doesn’t even really look that cool. The resulting gif might be sharable, although I don’t think I’d really want to show it to anyone. I’m reluctant to even share it with you. The transformation part happens so quickly and looks like such crap. It might be better if it was more gradual. My main issue with it though is basically the same one I have with the movie itself, it doesn’t to commit enough to the zombie premise to be engaging. So on that note, I will share my brief review of the film.

 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Review

The cast of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies doesn’t have enough Pride and Prejudice or zombies fully please fans from either camp. On paper, the mash up of Jane Austen and the undead seems entertaining, and for the first few minutes of the film it is, as you see the comical juxtaposition of 19th century English propriety against the brutal utility of what’s needed to the survive the zombie apocalypse. However the entire thing feels like one joke that overstays its welcome, just like the flamboyant character played by Matt Smith, who shows up in way too many scenes. The movie doesn’t deliver nearly enough action or contribute anything interesting to mythology to be a good zombie movie. In fact, it gets so hung up laughing at its own joke that it forgets to even explain how the undead are dispatched in this world. It also doesn’t give you enough of Austen’s characters or plot to be engaging. The only decent performance comes from Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet, who has almost no one to play off aside from her father (Charles Dance) or a warrior woman (Lena Headey). Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has a zombified 19th century exterior, but it’s missing the substantive guts to make it a memorable, satisfying experience.

✭✭ ½  out of  

Fear the Walking Dead Neighbors 2 Promo

I love zombies. I love Seth Rogen. I laughed my ass off during both Neighbors movies. So I should love this Fear the Walking Dead promo for Neighbors 2, or rather this fake pitch for “Neighbors 3: Zombies Rising,” where Mac (Seth Rogen) and Teddy (Zac Efron) take on zombies. The fact that Seth Rogen wields a longsword and that he disagrees with Zac Efron on whether to dispatch zombified fraternity brothers seems like it could be hilarious. Except the whole affair is as sad and unfunny as the joke Rogen cracks in the promo’s beginning about accidentally killing his hamster as a child because he sat on it. What a letdown.

The Walking Dead – No Man’s Land

The Walking Dead No Man's Land

The Walking Dead No Man’s Land

I love videogames, but I’m not really into playing them on phones, since their screens are usually small and the controls for mobile games are generally terrible. That’s probably why it has taken me so long to download No Man’s Land, the official Walking Dead mobile game. I finally broke down though, and decided to try it.

No Man’s Land is fun, so I could see how obsessive gamers who delight in micromanaging characters and camps could get addicted to it, however I’m far from hooked. Part of my middling sentiment comes from its controls (which aren’t great) and the other part comes from the type of game it is (not one of my favorites). Is No Man’s Land worth your time? Here’s a breakdown of the game in greater detail so you can decide.

Story: There’s not much story from what I can tell so far other than the game’s setup. You control a group of three survivors who escape from Terminus and are rescued by Daryl Dixon in the process. Daryl becomes your guide, telling you where to go next or encouraging you to undertake missions through dialogue boxes. Missions involve you killing walkers to acquire items or points you can use toward them. Once you complete all the missions for a particular area you can move on to new ones.

Graphics: The graphics for cutscenes in the game are amazing. If you told me a few years ago that mobile games could achieve these visuals without killing your phone’s battery I would have never believed you. During regular gameplay though, graphics are just okay, particularly on loading screens and when the game zooms out to a wider view during missions.

Controls: You tap items on screen with your fingers, and move characters by dragging your fingers across the screen. This element of the game is especially frustrating. Sometimes the game is under-responsive to your tapping, while other times it is over-responsive. Plus, dragging your finger across the screen in even slightly the wrong direction, can move your character in such a way that they could accidentally finish a turn and be sitting ducks to get damaged by walkers.

Game Type: It’s somewhere between an RPG and a strategy game. During a mission, battles take place in a turn format, where you are limited to a number of moves per turn, and zombies have the opportunity to fight back while you’re waiting for the next turn. When you’re between missions, you have a camp with various areas where you can build things, train characters, and work toward upgrades. You can change who is in your party and you can also adjust the armor and items that they use.

Is it Worth Your Time?: So in the end, is No Man’s Land worth it? Depends on the type of gamer you are. If you get easily addicted to performing repetitive missions and you love micromanaging characters to build them up, then yeah, you’ll probably dig the game. If you prefer something more story-driven with better controls and more challenging puzzles, then you’re better off checking out Telltale’s episodic Walking Dead games on console or PC. Those games are much more fascinating since the decisions you make can affect the entire course of your game. Look out for posts on those in the future too.

No Man’s Land is available for iPhone in the App Store and on Android on the Google Play. 

Where I’ve Been and What’s Next

In my last post, I promised an update on why I’ve been absent and information on some of the changes coming to Blogging Dead, so here I am.

Where I’ve Been

In the year or so when I put the blog on hold, I was pursuing my master’s degree part-time and working full-time, which left me very little room for my hobbies. On top of those two things, I was still continuing to review movies on my podcast Spoilerpiece Theatre too. Because one of my co-hosts was going to have a child and knew his free time would be limited after the baby was born, I took over recording and editing the podcast as well. All of these concurrent items just made keeping up with this blog impractical, especially since I was also trying to date during this period.

One fortunate thing that happened to me during this downtime is that I met the love of my life. Thankfully she’s also a Walking Dead super-fan so when we got engaged this year, I was thrilled that she wanted to zombify our engagement photo with AMC’s Dead Yourself app. What a woman. I’m so lucky to have her!

My zombie engagement photo created with AMC's Dead Yourself App.

My zombie engagement photo created with AMC’s Dead Yourself App.

Now that I’ve graduated and I’m more adjusted to my podcasting schedule, I have the time to pick this blog back up and give it the dedication it needs again. Ideally I’d like to get at least one new post up per week, depending on what’s going on with the Walking Dead and zombies in general.

What’s Next

A new look. First, you’ll probably notice that I changed the look of the blog a little bit. I went with a lighter color scheme so that the blog is easier to read. If you like the new color scheme, please leave me a quick comment in support. Or if you’re not a fan and you’d like the old black and red back, feel free to let me know via comment as well.

Recaps are going to be different as well. Instead of going with longform analysis like other sites, I want to make my recaps of episodes and the comics more digestible. I will still include a brief plot summary at the top of my posts, but the remainder will be more list-based, calling out out the best line, the best shot (or comic page), the best zombie kill, the best zombie-related theme, and the best non-zombie related theme present. I might adapt this format to include more or less as I get the hang of it.

That’s all I have for now. I recently downloaded the Walking Dead – No Man’s Land, AMC’s official Walking Dead mobile game, so look out for a post on that soon.

Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 16: Last Day on Earth

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here. I had a number of big things going on which made it difficult to maintain this site on top of my film writing and my podcast, so I had to step away for a while. Now that everything has calmed down a bit though, I’ve decided to resurrect Blogging Dead. Plus, after I saw the explosive and divisive Walking Dead Season 6 finale, there was no way I could just sit back without saying anything.

Big changes are coming to the site (mainly in how recaps are structured), but I’ll catch you up on those and tell you more about what I’ve been doing in an upcoming post. For now, let’s just talk about the Season 6 finale.

As usual there are spoilers ahead, so don’t read on unless you’ve already seen it.

The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 16: Last Day on Earth

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan in The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 16

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan in The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 16

In the entire time I’ve been a fan of the show, I’ve never been as on edge about a character’s fate as I was after the previous episode “East.” Seeing Daryl get shot in the final moment of the episode was so nerve-wracking that I had to rewind it at least three times to make sure he wasn’t dead. So going into the finale I was already anxious about that. I became even more frightened though due to a wild theory I developed that Rick might die. This theory was mainly based on an interview with Andrew Lincoln where he mentioned staying up all night after reading the finale’s script, a fuzzy screenshot featuring Negan’s baseball bat Lucille with a person wearing a white t-shirt in the background, and Rick’s new romance with Michonne. Killing him off would be daring and really change the show’s dynamic.

On top of those worries, the finale itself was an exercise in tension. Between the situation happening with Carol, and the one with Rick and his crew, I was scared for everyone. I spent the entire time clutching my fiancée’s hand tightly, ready to pee my pants long before Negan uttered his famous line about doing so, thanks to Greg Nicotero’s masterful direction. When Negan finally made his debut in the episode’s final minutes, he was amazing. Jeffrey Dean Morgan knocked his big scene out of the park, to use a baseball metaphor. One thing Scott M. Gimple and his writing team did not knock out of the park though, was the episode’s ending.

After building up tension to a volcanic peak, the season ended on a bullshit note with a first person shot of an unknown character getting their brains bashed in by Negan. On Talking Dead, Gimple said his reason for doing so was because this character’s death marked the end of one arc and the beginning of another one next season, but that’s not only baloney, it’s just unfair to do to your audience following that level of build up. Sure he cited other television shows that have done cliffhanger finales, although those situations pale in comparison to this one. Showing who died would have just as much impact, if not more because you’d be left wondering how things could continue.

Now that I’ve properly vented, let’s talk theories about who died. I’ve heard a few like, Glenn because that’s how it goes down in the comics, Eugene because he was finally starting to find his way, Sacha because Abraham would lose it, or Rosita because it would be a blow to the Alexandrian army she has been training. I plan to rewatch the finale again to come up with a rock solid theory, but here are the two most promising ones I’ve heard.

Abraham

The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

“Last Day on Earth” was a big episode for Abraham. He expressed the desire to have a child with Sacha, he made up with Eugene, and he refused to be intimidated by Negan, sitting up straight to look at him. When Negan swings Lucille and declares that whoever it is took it like a champ, Abraham might be the only one who could take a beating like that without dying on the first blow.

Daryl

The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The episode’s other first person shots were of Daryl or someone else in the van covered in a hood. Also, Norman Reedus now has a motorcycle show on AMC which would probably conflict with shooting the Walking Dead. Plus, he’s the only cast member who has said publicly that he knows who died and it’s “gut wrenching.” Finally, Daryl is one of the only characters not in the comic so killing him on the show would be a game changer.

Until I re-review the episode, my money is on Abraham, because I just don’t see how they could kill Daryl without a fan revolt.

Who do you think died in The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 16? Take the poll below or leave a comment with your thoughts and theories.

Walking Dead Season 5 Trailers: Surviving Together and Another Day

Hey everyone, I know it’s been ages since I’ve done a post and that I’m way behind on recaps. Sorry about that. Things have been super crazy with graduate school and other endeavors. Eventually I’ll finish recapping Season 4 and the first half of Season 5, but I thought I’d return with some thoughts on the two most recent trailers for the second part of The Walking Dead Season 5. Check them out below.

Note: Normally I’d just embed them, but I can’t figure out a way to embed them without having both autoplay at once, so I’ll give you links to spare you the dual audio.

Surviving Together

“All that matters is surviving together.” That’s basically the only thing that’s said during this teaser for second half of The Walking Dead Season 5. The trailer doesn’t tell you anything, but it’s still fun watching Rick and his crew marching through the foggy woods, looking really determined while they fire heavy artillery at unseen forces. Are they fighting humans or walkers? Does it really matter? The show will still continue to ask tough questions and to keep us guessing about what it means to be human in a decaying post-apocalytpic world.

Another Day

This trailer for the second half of The Walking Dead Season 5 tells you a little more about what we’ll be seeing, but not a whole lot. Looks like everyone is back on the road again, fighting through zombie-filled roads on their way to some unknown destination. Maybe they’re headed to Virginia like when they take residence at the community in the comics? Despite all that they’ve been through, people still seem to be hopeful about the future, especially Tyreese and Michonne who are talking about things not being over and living to have another chance.

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when the show returns. How about you? What do you think will happen in the second part of Season 5?

Dear Diary: Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10 (Inmates)

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 4 post contains spoilers.

At the start of The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10 (Inmates) I had no idea who Beth was addressing. I wasn’t sure if she was talking in her head, to the audience, or maybe even aloud to her dead mother as a form of therapy. I felt dumb though once I realized she was rereading pages from her diary. The show’s writers use these entries in a fascinating and memorable way to contrast her hopefulness when she was at the prison with her despair now that she and Daryl are separated from everyone else.

Even through all the terrible things that have happened, Beth is still optimistic that they will reunite with the others and get back on track. But not Daryl. It’s shocking to see how despondent he has become. For the first time ever, I wanted to kick him when he says to Beth “Faith ain’t done shit for us. Sure as hell didn’t do nothin’ for your father.” What a low blow, assy thing to say to her so soon after Hershel’s death. It’s his guilt over this statement that probably allows her to convince Daryl they should track down other survivors from the prison. So at least a positive comes from it.

One of the odd things about this episode is that everything seems to happen out of order chronologically. Most of the people seem to be in the same places, like the prison bus in the middle of the road or the train tracks, but at different times. I think the show’s writers are telling us that the timing just isn’t right for a reunion yet. However it’s pretty annoying that they come crossing paths without bumping into each other.

There are some pretty fantastic surprises in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10 that make up for the lack of that major reunion though. First, we find out that Judith is alive (phew), with Tyreese, Lizzie, and her sister all stumbling in the woods together. Lizzie shows us more of her crazy side by almost smothering Judith, which isn’t all that that unexpected. Then we see the return of Carol, something I didn’t suspect would happen so soon. She casually lies to Tyreese about her whereabouts since he still doesn’t know about her transgressions. It works and they walk away down the tracks.

Another unexpected revelation involves Maggie’s group where we discover that Bob has completely changed his attitude because he’s alive. Pretty drastic turnaround. Probably the craziest reveal happens after Glenn wakes up at the prison. He mourns, gathers his stuff, and throws on his riot gear (good plan), before reluctantly joining forces with Tara. They start traveling, but Glenn collapses quickly from exhaustion providing the perfect opportunity for new character introduction right at the end of the episode. Tada! Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita from the comics have arrived with sassy line to close things out.

That brings us to this week’s poll directed toward fans of The Walking Dead comics: Were you happy that Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita joined the show?