As chronicled in yesterday’s New York Times a new wealth of heroes conceived by one of the fathers of modern comics, Jack Kirby, have been unveiled by California animation company whom he worked for later in his career. The firm that owns them, Ruby-Spears Productions, is planning of making them into new comics, cartoons and films.
But which are we most interested in? Golden Shield of course. According to the article:
Among the unrealized projects that Mr. Kirby helped create or contribute to were “Golden Shield,” about an “ancient Mayan hero seeking to save earth in the apocalyptic year 2012.”
Ever the visionary…
The recent pandemic-themed thriller “Carriers” had a strange journey to DVD – it’s planned theatrical release was winnowed down to 100 screens after its distributor, Paramount Vantage, went belly up; reviews for the low-key, PG-13-rated movie found some critics decrying its lack of gore, others chiding it for being unnecessarily bleak and still others complaining that it didn’t have any zombies (?!?!); and the limited theatrical presence snapped something in Stephen King’s brain, causing the eccentric writer to pen a bizarre and naggy EW column in which he uses the film as an example of a good (but not great) independent movie that didn’t get a fair shot.
Finally, the week before New Year’s, “Carriers” arrived on DVD. And I watched it last night. And it was okay. The film is structured as a classic road trip picaresque, and centers around four compatriots (two brothers and their special lady friends) making their way across a plague-decimated America. They share laughs, make hard decisions, wallow in two-bit nostalgia and, in a controversial turn, never actually make it to White Castle. If you generally enjoy post-apocalyptic cinema, or you want to see Chris Pine flipping over a golf cart, I’d recommend watching it… otherwise, for your convenience, I’ve put together a short list of all the post-apocalyptic clichés it manages to hit during its remarkably svelte 84-minute runtime (plus, DUH!, Spoilers!):
Gas = Guzzled
Given the film’s desert setting and the fact that the characters are first shown in a stolen Mercedes upon which they’ve spray painted the words “Road Warrior,” it’s clear that the writers had Mad Max in mind, but, in “Carriers,” the gas shortage is more a device to force the travelers into tense inter- and intra-character conflicts than a socio-political commentary or PSA from Australia’s leather bondage gear lobby. Plus, I’m unclear as to where all the fuel actually went. I guess with the electricity off, all the sickies had to switch to their gas-powered hu
“…but the Women Stay!”
Remember in “28 Days Later” when the road-tripping friends found the military base, and the troops tried to imprison the women for use as indentured “repopulation” toys? Well, in “Carriers,” the road-tripping friends find a group of militant survivalists who want to do the same thing… except instead of being a group of defeated and isolated do-gooders whose humanist agenda has been eroded away by cabin fever and their own insuppressible animal nature, the survivalists are just a bunch of horny old dudes.
When the Cat’s Away…
From the Richard Cheese-backed montage of peccadilloes-run-amok in James Gunn’s “Dawn of the Dead” remake to the hilariously surreal drunken “President of this Quiet Earth” monologue from “The Quiet Earth,” the post-apocalyptic film canon is replete with moments in which characters give in to dark urges and wanton destruction in the wake of societal collapse. In “Carriers,” that means driving golf balls through the windows of a hotel in which the characters plan to spend the night. Oh, did I mention that the super flu is airborne? Yeah, definitely break all those windows.
He’s/She’s Already Dead, Man/Bro!
It’s bizarre to think that several reviewers actually complained about the film’s lack of zombies, but I can kinda see why – the viral plague is so contagious, that, once someone in your group contracts it, the party line is leave ‘em or kill ‘em. This inevitably leads to several gratuitously heart-tugging scenes in which characters have to shanghai a loved one or plug an acquaintance after the person in question, who has, of course, been keeping their infection a secret, is outed as a carrier. It’s all the raw emotion with none of the machete-slinging carnage, but if you aren’t 12 years old and at a sleepover, that shouldn’t really matter. The lack of naked boobs, though… it still stings a bit.
I could keep going, but you get the picture. Again, not a bad movie (actually, as King points out in his editorial, the cinematography is beautiful), but nothing you haven’t seen before. Unless you’ve never seen a movie, in which case, you could do a lot worse.