Friday, September 21, 2007

Leavin On A Jet Plane

The 28 Weeks Later DVD comes out shortly, and on said DVD are two animated shorts from the 28 Days Later: The Aftermath graphic novel. The movie is AMAZING (and again, I say that as a fan and not the studio hack that I truly am), but the animated graphic novel featurettes have been receiving a nice amount of love as well. Check out these review excerpts!

The most intriguing features are two bonus short films. Essentially a Anamatic interpretations of the Fox Atomic's 28 DAYS LATER Graphic Novels, the first, STAGE 1: DEVELOPMENT, is a 7-minute look at the history of the creation of the rage virus by Cambridge University scientists. The second, STAGE 3: DECIMATION is a much shorter look at a vigilante solider fighting a one-man war against the infected on the streets of London. The artwork, in a sometimes slick, sometimes sketched, comic book style along with the voice over narration provides for a very cool supplement and easily the best feature this DVD has to offer?aside from the film of course. These final two extras typify what great bonus materials should be?an extension of the film that enhances the viewing experience. I really hope we see more of this type of thing on future releases.

But the "Aftermath" offerings are different. They're unique. These cleverly-produced, stylized, cinematic graphic novels provide background on the development of the virus previous to the start of the first 28 film. And it's not that this is such an evolutionary idea - it's not. But the approach and the music and the integration of live-action film into these well-drawn inserts is masterfully handled. These are visceral 10-minutes shorts that deserve your rapt attention.?

THE AFTERMATH: Stage 1: Development: This short featurette shows the conception of the Rage virus, which turns out to be developed by several rather unscrupulous scientists. This adheres to the old adage that it's cheaper to tell something in an animated form than it is to film it. This little vignette isn't strictly animated, it's more a series of illustrations from renowned artist Steve Niles, who has collaborated with the likes of Clive Barker, Richard Matheson & Harlan Ellison. This isn't really up to much, merely trying to provide an explanation for the events depicted in such a hugely popular movie - a similar thing was attempted when a comic book prelude to Night of the Living Dead was created in the early to mid nineties. This featurette is really hard work, like sitting through a Monkey Dust sketch without the jokes.

THE AFTERMATH: Stage 3: Decimation: This is similar to the previous featurette, but the style is completely different - Stage 1 was more dialogue-driven, whereas Stage 3 relies on visuals much more. The only difference is that this one is fantastic stuff - the style of the illustrations are completely different to the Stage 1. The story is engaging and gripping on both and visceral and emotional level. Steve Niles was the writer and Nat Jones was the illustrator on this one. Great work.

I'm off to Colorado now!


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