Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Things I Learned from 30 Days of Night:

Research is important.

Suppose you're making a movie about a real city in a real state. Let's say you're making a movie called 30 Days of Night and you're setting it in Barrow, Alaska. Let's ignore, for a moment, the fact that the "days of night" in Barrow number more than thirty each year, because thirty is such a nice fun number. Round. Not like, oh, sixty-three. We will suspend our disbelief about the exitence of vampires, cuz it's a vampire movie and that's what you do when you watch a vampire movie. Oddly, I have no trouble suspending that disbelief. It's these other things that bug me... so I give you Things I Learned From 30 Days of Night: **Spoilers Galore!**

  • Thing One: Planes cannot fly in the dark. For all those days of darkness, the people of Barrow will be secluded from the world. Isolated. Helpless. Totally cut off and without resources until the sun should rise again. Ripe pickings for those thirsty vamps. Wanna test this theory? Try Expedia. See if you can fly to Barrow on winter solstice, December 22nd. You know what? You can! So that whole isolated for a month in the dark thing? Um... bullshit. You wanna remake From Dusk Til Dawn in Alaska? Neat. Go for it. But I recommend you pick a fictional city. By having it be a real place, with real flights (several every day!) you lost me. The movie makers went to a lot of trouble to cut those folks off - destroying all the cell phones (then promptly showing cell phones in use in the very next scene!), disabling the internet, and cutting the power - but does anyone actually think that darkness means there will be no more flights? Really? Dude, what century are we in?
  • Thing Two: Too many writers is a baaaaad thing. In Hollywood, a screenplay will often find its way through several screenwriters before making it to the big screen. The guy with the idea. The guy paid to fix the idea guy's idea. And the guy brought in by the producers to make the film "commercial" so it will make as much money as humanly possible. I'm guessing that with 30 Days the original idea guy was the only one who had ever given any thought to the realities of living in Barrow, Alaska. There were just enough things done right that it almost seemed like someone somewhere knew what the hell they were talking about. But those right things were grossly outweight by all the jawdroppingly dumb things. Like no one's breath being visible in the -10 degree air. Like Barrow being isolated in "80 miles of roadless wilderness". Um... y'all? That's one helluva lot more than 80 miles. I think you missed a zero. The only thing within even 80 nautical miles of Barrow is Wainwright - and that ain't exactly civilization. Or - and this one is a personal favorite - the oil pipeline running right through Barrow. Yep. Only off by a couple hundred miles of "roadless wilderness". I could totally walk that - like the cute dark-haired chick does after her friend gets munched by vamps.
  • Thing Three: Vampires are sloppy eaters. There are a limited number of people in Barrow, i.e. a limited amount of blood. So the frenzied ripping and splashing is just downright wasteful! Make that blood last, boys and girls! Be grateful for the stupid humans who stumble into your feeding frenzy. There are vampires starving in Africa!
  • Thing Four: Dental hygiene = morality. Two cute little eye-teeth fangs = Good Vampire. A mouthful of jaggedy fanged teeth with a nasty underbite = Bad Vampire. A mouthful of blackened nubs like you've been chugging battery acid = Bad Human. Straight, over-whitened pearlies = Good Human.
  • Thing Five: Stupidity in the cold is still stupidity. The vampires appear to be impervious to the cold. This adds a special layer of juicy idiocy to Our Hero's moving speech in which he proclaims that they live in Barrow for a reason. Cuz no one else can. They know the town. They know the cold. They are gonna prevail, bitches! Unfortunately, their little undead buddies are impervious to the freaking cold, you freaking moron. So the fact that you are not? Not an advantage. Oh! And then there's this one part (God, I love this movie. It is sooooo bad.) when the Rebel Badass guy is running into certain death with his big ass combine-looking piece of construction machinery - only what's this? He seems to be a-slicin' and a-dicin' those nasty vamps! He's winning! Eating their fricking lunch, baby! Then he intentionally runs his combine-thingy into a building so he can blow it up, but does not in fact succeed in blowing up the vamps. Just himself. Yep. Stupidity. Not any less stupid just cuz it's cold.

This movie? Beyond awesome. I can't stop laughing. It's the gift that keeps on giving. If only it were trying to be funny.

So do your research, boys and girls. Cuz if you don't, someone may just be blogging about how ridicu-awesome your mistakes are.

On a realistic Alaska note: Snow in the mountains behind my house today and a moose eating the neighbor's flowers before they're all killed by the frost. Winter's coming. And you thought it was Autumn. Ha ha.


Leah Braemel said...

I'd seen the title, but hadn't put it together with Alaska. (I don't get out much, what can I say?)

I'll have to watch it now just so I can laugh along with you.

(I'm interested now to know what you thought of The Proposal which is supposed to take place in Alaska but was filmed in Mass. and the Alaskan scenery CGId in. (I was SO disappointed to discover that.)

Vivi Andrews said...

Wow, I had no idea the Proposal was CGIed. It looked like Southeast AK to me... and I thought they got a lot of the Sitka stuff more or less right. That part of the state gets a lot of cruise ship traffic, so I figured whoever wrote it probably took a cruise for inspiration.

Honestly, what bugged me about that movie is that I didn't like the Sandra Bullock character. I couldn't imagine why Ryan Reynolds would love her unless he was a masochist looking for a dominatrix.