28 Weeks Later - BRD
(Juan Carlos Fresnadillo - 2007)
Studio: DNA Films & 20th Century Fox (USA) / 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (USA)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Feature film: 1080p / AVC @ 37 MBPS
Supplements: HD/SD (mostly 1080i)
English DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio
French DD 5.1 Surround
Spanish DD 5.1 Surround
English for the visually impaired
English, Spanish, Korean & Cantonese
• Commentary by Director/Co-writer Juan Carlos Fresnadillo & Co-producer Enrique López Lavigne
• Featurette: Code Red: The Making of 28 Weeks Later
• Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Fresnadillo & Lavigne
• The Infected Featurette
• Getting Into the Action Featurette
• Animated chapters from 28 Days Later: The Aftermath
• Theatrical Trailer
Standard Blu-ray case:
1 disc: 50GB dual layer
Release Date: October 9, 2007
28 Weeks Later ~ Comment
We left off in 28 Days Later with a world about to be overrun by zombies, so a sequel seemed inevitable. But a new director and writer? We worry. We see the names Danny Boyle and Alex Garland as Executive Producers and we breathe a sigh of relief. We are reassured by the movie's opening scene, so reminiscent of the original's fearful paranoia, and arbitrary carnage. We smile in anticipation as the protagonist runs to save his skin while his wife is being ravaged by the "infected." Ah, an interior drama is coming, we think.
Alas, the next hour and a half, save for a couple of brief scenes that focus and intensify the moral dilemma presented at the beginning, the film devolves into little more than a series of well staged, gruesome orgies of rage, blood, gorgings, running, chasing, shooting, and more of the same. There is some dimensionality to the central family in the drama thanks largely to those actors: the father, an always reliably infectious Robert Carlyle; the mother, a smoldering Catherine McCormack; and the children, 17 year old Imogen Poots (who resembles nothing less than a slender version of Kate Winslet) and 12 year old Mackintosh Muggleton.
We know we're in trouble when we find it necessary to rationalize every other bit of behavior, as in: Why are those kids, who ought to know better because they lived through these months on the same planet as everyone else, so set on visiting their home despite the terror that might await them? Why isn't the single surviving infected person kept under the most awesome security this side of Guantanamo? And, if the children are worth saving and sacrificing oneself to protect, why not tell them about it so they can help, rather than hinder the process? And why on Earth are scores of people "contained" without first determining if any of them are infected – unless you don't care about the outcome – in which case, then shouldn't there have been unbreakable containments? In other words, if you're going to take one aspect of social control seriously, then why not another?
The answers to these questions, and many more, are available to anyone who cares to take the trouble to exercise the art of rationalization. And, in a perverse way, that's sort of the moral point of the screenplay. But, unlike 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later basks in cliché and noisesome frights until nothing is really scary any longer and nothing much matters. We can see the ending coming from the moment the boy is taken from his house – and spells death in my book of horror films.
28 Weeks Later ~ The Score Card
The Movie : 6
The story picks up roughly where 28 Days Later left off, but elsewhere in England and with a different group of uninfected survivors, frightened out of their wits and boarded up in a once pleasant farmhouse. One thing leads to another and soon they are overcome with rabid ex-humans out for blood. Donald (played by a terrorfied and terrorfying Robert Carlyle) is separated by a few feet from his wife, Alice, when he realizes he has to make a sophie's choice. He flees in a panic whilst looking over his shoulder to see Alice screaming for her life at the upstairs window.
In a few months all the infected appear to have died of from starvation – a wonderfully gruesome concept when you think about it – and the military begins to repatrify the country – one inadequately contained area at a time – a catastrophe waiting to happen, n'est-ce pas. Enter two children, aged about 16 and 12, who return to London to join their father – the erstwhile Donald, now a security/custodian – a man with a pass key to just about anywhere he might want to go. His children want to hear about mom. He breaks down, and tells nearly all, stopping short of his betrayal.
The two children escape the secure part of the city on their own and make their way to their old home, abandoned months ago when the epidemic was at its peak. Anticipating a house empty of life, they pick up a few souvenirs, especially a photo of their mom, for the young boy worries that he might forget her. But 28 Weeks Later wouldn’t be worth a gasp if they didn’t encounter someone completely unexpected. And encounter they do. The event portends a great plot twist, and some of it is realized in the next few minutes. In short order, all hell breaks out, and the city erupts into a giant shoot first and ask no questions free for all. One soldier with a pang of conscience tries to get a small group of citizens out of the city alive.
Image : 8 (6~9/9)
The score of 8 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs. The score in parentheses represents: first, a value for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.
As is often the case with on-location and computer tormented images, sharpness and clarity of image is all over the map. I assume it was no different for the theatrical presentation. Compared to 28 Days Later, the image is a couple of orders of magnitude more satisfying in high definition.
Audio & Music : 7/8
An unremarkable, but adequate, audio mix supports the general mayhem. It certainly is loud, but not very refined, which is curiously at odds with its evocative music score.
Operations : 7
As with 28 Days After, Fox gets us to main menu directly, and from there we navigate to the feature film in a straightforward manner. The chapter thumbnails are large and titled. Thank you.
Extras : 7
The Code Red featurette discusses how the filmmakers addressed the sequel. The Infected looks at the actors who played the zombies – a nice credit, I thought. Fans of the graphic novels will enjoy the two short animated montages.
A good image and sound don’t quite make up for what turns out to be just another gory zombie movie with good intentions – which I believe 28 Weeks Later set to be. If you like the movie, this is the right edition to have.
October 12th, 2007
Enter the Dragon