Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Who Would You Want With You During a Zombie Apocalypse? Woody Harrelson v Michonne.

So there's zombies running around and you have to pick someone - just one person - fictional or real - that you want to have with you to help you survive. Two that I can't decide between are Woody Harrelson and Michonne from The Walking Dead.

Fighting Ability

This one is a close call. Michonne is deadly in The Walking Dead. She removes zombies heads in a flash. She's a survivor. But the Woody Harrelson in Zombieland and Natural Born Killers is one bad MF.



If judging Michonne's personality based on the TV show, then it would be Woody hands down. She hasn't really said much yet and unlike the character in the comics, she seems quite moody. She's like a withdrawn teenager. She's better in the comics. However, Woody is hilarious. Zombieland isn't a great film but it would be shocking if it wasn't for Woody's performance. I think he'd have you in stitches. Michonne, while deadly, would get boring pretty quick. Sure, you'd be alive, but it would be quite a dry existence.



I think this one would have to go to Michonne. I just can't see Woody existing on berries and leaves, whereas I think Michonne would keep you alive for years through foraging. She'd know which mushrooms to eat and what leaves to wipe your arse with. I think once all of the food supplies ran out, Woody would be running around like a headless chicken. He doesn't seem like the boy scout type. Michonne would also be able to survive without Twinkies.



In a world full of zombies, stealth is important right? It would get pretty tiring having to fight every zombie that you came across. Again, I would have to give this to Michonne because Woody just doesn't give a shit. In fact, Woody would probably revel in the chance to try and fight every zombie that came his way. Michonne, on the other hand, would be sneaking through the woods, saving her energy and only killing the zombies that she needs to kill. This seems like a more sensible strategy.



So Michonne comes out on top. She would definitely keep you alive for longer. But if i had to spend the last of my days with someone, I would have to give it to Woody. At least you'd be laughing when a zombie was trying to eat your face off.

Friday, 19 April 2013

What Could Bring About the Apocalypse? Part Two - Germ Warfare

While I think germ warfare is very similar to a virus, and is in fact, a virus, the method of delivery is much different. Rather than it accidentally escaping into society, the disease or virus is thrust upon it.

These kind of stories work well, especially when global tension is as high as it is now. With terror attacks featuring predominantly in the media, the possibility of a bomb being 'dirty' seems plausible.

During The Cold War, the paranoia about nuclear war was at an all time high. It could happen at any time. With the memory of the Second World War still fairly fresh in the eighties, the thoughts of more air raids was a very real worry. Raymond Briggs' When The Wind Blows shows how the older generation, who have memories of times of conflict, could possibly react to nuclear war. It's beautifully depressing and well worth reading / watching.

An attack like this could happen while we slept in our beds, or while out shopping with the family. It's this uncertainty that makes it truly terrifying. We could be eating fast food one minute and then melting onto formica tables the next. Cockroaches and every piece of food made by McDonalds would be the only things left in tact.

With The West's insistence on stamping their dominance on the world, and with attacks like September the eleventh and the most recent bombings in Boston, that fear has resurfaced. North Korea have proven that they can send a bomb over to The States, so why not put a little dose of smallpox in it?

We have little control over our government's actions, yet we may have to pay the ultimate price for them. We selectively stamp out regimes because of how they operate, while leaving others because dominating their country has no gain for us. Do we care how people are treated if their country doesn't have oil? Surely some parts of the world believe that our removal would be for the greater good? Would the fact that The States and Britain are islands be enough to keep the attack localised? Would it inspire those inclined to send a disease our way in the hope that the seas would contain them?

A fear of disease has gripped humans for centuries, especially in the past when medical science was much less advanced. But are we now more fearful of a malicious attack since the US of A demonstrated what a nuclear weapon could do when they dropped one on Hiroshima?

Germ warfare is a great premise for an apocalypse story. How could we avoid a disease dropped on our doorsteps? I suppose it's all down to how it spreads. If the disease is passed through bodily fluids, maybe staying the hell away could keep us safe?

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

What Could Bring About the Apocalypse? Part One - A Virus.

With so many post-apocalyptical / dystopian stories, I thought I'd look at different scenarios that could bring about the apocalypse. Today - A Virus:

So it's come out in some way, shape, or form. Monkeys are being tested on in a lab and the monkeys get out and bite someone - 28 Day's Later. A government facility fails to contain their latest virus - The Stand.

It's been used before and it will continue to be used. It makes sense, a virus can be caught and can travel great distances. How it travels depends on the virus. It can be transferred through bodily fluids, or in the case of The Stand, it can be airborne. There's a wonderful chapter early on in The Stand that tracks the virus as it travels across America. It's the first time that I've read something from the virus' perspective. The great thing about making it airborne is that survival only happens because of an immunity to it. It's a total lottery and the story is more about who's left than actually surviving the event. When it is transferred through bodily fluids, anyone can survive and you have the suspense that at any point, a zombie could be biting your face off. That fear never goes away.

When I'm being entertained by post-apocalyptical stories, I much prefer the latter. Zombies creep me out, so the thought of being hunted by them is petrifying. The opening twenty minutes from 28 Weeks Later is truly horrifying. The guy leaves his wife behind! My only real criticism is that when the main characters in these stories bludgeon the zombies to death, blood smothering their faces in the process, they seem okay. Yet when a drop of blood falls from a crow's beak and lands in someone's eye - Boom!

Viruses seem like a plausible reason for an apocalypse. A read through history books tells us that.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Walking Dead - Season 3 Finale

******** Spoilers ********

So, The Walking Dead has wrapped up for another season. How was the ending?

The whole season was building up to a showdown between Rick and The Governor. Having read the comic books, I thought I knew how this would play out. I was wrong. In the previous episode, Andrea was tied to a torture chair in what looked like a basement, Michone had just come back from being told that Rick wanted to give her over to The Governor to save the group, and Merle died after having taken out some of The Governor's gang.

In this episode, The Governor convinces Woodbury that Rick and crew are nasty and hellbent on destroying their town. He manages to rouse the able bodied and they storm the prison.

Once they get inside, the place appears to be empty. The group head into the prison and start their search for the other survivors. This is when Glen and Maggie pop up, armed with automatic rifles and turn the prison into a shooting gallery. The attack seemed to borrow heavily from 300, showing how tactics can out-fight the sheer weight of numbers. The army from Woodbury retreats.

Meanwhile, Andrea is trying to retrieve a pair of pliers from the floor so she can free herself from her tied chair. All the while that she's doing this, we see that the man who has just recently died in the room with her, is starting to turn into a zombie. It's a race against time and Andrea finally manages to free herself as the man turns. We hear a fight between them but don't see it. The assumption is that Andrea got out in time. Especially as she's still in the comic books that left the Woodbury storyline behind years ago.

Once The Governor catches up with his fleeing troupe, he executes them all for cowardice. Only one woman, who plays dead, survives.

One of the looters stumbles upon Carl, who is with Hershel and his daughter. The looter is about to give himself up but Carl shoots him anyway. Later on, Hershel tells Rick what Carl has done. Carl justifies his actions by saying that if other people had been so ruthless then a lot of deaths would have been prevented. This world is turning Carl into something that doesn't sit right with his father.

After the Governor has gone, Rick, Daryl, and Michone, head to Woodbury to finish things. On the way they find all the people that the Governor has killed, and the survivor. When they arrive at Woodbury, the survivor gets them in and The Governor still hasn't returned. This is where we find that Andrea was bitten in the fight with the zombie. She takes a gun from Michone and says that all she wanted to do was save lives. She then kills herself.

The episode ends with Rick bringing all of the people from Woodbury back to the prison. All of the women, children, and injured people. Carl seems confused by the act of compassion as he watches the people get off the bus. Roll credits.

Andrea dying came as a huge shock. After seeing her have sex with both Shane and The Governor, I suppose that it was the only thing they could do to redeem that character. Maybe Robert Kirkman recognised how annoying she was and could see that there was no saving her. I like that the show deviates from the comics so much. It makes the experience more exciting to not know what's coming. Like in the comics, anyone can die at any point.

This episode also showed that Rick has a heart. It was a real turning point for him. Carl killing the member of The Governor's gang reminded Rick that he had a little boy to be a role model for. We saw a moment with Michone and him where he appologised. He also confessed that he only took her in because of the baby food that she was carrying. Michone said that he would have taken her in anyway. His hallucinations of Lori continued but he's learning to live with them now. It seemed that he was stepping out of the long dark tunnel that he's been lost in for most of the series, and is becoming the compassionate leader that he has the potential to be.

I would have liked to see something else happening with The Governor. I was hoping that he would die in this episode and my worry is that the next series will drag out a storyline that could have been wrapped up in this one. Maybe the prison was an expensive set and they want to use it some more.

Overall this was a good series. It suffered at points for being a little too slow. This is a complaint I would also level at the comics. However, what Kirkman always does is gives you enough to keep you coming back. Also, when he delivers the big moments, the knock you on your arse.

Roll on season 4.