THE WALKING DEAD: THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The zombie apocalypse has happened. The dead walk the earth. Only a handful of human survives make a desperate life for themselves, trying to keep civilization alive. Sheriff Rick Grimes has woken up from being in the hospital to find himself in a world of the walking dead. He tries to find his wife and child, missing in the apocalyptic aftermath, and stumbles across other survivors and eventually some answers in the CDC.
WHAT I LIKED
Ever since Frank Darabont became attached to this graphic-novel-turned-TV-series, there’s been a lot of buzz in the online movie news and fanboy circuits. Not only does this show one of the first long-form adaptations of a popular graphic novel series, but it’s also the first zombie-themed series on television.
There are some fine elements in “The Walking Dead,” namely the production value, which is surprising and impressive for AMC, an otherwise basic station on basic cable. The series, which takes place in and around Atlanta, has great scope for television, and like its film predecessors “Dawn of the Dead” and “Zombieland,” “The Walking Dead” does a great job envisioning the zombie apocalypse.
When the zombies are in the picture, the show gets surprisingly gory. Sure, there’s an overuse of digital blood, which plagues Hollywood like herky-jerky camera moves and pervasive green screens, but for the most part, the kill sequences are fun and action-packed.
The acting is solid in this series as well, featuring fine television and film actors really throwing down for their roles.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I have two big problems with “The Walking Dead, which are common pitfalls in zombie films. First, I really don’t like the characters… any of them. While the acting is good, the people the actors are portraying are too flawed, to the point that I really don’t care when any of them become a zombie snack. Their motivation – like Grimes’ wife not just falling but stampeding into the arms of another man when she thought he was dead – are not the signs of good characters.
There’s also a bevy of stereotypes populating the apocalypse prison yard, from abusive husband to redneck racists with guns a-blazing. These bad characters lead to bad character decisions, like gathering together in the woods like some buffet for the undead.
I like a good human element in my zombie movies, but the human element in “The Walking Dead” was tiresome, cliche and boring. In the end, I found myself rooting for the zombies, and there weren’t enough of those guys in the episodes.
The two-disc Blu-ray includes the six episodes of the first season, plus a nice assortment of bonus features. Featurettes include “Making of Walking Dead,” “A Sneak Peek with Robert Kirkman,” “Behind-the-Scenes Zombie Make-up Tips,’ “Convention Panel with Producers” and an installment of “Inside The Walking Dead” for each episode.
Additional features include “The Walking Dead” trailer, a look at the actors’ “Zombie School,” a spotlight on “Bicycle Girl,” a look “Inside Dale’s RV,” plus on-set visits with writer Robert Kirkman and actors Steven Yeun and Andrew Lincoln.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Zombie lovers who can forgive some foibles to see a TV show about the undead.