Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Battery

Description from IMDB:
The personalities of two former baseball players clash as they traverse the rural back roads of a post-plague New England teeming with the undead.

My thoughts:
More than anything, this movie really made me think about the differences in personality and how they would mesh in a zombie-infested world.  Ben – a realist – is clearly unhinged, but he seems to be adapting quite well.  He even appears to be enjoying himself.
Mickey – an optimist – seems defeated by it all.  I felt that it was only a matter of time before Mickey died, most likely as the result of just giving up.
I could identify more with Ben, but I doubt I would ever do a lot of things he does.

These differences in the characters also manifested itself with Annie.  They happen to hear Annie over their walkie-talkies.  She lives in some kind of zombie-free community with a group of others (named “The Orchard”).  It’s a concept that’s not unfamiliar to anyone who has seen many zombie movies.  But we never actually see it here.  We hear Annie say things like, “It’s not what you think it is.”  I really loved the idea of throwing a familiar zombie trope like that in here but never actually showing it. 
It’s Ben & Mickey’s responses to that information that tell us about their characters.  After Annie tells them to leave it alone, Mickey is still obsessed.  He can’t stop thinking about it.  It’s a haven for him.  A place to sleep without having to worry about being attacked.  Somewhere he can stop running.  However, Ben just stops thinking about it.  He’s happy with his life.  He doesn’t need a safe zone.  He’s fine right where he is.

Seriously though, Ben is probably a psychopath. I don’t like that I identify with him.

I didn’t really like either of the two characters.  But maybe that was the point.  After all, they didn’t really seem to like each other, either (unless they’re drunk, which I may need to try).  When Mickey is trying to convince Annie to let him join their community, he gives up Ben without much thought.  “We were ballplayers.  He was a starting catcher.  I was out in the bullpen.  We never hung out in the same circles.  I hardly even know him.” 

Tale as old as time…

I suppose that’s what the real zombie apocalypse would be like.  We wouldn’t necessarily be traveling with our loved ones.  In a perfect world we would, but a zombie apocalypse doesn’t happen in a perfect world.  In the event of a real zombie apocalypse, we would be stuck with whoever we happened to be with at the time of the outbreak, and, eventually, whoever survived from that group.  That means you have a better chance of trying to survive with your annoying coworker rather than your loved ones.  The good news is that it would be easier to kill one of your co-survivors once they become infected.  The bad news is that you may want to off yourself before it gets to that point.

I’m torn as to whether I really liked this movie or not.  There were parts I really liked, but there were also a ton of extremely slow moments.  For instance, we watch them brush their teeth for a full minute.  While I understand that it’s a big deal for them (they probably haven’t brushed their teeth in a long time), I didn’t necessarily feel the need to watch the entire teeth-brushing process. 

That’s a problem that’s indicative of the entire movie.  It tends to linger on shots for too long.  And most of them are boring, run-of-the-mill shots in the first place.  Looking out the window while driving.  Sitting around in chairs.  There’s really not much going on throughout a lot of this movie, yet the camera lingers too long on most of it.  I’m not begging for action, but I tend to get tired of watching scene after scene where nothing happens, yet having the camera linger on each of the scenes.
While I understand this is most likely what it would be like to live in a zombie apocalypse (a little bit of action, but not a ton going on the majority of the time), that doesn’t mean I want to watch it.  When the apocalypse comes, I’ll deal with the minutiae of my own life.  I don’t necessarily need to live through someone else’s.

I also have some major problems with the end, but I don’t really want to get into spoilers here.  If I do end up getting into that, I’ll do it in a future post.  I’ve been wanting to get my “What Comes Next” series off the ground, anyway.

That’s not to say it was a completely boring movie.  There were a lot of slow moments, but there were also some really great scenes.  There is a fantastic scene in an apple orchard.  There’s no dialogue (a song plays the entire time), but it’s perfect.  Everything I would want in the event of a zombie apocalypse.  Running wild.  Having fun.  Doing anything you want to do, because there’s no one around to tell you that you can’t.  After watching these two guys bicker for the last hour, it’s good to see them having some fun and smashing the hell out of some rotten apples with a bat.  It’s an amazing scene.  And the music is terrific.
I was also a huge fan of the scene where they get drunk in their car.  Because apparently having fun during a zombie apocalypse is something that is appealing to me.

The more I think about it, the more I think I really like this.  It’s not perfect, but there’s far more good than bad here.  If you can get past the lingering camera shots, you’ll find there’s a lot to like here.  It’s something different, and I like that.  And the soundtrack is dynamite. 

For my final thought, I’ll turn to a quote by Ben:
“Don’t you think we got enough to worry about without having to worry about each other?”  The central question of every zombie movie, going back to Night of the Living Dead: who should we fear the most, zombies or humans?

Rating: 4/5

The Battery is currently available on VOD through iTunes, Amazon, Vudu and others.  Check the website.
Here’s the trailer:

Here are some extra posters that I enjoyed:

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