Friday, February 3. 2017
The Girl With All The Gifts sets itself up early on as a modern retelling of the Pandora story, opening the box and letting the evils of the world out while hope remains in the box.
That might seem an odd thing for a movie that, simultaneously, looks like a fairly standard zombie flick, with fast (but not super-fast) zombies, albeit zombies that are created by a fungal infection and there are scientists working desperately for a vaccine against the infection. Later on in the story they discover the next stage, a sort of giant stalk growing up the BT Tower that requires a forest fire to crack the spore pods and spread the infection. For those of you that completely dismiss this, read about the so-called zombie ants Ophiocordyceps unilateralis and there are numerous species that require a forest fire to spread their seeds and reproduce. While it’s firmly science fiction it’s not totally bizarro-world made up nonsense.
The film works comfortably with its zombie movie tropes but adding the extra mix of the Pandora story, even though sometimes it’s quite deeply hidden under the zombie flick, gives it some unexpected twists and turns.
The same can be said of the characters. Most of the characters, when you meet them, you (well certainly I) categorise into zombie-movie archetypes quickly and easily. The film doesn’t subvert all of them, but it does enough to humanise them all which effectively subverts some of them, and nicely subverts some of the others in other ways.
If you don’t like zombie movies you really won’t like this: although it’s a twist on the genre, its roots are firmly there. If you do, I would suggest it’s a fun hour and 45 minutes and the twists raise it above the run of the mill.
Bechdel test: Yes, easily. There are lots of named female characters and any of them that survive for any length of time have conversations. None of them are about boys. One of them is about Schrodinger’s Cat for example.
Russo test: No. Really only a few characters talk about sex and sexuality - a couple of squadies perv over Miss Justineau (Gemma Arteton) - despite this being the least obviously sexy outfit I’ve ever seen her in - and Sgt. Parks reveals he was married and his wife was pregnant when the zombie fungus hit. But, since there are three obviously straight characters I’m going to say that’s a No. (Even if one of the squadies was a woman, it would only be a partial pass as both the squadies were definitely in that zombie movie archetype of red-shirt.)
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