Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In Which I Talk About Zombies, Which Have Been Occupying My Brain Lately (haha)

[NOTE: If this post isn't as comprehensive or as well-thought-out/written as it should be, I apologize. I'm leaving tomorrow evening to spend a month studying in England, and my brain is all over the place. And yes, I will be trying to blog a lot while I'm there.]

So about two years ago (WHOA really?!), I posted about Exile, a web series about zombies and such. I enjoyed it a lot and was pretty excited about it, partly because it was nice to see a good zombie story in a year when garbage like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies was so popular. The zombie craze is still going strong in 2012, and Exile came back in April with Arc II: The Family You Choose and its three issues.
If you decide to take this time now to just watch Exile yourself and then come back to read this, go ahead and watch it HERE. Episodes are usually between 10-20 minutes long.

I'll try not to give spoilers to those who haven't seen Arc I, but Arc II picks up where Arc I left off, with main protagonist Charles leaving the city where he'd previously been holed up in an abandoned theater with a pack of other survivors. He's not leaving the zombies behind in the city, as they're everywhere, but Charles is one of those survivors who can take care of themselves and doesn't really need a group. Also, considering what happened between him and the other group--he's probably not a guy who should be in a group at all. However, he does run into a new gang of survivors, who aren't quite the average-Joe-who-survive-the-zombie-apocalypse-by-mere-luck types that made up the movie theater group, but rather the kind of people you meet in real life who you just know would survive any apocalypse because they're just that crazy/badass. This means more rural camp survival business than the urban survival of the previous arc, which is somehow even scarier. (Zombies coming at you from all sides in a forest is just worse than zombies on the streets--there is NOWHERE to run.)

Things needed to survive when the zombie apocalypse comes: Cool jackets and hats, intense tattoo sleeves, and lots of attitude. Oh yeah and guns. So throw away unnecessary items now, while you can. No one survives the apocalypse in PINK sweatpants or wedge heels so forget about all that.

Arc I had much of its value in its very human interactions (Charles and Jenny's growing relationship; the interviews with survivors) and Arc II is much the same, but with a lot less cuteness and humor. Rather, what I liked most in Arc II was seeing how much scarier than zombies humans can actually be. We saw a bit of that in Arc I with the cowardice and selfishness of some survivors, but Arc II shows how sadly humans don't just not always stick together in times of trouble, but will even try to destroy each other. There wasn't much positivity or a whole lot of hope, but I found myself enjoying the negativity (there's time for hope in other arcs, I'm sure). The characters were not always as likable as Arc I characters, but they definitely intrigued me (particularly Tali and Julian).

Another aspect I enjoyed was the visuals in general--I loved little props and character things, like Julian's drinking tea from a china cup and saucer in the midst of everything, I loved each characters' distinct clothing, and there were some shots that were just so good I had to screencap.

Charles--bloodstained and smoking a cigarette while wearing a cool hat. I actually had about five screencaps; this was my favorite.

All in all, Arc II is a lot more confusing than Arc I, but a lot darker and scarier. Exile in general doesn't go out of its way to explain itself, but leaves the job of figuring everything out to you, so while Arc II definitely answers some questions (how did zombies even come about??) it brings up even more questions. My number one question is when is Arc III coming out? Do we have to wait another two years?

[NOTE 2: I suppose it is appropriate, when talking about zombie apocalypses in 2012, to mention The Walking Dead. I know what it is and am currently in the middle of watching it...maybe will post about it in July, when I have time to finish out Season 2.]