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21 February 2009 @ 06:51 pm
Dead Like Me - Life after Death Review  
Non Spoiler Review:

It was a bit too rushed; the movie should have been expanded to about 2 hours, and a few plot threads should have been dropped; as it is; events seemed remarkably rushed, compared to the series -- e.g. things that would have developed over a pair of episodes happen in like 15-20 minutes in the movie.

Spoiler Discussion Below the Link

Cameron: While I can understand what the writers were trying to do with the guy, events seemed a bit rushed; as it is; it seems that the Reap Crew decides to get rid of Cameron after a day or two of reaping under him. They should have shown the gang getting sloppier and lazier over about a week or so of reaping, and things getting really really really bad, before they decided to Return to Sender Cameron.

No Post-Its! The Post-Its delivered via Treo was a nice nod to "modernity" but it removed a core factor of the show -- the fact that you had to show up at Der Waffle Haus to get your post-its for that day's reaping provided a nice way of telling time on the series; you knew it was another day when Rube handed out the post-its. Without that, it's very hard to show the passage of time.

Roxy going Lazy: While I can understand Mason being Mason, and Daisy tripping the star of the show down the stairs to get her big chance, Roxy's change is a bit harder to fathom. She's the "straight and narrow" type in the Reap Crew, next to Rube; so why does she just throw all caution to the wind? I think it may have been the fact that she's been a police officer for about 3-4 years by now; and when you combine that with her job as a Grim Reaper; -- promotions from Patrolman Third Class to Sergeant don't come along very fast if you always have a knack for showing up 5 minutes after someone's been knifed to death.

However, saving that person from being knifed to death gets you noticed by the Powers That Be in the Police Department. "Patrolman Roxy managed to talk down a sucidal person from killing themselves! She's leadership material, give her a medal and a promotion!"

Happy Time: While it was good to see Happy Time again, I miss the old cubicle farm. As I had Fox Mulder say in Psychopomp about Happy Time: “Scully, I think I may have found something worse than Hell.”

UnGeorge: I miss UnGeorge's actor from the show.

Reggie: I checked up on IMDB, and surprise; the same actress plays Reggie in both the TV series and movie! It just goes to show how fast kids grow up between 11-12 and 15-16.

At first, it threw me as to why The Powers That Be didn't make George forget the stories she was telling Reggie. Then a day or so later, I realized why. Reggie was threatening to jump out of the car unless George said who she was -- one of the core components of Reaperdom is that you cannot interfere with the living world to a meaningful extent; you can't go around directly causing people's deaths. Hence if George hadn't told the truth; most likely Reggie would have jumped out of the car; and quite possibly died; and she wasn't scheduled to die for god knows how long. So the powers that be had to let that rule about taking people's memories slide; and fall back on their failsafe -- If you succeed in telling someone who you really are without forgetting the stories, that person will be convinced they are crazy, or others will think they're crazy.

If Reggie was going to get her dead sister back, she would have to let go of her grip on reality.

I also get the feeling that there was a scene or two that was cut out where George tells Reggie exactly what a Grim Reaper does; because otherwise, how would she know if she touches Hudson, he dies? Or is that inferred by the name "Grim Reaper"?

Finally, at the endish of the show; we truly do get Reggie the Weird back! YES!

"Except George isn't in it.....I always knew that she was around........And yesterday I met her."

You can see Joy going "wtf" and mentally figuring out how to get Reggie committed.

Killing a Reaper Mason going "Guys, can we stop fucking around now?" and getting out the chainsaw was hilarious, and it made me wonder if Grim Reapers are responsible for some of the mythology surrounding vampires; e.g. you have to cut off their heads to kill them; fits in with dismembering Cameron...

All in All A good movie that continues the series, if you remember that it's now three years since the end of the show; and that three seasons' worth of episodes happened "off camera", especially in the case of Reggie, who seemed to have put her idea that George is still around to the back of her mind, rather than it being at the forefront, like it was during the show -- she's got other things to worry about, like boys, etc.

There certainly is much fanfic fodder in this one, if you can read between the lines enough -- like at what point did Reggie become smart enough to hide her belief that George was still around from her parents and shrinks? What else did Reggie and George talk about? Whatever the hell happened to Rube and Der Waffle Haus? I get the feeling that somehow Cameron was behind that....
grissomrox on February 22nd, 2009 03:16 am (UTC)

I had such high hopes for this movie, which in retrospect was probably not the smartest move on my part. Alas, it fell short, very short for me.

I absolutely agree on the "everything was rushed' sort of idea, and what the hell was going on with Kane? Gah!

The end was pretty wide open though...is there any word on the possibility of the show restarting?

I miss Rube!
Stephdreams_power on March 1st, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
I thought the movie wasn't too bad. Rushed yes, the new Daisy was annoying, and I missed Rube's rants; but overall I think they did a good job with the time they had to update and expand on years of episodes. People may have become slightly caricatured though.

It was nice to see the show come back a little though.
Zircon: george/rubethisiszircon on March 2nd, 2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
Can't disagree with too much above.

Interesting interpretation on the 'why isn't George losing memories?' question. Ah, the fun of spinning canon inconsistencies!

The pace, as you say, was very off.

I quite liked the way that, in the absence of Rube, George was the only reaper who was still trying to do a proper job. But having Roxy turn to the dark and frivolous side needed to be earned -- perhaps with establishing some mounting disappointments in her life. Possibly partly in reaction to the loss of Rube. A lashing out at upper management maybe?

I didn't like new!Daisy. I just didn't believe in her as a character the way I did the old. In the series, when Mason's tongue hung out after Daisy, and when she said things like 'I'm really, really pretty!' it all made sense. When movie!Daisy said 'my incredible beauty' I just didn't buy it. But maybe Sarah Wynter just isn't my type. It also seemed a bit cheap to me to have Daisy gain the chance to act, then to blow it so utterly. The Daisy from the series would have put in the effort of learning lines, even if she wasn't actually capable of performing them very well. It seemed that a fast and obvious joke was preferred to keeping the character consistent.

Still, on the whole, in spite of the necessary 20 minute recap of the premise at the beginning, and the frequent cases of 'I've heard that before!' for George's commentary, I thought the movie was a fair piece of work. It was great to see the gang again. The piece had some genuinely funny moments, some quite touching ones, and I can't argue with the central theme -- without Rube it all falls apart.

Ahh, Rube. Which brings me to the very best moment. Post-it shower! Which I personally translated as:

George/Rube = CANON

Because nothing says 'I love you' like little yellow squares falling from the sky.

Look, nobody said I had to be objective...
(Deleted comment)
thomaspower on March 3rd, 2009 07:26 am (UTC)
Because nothing says 'I love you' like little yellow squares falling from the sky.

my first thought was "YES!!!! HE'S COMING BACK!", and that George's comment of "I'm sooooo fucked" meant that she was gonna have to explain how things got this fucked up.
Zircon: dead like methisiszircon on March 3rd, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
Yep, I think that was definitely implied. I also think it was implied that George was potentially in line for the role of 'head reaper', and the 'I'm so fucked' remark fits with that.

But it seems to me that the use of Post-its was deliberate. 'Head-reaper' does not equal Post-its, it equals getting the list from the messenger. Choosing which way you distribute the information is up to the boss, as we saw with Cameron and his smartphones. So I can't imagine that the use of Post-its, specifically, was intended to do anything other than reference Rube.

I think there's a nice opening for his return there. I also think there's an ambiguity about it. Rube could come back in his former role, or he could come back as some more personal consultant/advisor to George-the-new-boss.

Or I could just sit here and think of a hundred other ways in which Rube could return that are Never Gonna Happen but would be lovely...

BTW -- why did comic-book!Rube look so absurdly NOT like Mandy Patinkin? You'd have thought a vague resemblance would have been fitting.