Friday, June 19, 2009

Pulse 2

Although I am in the minority, I kind of enjoyed the 2006 American re-make of Pulse. It was spooky, visually striking, and starred Kristin Bell. (Note to filmmakers seeking the all-powerful Dead In The South endorsement: You will always get better marks for having Kristin Bell in your cast. You should know this anyway, but if you don’t, there you are.) I was intrigued when I discovered the story had been continued (sort-of) in two sequels, the first of which is the imaginatively titled Pulse 2.

The most recognizable actor in the second installment is Jamie Bamber, best known for playing the spoiled, petulant Apollo on Battlestar Galactica. He’s pretty much the same character here. The movie is set in the post-apocalyptic world after the events of the first movie, although few of the characters display much understanding of what’s going on. To recap: Dead souls have re-entered our world through electronic technology, and suck the lifeforce from the living, who continue on a bit before their body turns into a pile of carbon and collapses, while their spirit joins the revenants. The plot such as it is concerns Bamber’s attempt to find his daughter and bring her back to his technology-free safe haven,

This is presented with dreadfully slow pacing. At one point, a character cleans her apartment, and it is shown in excruciating detail, practically in real time. At no point is the viewer ever made to care what happens to either Bamber or his daughter, so it’s tough sledding. More intriguing subplot ideas, such as the fact that some of the ghosts don’t seem to realize they are dead, and fear the living, sweep right on by. They do throw in the obligatory naked-for-no-reason woman halfway through to keep the male viewer paying attention.

There is also an example of one of those irritating incidents where the only way to advance the plot is to have a character do something so stupid no one would ever do it in real life. Halfway through, Bamber returns home with his daughter. “Thank God.” I thought. “At least it’s short.” Now Bamber knows two things: 1) The revenants can reach you through electronics, and 2) His ex-wife has become one of them. What does he do? He fires up the old laptop, and sends her an e-mail. This means he and the kid have to go on the run again, and leads to the death of at least two other characters who had the misfortune to know him.

There is also a Pulse 3, which I will get to as soon as I get the bad taste of this one out of my mouth. Hopefully, it will wrap things up.

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