So, everybody’s been talking about Bird Box, raving or ranting about it and posting theories online since it came out. I chose to be a rebel and waited for the hype to die down a little bit before actually sitting down to see it on #Netflix. I must say that it was pretty solid but not to the level of the hype that it generated among its viewers.
Synopsis: Reluctant mother to be Malorie (Sandra Bullock) finds herself faced with the possibility of the end of the world a few weeks shy of giving birth to her unwanted child. A mysterious force, once seen, has been causing hallucinations that compel people to kill themselves. As a result, the very pregnant Malorie finds refuge in the company of other survivors. As supplies run low, they are forced to venture out into the wasteland that was their city to try and figure out how to survive the entity that preys on their biggest weaknesses.
Its natural for viewers to compare Bird Box to A Quiet Place, a surprise blockbuster which has received positive reviews last year because of the parallels in their stories. A Quiet Place dealt with an unknown element that immediately eliminated anyone at the hint of any sound while Bird Box victimized anyone who stepped outside without a blindfold. Both elements gave their victims the handicap of not being able to use a vital sense and both did not reveal what the enemy was until the final climax. In the case of Bird Box, it only left audiences to deduce for themselves what the victims saw before they committed suicide.
Bird Box got mixed reviews because of this comparison but I, for one, thought that the execution was on point. Nobody got too excited about the CGI and each scene was shot methodically and presented logically. I liked that the film used an alternating timeline. By jumping between the present timeline and that of five years ago, viewers were given an insight into Malorie’s journey, making them understand her actions a bit better. It also amped up the mystery of what people saw that made them want to die with each scene that followed.
However, Bird Box did not go out of its way to separate itself from similar movies in the genre. It followed the end of the world handbook religiously, adding nothing new to the table. It basically revolved around a group of characters who die off one by one either because of the entity or because of lapse of judgement, and how the very few survivors reach the end of the movie. Shoutout though to John Malkovich, who played paranoid alcoholic Douglas whose instincts were always on point despite him being a jackass about it. Moral lesson: Sometimes, you have to listen to the jerks because the softies and the goody two shoes are good for nothing when it comes to the end of the world.
Honestly, I wasn’t really very worried about Sandra Bullock throughout this film as much as I was about her two kids — Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair) and Boy (Julian Edwards) . Bullock survived in space alone and made it home alive. How could she fall prey to an unknown creature that compelled people to kill themselves? Seriously though, I liked her rapport with the two kids who are definitely acting gems in their own right. Vivien was brilliant as Girl. It broke my heart when her eyes expressed how hurt she was that she was less loved by Malorie. Julian, I was less impressed with but he pulled his own weight.
Unfortunately, when it was finally revealed that the brunt of the story was actually not fighting a secret enemy but was about Parenting 101, I must say, it was a bit of a downer for me. Imagine, rowing 48 hours straight and getting the living daylights scared out of you only to spark a conversation about open communication? It reminds me of M. Night Shyamalan’s not so effective twists in his colorful bio.
I did get a kick out of the leader of the sanctuary being named Rick though. I couldn’t help but run a ton of Walking Dead jokes in my head. Don’t worry though, there were no crossovers for Rick Grimes in Bird Box, no matter how hard you wish it.
All in all, I would describe Bird Box as a cross between an M. Night Shyamalan and a John Kransinki brainchild. I know you would agree once you’ve seen it. The vibe is too strong it is undeniable. Not too shabby, this thriller, and passing marks all around. I would disagree with anyone who will say that its all just hype though. Bird Box was pretty good on its own. Not the best, but still good.