Demons, Grim Reapers, and Zombies?
Why didn’t I watch this sooner?
I’m wondering how much they paid in royalties for Titanic for this one? Pride and Prejudice got a zombie version and this one is definitely Titanic with Zombies. Not that I’m complaining. There’s an absolute delight at seeing our favourite characters cutting loose and not taking it all so seriously. And believe me, you can’t take this one seriously. Where Book of Murder took a more measured tone as it built its atmosphere, Book of Atlantic goes for sheer spectacle and entertainment.
I will admit, a good choice was to leave the other Phantomhive servants on the short so once they boarded the ship we only had Sebastian and Snake at hand (definitely the A Team when it comes to those who work for Ciel). Lizzy and her family were also onboard for an unrelated matter and we also came across familiar faces such as Grell, Knox, Undertaker and Grey as well as the always creepy in a different sense Druitt.
With the players in place the story unfolds as Ciel is investigating a Doctor who claims to be able to bring the dead back to life and for whatever reason is demonstrating this on the ship. Naturally he succeeds but the end result is a ravenous zombie that promptly bites the grieving mother. Still, this isn’t about a mass infection but rather there was a whole cargo hold of bodies being transported, again for reasons unclear and not really necessary to know because this story isn’t taking itself seriously enough for that to matter.
The Grim Reapers are involved because dead people who have had their soul collected are kind of supposed to stay dead and apparently it is a great affront when the dead start walking. So you would think the Repears and Ciel’s group would be getting along except of course the Reapers want Sebastian to stay out of it and Ciel, being Ciel is pretty determined to have the final say.
And so the story unfolds with a lot of ridiculous cutlery vs lawn-mower and chain-saw action as Sebastian clashes with the Reapers.
All of it is highly entertaining, even if the story does take a pause long enough for Grell and Knox to ripoff the Jack and Rose moment at the prow of the ship.
However, the all-star award goes to Lizzy who despite her determination to be a cute girl is forced into a situation where she finally has to reveal that the scared little blonde girl act really is just an act. All this means is Ciel may be the most helpless in the room but even he gets a bit more direct action than normal taking a gun to multiple zombies. This is certainly a bit more action focused than we’ve seen these members of the cast before but given the circumstances it works well.
I’d also like to say that Undertaker entirely steals the final act and it is brilliant. A character who has been on the edge of things throughout the other series and arcs now takes centre stage and the results are nothing short of brilliant. That said, I’m going to leave that conversation here because otherwise it just plunges us straight into climax spoilers and I really think you should just watch the movie.
The sound is, as usual for Black Butler, spot on. I watched the Japanese version with English subs because I still can’t get used to Sebastian’s English voice (it isn’t bad but I just don’t match that voice with Sebastian and the Japanese voice is brilliant). All of the characters do a solid job though Grell might be a little too subdued at times.
Visually I wasn’t that impressed at times with this. Exterior shots of the boat and the mass of zombie hordes at times seemed very basic and while the characters are beautifully detailed, backgrounds and the like don’t really give off the sense of luxury that you would expect from the setting here. That is probably the biggest complaint I have about this movie is that while if this was an individual episode it would be fine, for a movie I expected a little bit more effort on the visuals.
All and all though, if you are a Black Butler fan, this movie gives you more Black Butler, some of the best characters, some great fight sequences, and some solid character moments. It is a zombie story to be sure, but a zombie story told only the way Black Butler could do it.
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