I'm so unqualified to write an unbiased 30 Days of Night review. My brother-in-law Dave and I happened to run into Grant Gould at the theater last night, so we all sat together. After the movie, Grant asked me what I thought and my only response was, "Perfect."
Dave pointed out some plot holes to me later and he has valid points, but I can't help but dismiss them. Maybe it's that I'm just really familiar with the 30 Days of Night story and filled in gaps based on what I knew from the comics. Maybe it's just that I was incredibly excited to see this movie after waiting five years for it and the giddiness hasn't worn off yet. Whatever it is, I'm still thinking the movie was pretty much perfect.
The only thing I missed from the comic was the scene at the end of the first issue when Eben and Stella look out over the ice fields and see the line of vampires advancing towards town. It's a great moment in the comic and I'm not sure why they left it out of the movie. They hint at it. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the moment is there; you just never get to see what Eben and Stella do at that moment.
Everything else was spot on. The comic's limited by its three-issue format and reads a little choppy in the original issues. It skips from the vampires' appearance at the end of #1 to almost the end of the 30 days as #2 opens. The trade collections fix that as much as possible by adding some extra story pages, but the movie is able to really dig in and explore the entire experience of being stuck up there in Barrow with all those vampires.
It also simplifies the plot a bit from the comic. The comic explains more about who the vampires are and why they're going to Barrow and has some extra characters. There's a group in New Orleans that knows what's going on and try to stop it, and there's some infighting amongst the vampires about whether or not all of this is a good idea. The movie takes that out and does a slick, smooth job of doing it so you never miss it, but I'm curious about what'll happen if there's a sequel.
Both the New Orleans group and the infighting lead to important elements in Dark Days (a movie that it sounds like Raimi would like to make), so it'll be interesting to see how a Dark Days movie solves the challenge of telling the story without them. It can be done and I've already worked out in my head how I would do it, but I'm curious to see how they do it. Dark Days is a more complex story than 30 Days of Night, so it'll require some thought to get it all right. Fortunately, this movie had no shortage of thoughtful people working on it, so I'm not fearful about a hypothetical sequel at all.
See how this isn't even a real review? I'm sorry about that, but I'm just way too deep into geek mode to think critically about it.