Genres: Action, Horror,
Runtime: 93 minutes
Availability: DVD, 2Pack
DVD, Blu-ray, 3Pack
Review done by: Nightmare Child
Starring: Simon Baker, Asia Argento, Dennis Hopper, John Leguizamo,
Directed by: George Romero
Story: In a modern-day world where the walking dead roam an uninhabited
wasteland, the living try to lead "normal" lives behind the walls of a fortified
city. A new society has been built by a handful of enterprising, ruthless
opportunists, who live in the towers of a skyscraper, high above the hard-
scrabble existence on the streets below. But outside the city walls, an army
of the dead is evolving. Inside, anarchy is on the rise. With the very survival
of the city at stake, a group of hardened mercenaries is called into action to
protect the living from an army of the dead.
I started writing this review back in 2005 when it first came out in theatres. I
was very excited to see it, and I'm glad that I did because I had fun with my
friends seeing it. We all had a blast. Even though I already wrote about my
feelings toward the movie, I always wanted to go back and re-write it if they
ever released an Unrated version on DVD. It took me a few years, but I've
finally achieved this. I decided to go back and watch the movie again on DVD
to see if anything has changed since I last saw it. Surprisingly I still feel the
same. Even when I saw the film in theatres I knew that it was chopped up for
the R rating. Knowing Romero and his hardcore vision, he wouldn't cut back
unless there was a reason for it. Luckily fans get the full treatment on DVD
and with some added materials to keep you going back.
George Romero is the man who changed the way we look at zombies. In
1968, he scared audiences with his directorial debut. The horror classic
known to all as Night of the Living Dead. It's been more than ten years since
he made a zombie movie. Land of the Dead marks Romero's return to the
genre which he created. After releasing the sequels Dawn of the Dead and
Day of the Dead, horror fans have anticipated Romero's next zombie film.
The most noticeable thing about Romero's zombie films is that they're made
a decade apart with the story reflecting the political situation of that era.
Land of the Dead is no different and feels like a welcome edition to the long
running series. The question is how does it stack up to the others?
Land of the Dead is a modern day story that acts as a continuation of the
other films in which the zombies have taken over most of the world. The
dead walk the wastelands while the living live behind barb wired electric fences
to keep themselves safe from the zombie threat. The rich civilians are living
"normal" lives (while ignoring the threats from outside) in a giant building
called Fiddlers Green. The unfortunate poor live out in cold streets and well,
you get the picture. The threat from outside gets worst as the zombies begin
to learn and decide to head out into the big city for revenge and food. The
central focus on the zombies are pretty much the same thing we saw in Day
of the Dead. This time we get to see zombie progress further with their
knowledge as they lead their own troops into the city.
Day of the Dead shows us that zombies are able to learn. Sure they're still
slow and clunky at times, but now they pose as a much larger threat.
Romero does something new with the idea of zombies actually fighting back
and learning from a mentor. The zombies learn how to communicate and also
start to use tools more often. They even defend each other during battle.
From this knowledge they become more violent and efficient killers. Some
may like the idea and some may not - keep in mind that its been done in the
previous film and it doesn't go over the top. The zombies don't run (thank
God). They don't speak English and they aren't professional swimmers. I
think that type of nonsense should be left for films like House of the Dead.
Now that's one film I don't ever want to see again.
Each of Romero's zombie films have a different tone and feel to them. None
of Romero's films are the same, so it's no surprise that this film is different
from his previous stuff. Have no fear, some of the old stuff is still there. The
violence is great, the character development is right on and the humor was
worked well. I loved the cast and the characters they portrayed. Once again
Romero focuses alot on the characters and their relationships with each
other. The characters in the movie are lovable. Each person brings something
different to the screen. I thought the film was also very well written. The
character relationships and overall humor should be enough to keep the
audience entertained. As if the intense violence wasn't good enough. If you're
worried about the amount of violence the film may lack, don't. If you pick up
the Unrated DVD you'll never have that problem. The full cut of Land of the
Dead is really gory.
The bites, the flesh eating and of course the well known head shots are all
there. Romero finds new ways for the zombies to kill humans and vice versa.
I will admit the film isn't as graphic Day of the Dead, but it's still there and
right in your face. Seeing zombies rip apart flesh and eating it never gets old.
Overall I enjoyed the movie - however it's not perfect. Most of my complaints
come from the special effect department. The practical KNB effects are grizzly
and realistic - however the usage of CGI was very poor. You can tell when a
film has great CGI when you don't even notice it. In this movie it's clearly
noticeable and sort of distracts you from the experience. This isn't the first
zombie film to include computer effects, but it was still pretty bad.
Computers and George Romero don't really mix well together. Luckily the
rest of the movie doesn't share the same problem. It's fun to watch all the
way through. I had a good time sitting down and watching it in the theatre.
It's even better at home with friends eating a giant bowl of popcorn. I love
zombie movies - even the new ones they have today. I know alot of people
were bothered by the idea of zombies learning and I can see why. With the
word "zombie" you get the impression that they're just a bunch of slow and
mindless ghouls walking around trying to eat people. Romero decided to
make these creature evolve back in 1985 and then grow some more in 2005.
I like the idea of zombies learning. It's actually makes them more interesting
(and deadly). It digs more into the theories of Dr. Logan (the "Doctor
Frankenstein" character from Day of the Dead) who tried to train the undead
into cooperating with mankind. So was this film worth the twenty year wait? I
think so. I enjoyed Romero’s previous zombie films and I think Land of the
Dead is for the hardcore viewer. Genre fans will get a kick out of it. If you're
not a fan of the learning zombies then you wont like it as much.
The best part of the DVD (aside from the black and white intro) are the
bonus features. There's a making of featurette which gives you a backstage
look at the making of the film (including the special effects department). In
the features you go backstage with actor Puerto Rican actor John Leguizamo
and the KNB FX crew. There's also some features on the computer effects as
well as interviews with the actors. My favorite feature is with Simon Pegg and
Edgar Wright (the duo who brought us Shaun of the Dead) who get to meet
George Romero in person. We also get an extended look at their cameo in
the movie. The interview with Dennis Hopper (who serves as the "villain" in
the picture) really stood out the most. I loved how Hopper explained his role
in the movie. If you don't already have Land of the Dead in you collection,
now is the time to do so. If you're really hardcore, get it on Blu-ray.
Online since: February 20th, 2006