View Full Version : NFBT: GazReview: "Land of the Dead"

07-08-2005, 09:29 AM
“Day of the Dead” stunk, “28 Days” updated the genre, “Shaun of the Dead” gloriously skewered the genre and the “Dawn of the Dead” remake surpassed Romero’s original in every way. Although I revered him for creating the genre, I though George Romero was finis.


Someone finally gave George some money to spend on his zombies. And it shows. “Land of the Dead” lacks the home-made feel of the first [3] outings, but it makes up for it with a polished, tense movie. It even manages to generate some, well maybe not sympathy, but at least empathy with the living dead.

As is usually the case in a Romero zombie flick, “Land of the Dead” is graphically gruesome, with blood, gore, guts and veins in your teeth. Be warned: the “Dawn of the Dead” remake was relatively light on the “in your face gore” front. “Land of the Dead” takes glee in exposed intestines, severed fingers and great gobs of flesh torn from necks. For those who have not experienced Romero’s zombie movies, think “Kill Bill, Volume 1” without the sense of whimsy.

The plot is simple and straightforward. That makes sense because you know the whole point of the film is the moment when the zombies get to chow down on the hoity-toities living in the impregnable fortress.

The “haves Vs have-nots” scenario is pretty much what I would expect should the dead walk the Earth, but I thought Romero laid it on a bit TOO thick at times. Yes, we hate rich guys. Yes, the people living in squalor are morally and ethically superior. And yes, we really want to see the snobs taken down a notch [the “Caddyshack” syndrome]. But a bit of restraint on Romero’s part and just a smidgeon of humanity in the rich folks would have made it a better film, IMO.

I was disappointed that we did not learn more about the society that evolved in the land of the dead. Sure, the rich have sealed themselves off in ivory towers. But why is cash still so important? With the government apparently collapsed, what value do greenbacks really hold? This is an important point because the driving motivation behind the inevitable zombie munchfest is greed for cash. It did not enjoy the visceral enjoyment of the film at the time, but it is a nagging question when the lights come back up.

The acting is better than the originals. Goes to show what cash can do in the pre-zombie days. And the SFX are better [and redder]. And the idea that zombies are evolving adds a new twist. All in all, a very satisfying [albeit very gory] outing.

This one gets [3] Hoots. It falls just short of the maximum hootage because the overly-slanted “the rich suck” approach is just too ham-handed and actually distracted me from the story until the crunching and munching started. Although Dennis Hopper gets [4] Hoots for his performance. I was pulling for the zombies to get him.

This is not necessarily a Big Screen movie. It would probably be fine on DVD, unless you are a zombie-phile like me and cannot wait that long.

Feeling a bit peckish.