DAWN OF THE DEAD
Directed by Zack Snyder
Produced by Richard P. Rubinstein, Marc Abraham & Eric Newman
Written by James Gunn
Based on a story by George A. Romero
Cinematography by Matthew F. Leonetti
Music by Tyler Bates
Cast: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer & Inna Korobkina
2004/110 mins/Color/5.1 Dolby Digital
2.35:1 anamorphic/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Universal DVD
After a long day at work, Ana (Sarah Polley) returns home to her husband. The next morning, things goes horribly wrong as the disfigured kid next door attack her boyfriend and takes a bite out of his neck! It doesn't take much time for him to die... but to wake up and attack her! She escapes through the bathroom's window and once outside find out that its just like the end of the world out there! Infected peoples who are supposed to be dead are running after the living, the city is in flames and no one really knows what to do.
Soon enough she meets Kenneth (Ving Rhames), a police officer along with three others who are about to take refuge in a shopping mall... sounds familiar?! Well this is the basis for the 2004 remake of George A. Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD. Like most of you out there, I despise remakes but sometimes... just sometimes they work. Check out the one for THE THING directed by John Carpenter and the one for THE FLY by David Cronenberg. DAWN OF THE DEAD is another one that works out great. It takes the idea of the original, puts it in today's settings, updates it and most importantly its a big budget, A-list cast, B-movie.
The makers of this remake are big genre fans and it shows! The cgi fx are kept to a strict minium, there's a gallons of blood, guts and gore done with prosthetics, body cast, head shots and exploding squids created by David LeRoy Anderson. Sure, gone are the social comments of the original, the claustrophibic atmosphere and amazing Goblin score but director Zack Snyder created one of the best genre remake of recent years... I know this might not be saying much for many of you but it is.
Also, how not to like a Hollywood movie where a hot Russian woman gives birth to a zombie baby, a creepy Johnny Cash song is used for the amazing credit scene (great work by Kyle Cooper) and more importantly it helped Romero finally getting money to do his fourth film, LAND OF THE DEAD. The film also includes some of the cast of the original like Tom Savini and Ken Foree, a Gaylen Ross store and more.
DAWN OF THE DEAD crawls his way to DVD thanks to Universal. The transfer is exactly what you would expect from a new film by a major. The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and it is enhanced for 16x9. The image looks simply great with rich, vibrant and perfectly saturated colors. The blacks and reds are stunning. There is no artifacts or compression but some dirt and spots from time to time. We get the choice of three equally amazing audio tracks all in 5.1 Dolby Digital, one in French, the other in Spanish and the original English track. The English track was fully tested and its loud and clear with nice separation and directional sound fx. This is the Unrated version which features 11 more minutes within the film. We get more characters developement, some extended scenes and yes more blood and gore!
This is yet another disc loaded with extras, first of all there's the necessary commentary track. This one features first time director Zack Snyder and producer Eric Newman who are both really having fun doing it. Its interesting and cool to hear someone so happy about the final result. There's also an optional intro to the film by Snyder. 'Andy's Terrifying Last Days Revealed' is 16 minutes of "home video" footage Andy's character... well last days. Not that interesting and worth watching maybe once. 'Special News Report' is a rather long false 21 minutes tv report about the events surrounding what's happening in the film. It features some very second rate acting which makes the whole thing a riot or a pain to sit through. 'Undead Scenes' is 12 minutes of deleted scenes with or without optional commentary by the director. 'Raising The Dead' is an 8 minutes featurette on how the zombies were created while 'Attack of the Living Dead' takes a look at how six key zombies in the film were created. In 'Splitting headaches: Anatomy of Exploding Heads' we see how the very cool head shots and explosions were created for the movie. We also get some DVD-ROM contents but there's no trailer or teaser... a shame! The menus are very stylish and nicely designed with music and morphing. The movie is separated in 20 chapters, comes in a keep case along with an inlay card about other releases from Universal. DAWN OF THE DEAD was also released in a Pan & Scan version Unrated along with a Widescreen and Pan & Scan rated version (the theatrical one). In the end, even if this is not as good as the 1978 original, which got an amazing four discs set release by Anchor Bay a few months ago, this is still way better then most movie coming out here!
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©