LAND OF THE DEAD
Directed & written by George A. Romero
Produced by Mark Canton, Peter Grunwald & Bernie Goldman
Cinematography by Miroslaw Baszak
Music by Reinhold Heil & Johnny Klimek
Cast: Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Robert Joy & John Leguizamo
2.35:1 anamorphic/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Universal DVD
Its 2005 and the dead are still roaming the earth...
The war between the humans and the living dead is still going on. While some of the humans lives in "Fiddler's Green," a luxury tower "protected" from the outiside world, the zombies have learned to communicate. Soon the "final" battle will take place.
George A. Romero's living dead serie has always been my all time favorite horror serie. For me, NIGHT OF THE LIVING is the ultimate horror film. The scariest, most effective and realistic horror film of our time. When it was made it revolutionized the genre, it is the movie that separated the classic and the modern year of horror. I've always had a very critical eyes for movie, and NIGHT is one of the very few movies that I truely believe deserved a perfect 10.
Came DAWN OF THE DEAD in the 1978. I was too young to see it in theater but I would see it on the big screen years later along with NIGHT. Along with THE EXORCIST and HALLOWEEN, DAWN was the most important genre film of the 1970s. It began the zombie craze that gave us so many good, and bad, flesh eating flicks.
1985's DAY OF THE DEAD was a major letdown for most horror fans but not for me. The movie had it all, tension, gore, good story telling, interesting characters and an apocalyptic feel. Its also interesting to note that since the first DVD release of DAY OF THE DEAD by Anchor Bay in North America, the movie has finally gained respect from the fans.
Now 20 years later... George A. Romero is back with LAND OF THE DEAD. I still wish he would have done one in the 90s... called TWILIGHT OF THE DEAD like we all dreamed of but better late then never. Waiting 20 years... the last movie I almost waited that long to see was STAR WARS EPISODE I THE PHANTOM MENACE and it turned out a huge letdown. Sure we had the Tom Savini directed NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD remake in 1990 but it wasn't as good as the original, the whole 'Ripley' bad ass girl thing killed it for me.
Well LAND OF THE DEAD isn't a perfect movie... but in today's horror-lite age it sure delivers the goods! It is worthwhile of the living dead serie. Plenty of blood, gore, zombies and social comments on the decay of the present society. I loved how Romero in just two minutes clearly "explained" how the separation between today's everyday people (us) and the people up there (the 8 millions making millions to be exact) is huge and intolerable.
Also I was surprised on how much Romero was able to have us almost cheering for the zombies, Big Daddy was awesome! Emotions and feelings you could feel underneath all his make-up... shit most big Hollywood actors/actress aren't even that good! Yeah I'm talking about you Nicolas Cage and co.
The amazing fx by KNB were pretty gruesome, thank you! Lots of bone and cut chewing, lotta shots to the head... and a few cg ones that looked ok, just ok. I've never been a fan of her but Asia Argento was actually pretty good in this one even though she does little. Simon Baker and John Leguizamo were good too and Dennis Hopper was.... well Hopper!
Thanks to the highly successful and adrenaline driven 2004 remake of Romero's 1978 classic DAWN OF THE DEAD, Universal greenlighted this 20 years in the waiting sequel to what is certainly the most respected and well crafted horror serie. Unfortunately, unlike the DAWN remake, LAND OF THE DEAD didn't really take off at the box office so the possiblity is any sequels is very unlikely... then again we had to wait 20 years for LAND so nothing is impossible. My main complain about LOTD is that its ends on a rather strange note, too much open and happy for me but we pretty much got the same vibe in DAWN OF THE DEAD and DAY OF THE DEAD. To this day, Romero still hasn't top his great achivement in the genre, the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. And Romero spend too much time on that ROAD WARRIOR type truck called Dead Reckoning.
Universal released this movie on DVD in two version, for this review we watched the Unrated Director's Cut which is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and it is anamorphic. The image looks simply amazing, there is really no complains I can make about how good this film looks! Its a pristine, sharp and perfect transfer. We get the choice of two English audio tracks, one in DTS and the other in 5.1 Dolby Digital. Both deliver the goods but the DTS track makes better use of the whole directional capabilities of your home theater system. English, Spanish and French subtitles are available.
"Undead Again The Making of LAND OF THE DEAD" is a cool featurette which takes a look at the shoot of the movie, Romero and the cast. We get lots of zombies close-up which is always appreciated by us the die hard fans! There's also an "extensive" look at the water scene from the film. In "A day with the living dead", actor John Leguizamo take us behind-the-scenes on the movie, it sure looks like he had a lot of fun being in it. "Bringing the dead to life" take a look at the gruesome fx created by Greg of KNB. We even get to see their shop and how they work, very neat... and bloody! We get a bunch of deleted scenes in "The Remaining Bits".
There is also a very interesting commentary track with George A. Romero, producer Peter Grunwald and editor Michael Doherty. In "When Shaun met George" we follow the star and writer of SHAUN OF THE DEAD on the set of LOTD. "Scenes of carnage" is a montage of some of the goriest scnes in the film. We also get a green screen to final film comparaison There's also a comparaison of the final film and storyboards, a rather stranger Michael Jackson's Thriller type dance with computer generated zombies, trailers for the upcoming LAND OF THE DEAD videogame, UNLEASHED, SKELETEON KEY and the fourth AMERICAN PIE... but where is the trailer for the feature movie? The movie is separated in 21 chapters, features nicely designed animated menus, comes in a keep case but features a special embossed paperboard package and with an inlay card with other Universal releases.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2005. ©