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Alive 13

Land of the Dead

Directors Cut

DVD Review

        You like Disney? You almost cried when Bambi's mother got shot? 
        You couldn't watch Hitchocks "The Birds" without covering your 
        eyes? You jump if someone shouts "Buuh"? Well then you better 
        stop reading now, because then George A. Romero's "Land of the 
        Dead" is surely not the kind of movie you like to watch. You 
        never know when the next undead will jump from a closet or sneak 
        around the corner to give you a decent bite...

        The undead are "ruling the world" and the last human survivors
        are living in cities which have been fortified and improved to
        strongholds with electrical wiring, drawbridges, watchtowers and
        armoured outposts. The wealthy live in a sealed off skyscraper
        while the poor live in slums on the streets. The government of
        the humans is Romero's version of the Bush administration and
        pretty soon it gets clear that only one man - played by Dennis
        Hopper - holds all the power inside the city. While he is trying
        to keep his status and money an army of undead is gathering
        outside trying to force their way inside.

        Still looking good, that's about to change really soon... 

        Romero is said to be the one to invent the Zombie movie and 
        perhaps he is also the one to carry it a bit further. "Land of 
        the Dead" contains some really cool ideas how to make fun with 
        and out of Zombies. Also the realism on the Zombies itself as 
        well as the detail is absolutely stunning, and there is nothing 
        to complain about the special effects. Also the story is going 
        on quite well, never stopping always advancing at a steady pace. 
        Beside that I think it was a nice idea to use the main actor 
        from "Shaun of the Dead" to play one of the chained Zombies in 
        the bar, where you can get a photo of you and the zombie.

        So what's different? George A. Romero's new Zombies are looking
        very good, every detail is worked out quite well and they are
        starting to become a little bit intelligent. They won't get a
        Nobel Prize for sure but during the movie they learn to use
        tools as well as remove barricades and stuff. The beginning of
        this development is shown right at the start of the movie, when
        they begin to communicate with each other...

        Like in the previous Romero movies the Zombies move slowly, like 
        they are kind of stiff which gives you the usual zombie feeling, 
        this way they can also be targeted from the distance and this 
        adds a nice bit of blood and gore to the movie. Unfortunately 
        this also makes some of the scenes very hard to believe, since 
        even a child could outrun such a zombie. Only if the escaping 
        victims are trapped somewhere these zombies would have a chance 
        to get a bite. The remake of "Dawn of the Dead" is far more 
        frightening since these zombies are really quick, so if you plan 
        to watch several zombie movies at the same evening you better 
        watch "Land of the Dead" first because the other way around will 
        spoil this one.

        Just stay for a bite...

        Compared to the "Dawn of the Dead" remake I have to admit that
        Romero's movies have some connectional flaws. In Romero's movies
        dead people return as zombies even when they haven't been bitten
        previously, so he is still sticking to that ridiculous "when
        there is no more place in hell, the dead return to the earth"
        bullshit, which was used in the seventies to explain the sudden
        appearance of zombies. Well what I really liked in later
        attempts like "Dawn of the Dead", "28 Days Later" or the
        "Resident Evil" series is the fact that these movies come up
        with a reasonable explanation for the phenomenon, which is in
        all cases a virus. This seems to be the best possible way to
        explain why bitten people turn into zombies themselves while
        people dying of a "natural cause" stay dead. It also adds a lot
        of logic to the whole story even when the virus in itself is
        pure fiction.

        But let's get back to "Land of the Dead". I can't tell much 
        about the story without spoiling the movie, however what I can 
        tell you is that I like the movie. In wide areas "Land of the 
        Dead" is a real gore fest, but you wouldn't expect less from a 
        real Romero. The old man still knows how to do the job. This DVD 
        is surely a buy for me. Also it contains a shitload of bonus 
        material, which I am normally not after, but found somewhat 
        interesting in this case. Go for it...

                                           Cyclone for Alive, 2006-01-16

Appendix A

        Main Cast for Land of the Dead (2005)

        Directed and written by George A. Romero

        Simon Baker ........... Riley
        John Leguizamo ........ Cholo
        Dennis Hopper ......... Kaufman
        Asia Argento .......... Slack
        Robert Joy ............ Charlie
        Eugene Clark .......... Big Daddy
        Joanne Boland ......... Pretty Boy
        Tony Nappo ............ Foxy
        Jennifer Baxter ....... Number 9
        Boyd Banks ............ Butcher
        Jasmin Geljo .......... Tambourine Man
        Max McCabe ............ Mouse (as Maxwell McCabe-Lokos)
        Tony Munch ............ Anchor
        Shawn Roberts ......... Mike
        Pedro Miguel Arce ..... Pillsbury
        Sasha Roiz ............ Manolete
        Krista Bridges ........ Motown
        Alan Van Sprang ....... Brubaker
        Phil Fondacaro ........ Chihuahua
        Bruce McFee ........... Mulligan

Alive 13