|Land of the Dead |
Actors: John Leguizamo, Asia Argento, Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, Robert Joy
Director: George A. Romero
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
A GROUP OF HARDENED MERCENARIES ARE IN AN ACTION-PACKED RACE TO STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF MANKIND FROM A DEPRAVED ARMY OF THE DEAD THAT AHVE EVOLVED INTO MORE ADVANCED & THREATENING CREATURES.
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Member Movie Reviews
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL
Reviewed on 4/30/2011...
George A Romero is one of the most under rated directors around. His films don't get the attention John Carpenter's or Wes Craven's do. That's a shame really since, for the most part, Romero is the superior director. One of the elements present in all of his films is social commentary. He's concerned about what's happening in the world around him.
Land of the Dead is Romero's first R rated and studio backed zombie movie.
A lot of people feel that Romero sold out by making this movie, but that's not the case. It's impossible to make a decent large scale film without backing and Land is the perfect example. Costing around 20 million it's the higest budget of any Romero zombie movie to date and uses established actors (another first in a Romero zombie movie). While nowhere near the gore filled nightmares of Dawn or Day it still provides decent gore effects. Well worth checking out.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Alison E. from WEST GROVE, PA
Reviewed on 10/20/2009...
just as good as I expected. Lots of unexpected moments
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Extension of Romero's original "Dead" trilogy fun and invent
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 07/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The dead are mad as heck and aren't going to take it anymore! When we last caught up with George Romero's "Dead" films, "Day of the Dead" focused on the military trying to train the zombies for combat and experimenting on them. Romero takes the next step introduced into a world divided by the dead and the living each sharing space reluctantly with the other. That is until a gas station attendant zombie shows an inkling of intelligence and decides to go after the living in a sealed off skyscaper while those less fortunate live on the streets of the sealed off metropolis. Run by Kaufman (Dennis Hopper in perfect looney mode), the city is supplied by "employees" who can't live in the beautiful people's skyscraper. These scavengers led by Riley (Simon Baker) and Cholo (John Leguizamo) pillage the landscape around them for essential items for the wealthy. Riley has a conscience decides he will no longer lead the crew of his "tank" Dead Reconkening and work for "the man" anymore. Cholo, on the other hand, keeps doing Kaufman's dirty work in hopes that he'll be able to buy his way into the wealthy paradise.
As usual Romero has lots of gore but, more importantly, there's a sly political and satricial message at the heart of the movie. Romero who has been an independent filmmaker his whole life probably identifies with Riley and thinks of the film studios as Kaufman and his denizens. It's a much broader metaphor though as it can be used to look at the disappearing middle class and the disintegration of the class system in America. It's a fun ride with some of Romero's most accomplished filmmaking. Working with a budget of around $20 million Romero manages to do the same kind of work as was seen in the remake of his "Dawn of the Dead" last year. Interestingly, the more films Romero makes in his "Dead" series (and this probably going to be the last or at least next to last because of his age), the more milage he gets out of the inspiration for the entire saga--Richard Matheson's novel "I Am Legend" which was turned into the low budget horror movie "The Last Man on Earth" with Vincent Price (and the campy "The Omega Man" with Charleton Heston).
Outstanding effects are nicely off set with strong performances by the cast including Asia Argento (daughter of Romero friend and Italian horror film director Dario Argento) as a former hooker named Slack who is almost fed to the "stenches" (as the city inhabitants refer to the rotting zombies)in a bizarre scene that satrizies "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome". Romero hasn't lost his touch and although this doesn't have quite the revolutionary punch of "Dawn of the Dead" or "Night of the Living Dead" it's an improvement on "Day of the Dead" as well as most of the horror films out there.
The DVD has a very nice transfer and with the exception of an occasional bit of digital shimmer, the film looks as vibrant and alive as the bright red gushing blood. This is much more an action adventure movie than the previous films in the horror series and provides a nice bookend to the remake of "Dawn of the Dead" (even if it isn't related). Sound is pretty lively with a nice 5.1 and DTS mix that will have you looking over your shoulders for the undead.
Extras include a lively commentary by "Dead" director Romero, producer Grunwald and editor Michael Doherty. There's also a number of featurettes on the making of the film but my personal favorite is "When Shawn Met George" about when Simon Pegg and Edgar White (star & writer and director * writer respectively) of the comedy/horror film "Shawn of the Dead" met Romero and appeared as extras in "Land of the Dead". We get to see how they're made into the undead and the first meeting between the three of them. "Undead Again" provides a glimpse into the making of the film. "Green Screen to Finished Screen" gives us before and after comparisons between the raw footage and the finished footage with optical effects. "Storyboards and Final Scenes" looks at the storyboards inserted as PIP with the finished product. "Scream Tests" opens with a very funny outtake featuring dancing zombies from the CGI footage for the film. "Scenes of Carnage" is pretty self explanatory. "Bits and Pieces" are scenes that were cut. Although none of the featurettes are quite as exhaustive as those provided as extras for the three disc set of the original "Dawn of the Dead". There's also some other extras including a behind-the-scenes "A Day with the Living Dead".
Could "Dead" have been more? Sure. There were some missed opportunities here regarding the life in the tower but then that would have been a completely different movie. Romero's done a terrific job given the limitations of time and budget. Deftly balancing satire, horror and humanism, Romero makes one of his best films in years. I'm hoping this does well at the box office so that Romero can get financing to continue to examine the post-stench world a bit more. Oh and it's a Romero rarity with an ending that's actually more upbeat than I expected."
George A. Romero proves that zombies still creep us out
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 08/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"We should have known that if George A. Romero was going to go back to the well of the living dead another time he was going to come up with something different. What "George A. Romero's Land of the Dead" (the director's name goes up top so you know this is not merely another remake of one of his zombie films, like last year's "Dawn of the Dead") offers is two variations on the familiar theme. The first is in this brave new world humanity has found a way of perpetuating the old divide between the "haves" and "haves not," even when there are all those zombies out there suggest it should now be "us" versus "them." Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) has set up Fiddler's Green, a luxury high rise on an island between a couple of rivers (think the location of Three River Stadium in Romero's old stomping ground of Pittsburgh even though the movie is shot in Toronto). There the "haves" live while the rest of the island has the "have nots," some of whom are hired as mercenaries to go out into the world and bring back "necessities." Apparently money still matters in the "Land of the Dead," or perhaps people are merely trying to hold on to the old way of life, because the poor are not listening to those advocating going and taking away from the rich.
Consequently, humanity has found a way to survive. You can compare the more active approach of "Land of the Dead" with the mall rats of "Dawn of the Dead," who found a passive means of existence. Kaufman has built Dead Reckoning, a gigantic armored vehicle that leads foraging parties out into the world. These parties are led by Riley (Simon Baker), whose primary goal is getting everybody back alive, which does not always happen. That is because he works with Cholo (John Leguizamo), who has a different idea of necessities, one attuned to the fine tastes of Kaufman. Both men believe they are on their last mission at the start of this 2005 film, Riley because he will have now earned enough to pay for a car to get out of town and Cholo because he believes he has now earned the chance to move on up to Fiddler's Green. Both are wrong and that sets up the conflict to come.
This is where the second variation comes into play. Kaufman not only created a high rise where the "haves" are protected from that "have nots," some of whom actually help the "haves" have even more, but the entire island is zombie proof. This forces Romero to change the zombie part of the equation, and so we are introduced to Big Daddy (Eugene Clark), who runs a gas station and has a moment akin to when the ape looks at the thigh bone in "2001: A Space Odyssey." Just to help us along the voice over at the start of the film warn us that if the zombies ever develop anything approaching rudimentary thinking skills that would be a bad thing, a very bad thing indeed. So, of course, that is what happens. After all, if you can have bad humans, then you can have good zombies (Joss Whedon has convinced me being dead does not make a character inherently bad).
Having a zombie to root for is quite a different experience, but Romero also delivers on the guts and gore when the zombies go into their patented feeding frenzy. The narrative can offer all the sly social satire it wants, we watch these movies to be disgusted by the bloody scenes of cannibalism. The people Romero hires to do makeup and special effects are clearly on the cutting edge when it comes to this type of work. Even when you watch the DVD special features and you see what they are doing in bright light most of it will still creep you out, so the scenes in the film shot at night or in the shadows with the liberal application of blood and other things it is even worse (which is a good thing in a zombie movie).
The bottom line is that Romero delivers just what his fans want with this movie so that there is not a problem with failing to meet expectations. No, "Land of the Dead" is not the best of the bunch, but for my money nothing will surpass the original "Night of the Living Dead." The important thing is that here we are four films into the series, limiting ourselves to just the Romero helmed ones, and the series is certainly going a lot strong than the other comparable horror series, all of which have been abandoned by their creators (which is either a cause or effect). Final Note: Look for Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright of "Shaun of the Dead" fame as the photo booth zombies in one of the classic cameos of the early 21st century."
The Best New Horror Movie Yet.
JRZ | Pittsburgh, PA | 05/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Finally a new movie that does not suck. I had to go to the theater twice when it came out. Great story, and hands down the best zombie effects ever filmed. The special effects artist's out done themselves with this one. And George shows the world that he is still King. I hope that we can see more films like this one in the future and possibly more from George himself. If you never seen this film you need to see it. Don't overlook it cause it has zombies in it. I know tons of people hear the word "zombies" and don't give it a chance. But I'm telling you that you need to give this one a chance. Cause it's straight out a good film whether you like horror, zombies or any kind of movie. You'll see a quality film that's worth every penny."