Sunday, December 18, 2005

DVD Review - Land of the Dead

The king of the shambling dead finally returns to the genre he invented.

As with his other undead movies, Land of the Dead works on another level. This is almost a social political study of man and humanity, which happens to have some serious zombie action. The social commentary isn't subtle, some may say almost dated, but
Romero delivers his iconic African American hero and a lesson in consumerism with such aplomb that most viewers simply won't notice.

Taking a step back, and hiding the cultural commentary under a blanket of prosthesis and gore, this is a film of classic FX and the product of a master craftsman. Zombies, a million of them, sliced, crushed, diced, kebabed, detonated, fried, quartered, chopped, squashed, flambéed, disembowelled, fricasseed and chowing down on an unwilling banquet of human body parts. Do look out for some prime cameos from the genre,
Tom Savini, Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and the stunning and underrated Asia Argento co-stars.

The movie has slight air of 70’s about it. Perhaps it’s the genre, or perhaps it’s because the story picks up some 2 decades after the mysterious supernatural apocalypse that spawned this series. Now the living dead have taken over the world, and the last humans live in the self imprisonment of a walled city, partying against the darkness, as they deal with the new world around them. But all's not well. Outside the electric fences and beyond the no-mans land, the zombies are steadily evolving. Inside, a revolution plans to overthrow the cities corrupt ruling forces (the excellent Dennis Hopper in a subtle Bush parody), and the walking dead are walking into town with ideas of their own. It’s time the corpses got even.

Okay, the dialogue isn’t brilliant, but this movie can do things and get away with stuff that no other movie ever could. Embrace the cheese while its there, there’s not a lot of it. It made this old sceptic jump and made me gasp at the wonder of real stunt performers, make-up artists and FX people showing us the pinnacle of their craft.

This is a George A Romero film, simple as that. It’s ‘Mad Max’ meets ‘Evil Dead’ meets ‘Escape from New York’ meets ‘Day of the Dead’. This is the master at work. This is proper film making. Hail to the King.

Movie: 4.5 out of 5
Extras: 3.5 out of 5