Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Simon Baker, John Lequizamo, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento
Directed by George A. Romero
Distributed by Universal Home Video
It was twenty years between Day of the Dead and Land of the Dead, and that wait was unbearable. Between 2003 and 2005 you couldn’t make a zombie movie fast enough. The stone cold dead were hotter than ever. It was only a matter of time before the master would come back to the genre that he created, and when he did, he did so in grand style. Maybe too grand in fact.
What sets Land of the Dead apart from the other films in the series is the fact that this was the first entry that George would make with big-time studio backing. Night, Dawn, and Day were all very much independent projects; and it showed. Romero had big names attached, or at least the biggest he’s ever had; there were new CGI tools to play with; and his shooting locale had changed from Pittsburgh to Canada (though the movie does still take place in Pennsylvania). There were a ton of things different about this project, but one thing stayed very much the same … George’s brilliantly twisted mind.
Even after all these years the man still finds new and inventive ways to kill the dead and vice versa. Some of the gore gags featured in Land will leave you with your jaw on the floor. The only problem was that nagging shiny Hollywood sheen. This film, while still great in its own right, was missing that gritty and realistic feel the others had. Now, for whatever reason, it’s kind of en vogue amongst fans to not like Land. As far as I’m concerned, the movie is a return to form for George and delivers on every aspect that it needs to. Take your horror-hating trends and stick ’em!
Speaking of delivering, holy shit, does this movie look and sound incredible on Blu-ray. You’re likely to gain far more of an appreciation for Nicotero and company’s special effects now that you can watch them in full 1080p. Every vein, innard, and scrap of torn flesh is delivered in great gory detail. This is what hi-def is all about, folks! It’s savagely stunning!
Thankfully Universal finally gets it right as far as the special features are concerned, too. Almost every single chunk of supplemental material makes the jump to this release, and the two featurettes that didn’t, Undead Again: The Making-of Land of the Dead and John Leguizamo’s A Day with the Living Dead, have been broken down and integrated as part of Universal’s U-Control Blu-ray feature in which features can be accessed pop-up video style at any time while the film is in progress. Once it’s activated, a small picture-in-picture graphic appears, and the viewer is treated to various enhancements or behind-the-scenes footage. While I would have preferred to have the option of having access to these featurettes at my fingertips, at least the omissions this time around are far less tragic than in other instances.
Land of the Dead marks the third film in the franchise to appear in the Blu-ray format. Dawn and Day were released by Anchor Bay Entertainment about a year ago, and Dimension should be releasing Diary later this year. I can only hope someone gets to Night of the Living Dead so I can scratch my completest itch. You know you have one, too.
4 out of 5
4 out of 5 each
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