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21 September 2011

Land of the Dead (2005)

Last night I watched George Romero's Land of the Dead. I'm going to come clean and say that pretty much from the off, my heart wasn't in it. Granted I was super-tired, but fundamentally I just wasn't enjoying the film. So forgive me if I'm a little vague on the details.

What's not to love about a Zombie Cheerleader?
Land of the Dead, Universal Pictures 2005

I find that George Romero runs hot and cold. I love some of his stuff, but then there's so much that I simply can't be arsed with. Unfortunately Land of the Dead falls into the latter camp.

For the record, the list of George's zombie films currently stands at:
1968 – Night of the Living Dead
1978 – Dawn of the Dead
1985 – Day of the Dead
1990 – Night of the Living Dead (Remake)
2004 – Dawn of the Dead (Remake)
2005 – Land of the Dead
2007 – Diary of the Dead
2009 – Survival of the Dead
What a mixed bag!

"Big Daddy"
Land of the Dead, Universal Pictures 2005

The basic premise of Land of the Dead is that Zombies have taken over the world and they're unhappy with their lot in life (or is it death?). Yep... These zombies have got a grudge!

Zombies with a grudge! Good God!

And these zombies are slowly regaining their faculties. Led by "Big Daddy" (played by Eugene Clark) they set out to wage war on the remaining survivors.

Please don't ask me to talk about the survivors!

Okay... if I must...

The survivors have spent too much time watching Mad Max films. If George had given them Mohicans I could have been fooled into thinking I was watching a distant Mad Max sequel... maybe "Mad Max in Los Angeles". Now there's an idea!

Asia Argento acts 'surprise'
Land of the Dead, Universal Pictures 2005

The survivors have barracaded themselves into a city called Fiddler's Green and are far too busy fighting amongst themselves to even realise that they are at war with the zombies.

That's all you need to know about the plot.

I was surprised to see Simon Baker (The Mentalist) star in this film as the improbably named Riley Denbo. I won't pretend that I know too much about him other than he's Australian. He had his moments, but they were few and far between. Overall the acting is as bad as the script. Even Dennis Hopper couldn't rescue things.

My precious!
Land of the Dead, Universal Pictures 2005

One thing that I did like was the look of some of the waifish zombies with their wispy hair! But generally the film was a jumble of things that confused and annoyed me...

I'm still scratching my head over how big a part Money plays in Land of the Dead's post-apocalyptic world. The Rich live like kings. I might have missed something, but wouldn't the bottom have fallen out of the Stock Market the moment the Zombie Apocalypse hit? But what do I know?

And this is a tiny, tiny point, but why on Earth did George feel the need to call fireworks 'sky flowers'?

Romero tells Dennis Hopper he can't keep the suit
in Land of the Dead, Universal Pictures 2005

I want you to do something for me now...  Come on George... you can join in too...

Repeat after me...
  1. Place your first finger from your left hand in the left hand corner of your mouth. 
  2. Place your first finger from your right hand in the right hand corner of your mouth. 
  3. Hook them slightly and gently pull outwards towards your ears... don't hurt yourself.
  4. Now say 'Bank'
  5. And that's what this film is.

Enough already!

If you want to see George parody his earlier films, then you might want to check out Land of the Dead. If you're looking for something scary or new, then you're not going to find it here.

Dead Reckoning (the Truck)
Land of the Dead, Universal Pictures 2005

On the Triple-B I'm going to spend most of my film-making budget on 1 huge truck and then insist on weaving it into the story... whether it makes sense or not!

As an aside: Through another trademark King Uke administrative error... I find myself the proud owner of two copies of this bloody DVD! Yay! Perhaps I'll make some funky Land of the Dead earrings!

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