August 28, 2011

Why LAND OF THE DEAD sucked pt.1

[...Posted by Ted H]

Those of you unfamiliar with how things work in Central New York, lemme give you a crash coarse on how the locals here react to a natural disaster anywhere in the eastern half of the US: "It's also happening here! O FUCK! We're all gonna die!!!"

Earthquake in Virginia? "I thought I felt a brief shake! It happened here too! Oh my God!"
Hurricane heading up the eastern seaboard? "Its comming for the fair! OH SHIT!"
Hurricane downgraded to a Tropical Storm before it even hits NYC? "I would still call it a hurricane! And these 15mph winds mean that the hurricane is hitting Syracuse! OH GOD WHY!?!"

Anyway...I passed the time watching a bad movie....


[Land of the Dead...sucked part 1]

*I will spoil the shit out of this movie. You have been warned*

I’m gonna get this out of the way right now: I’m a huge fan of Romero’s Dead Trilogy. Night, Dawn and Day of the Dead are three of the greatest zombie movies in all creation and George Romero deserves all the praise in the universe for bringing them to the world. But let it never be said that anything zombie related this man touches turns to gold, because much like George Lucas, the second trilogy of movies he put out to follow his three masterpieces were anything but good. The greatness that was Night/Dawn/Day were followed by the tragedies that were Land/Diary/Survival.

Anyway-this deconstructive and whatnot review will only focus on Land of the Dead. Should I even watch just Land and Diary back to back my brain may hemorrhage and I could die, let alone throwing the third one in after…

I have copies of all the original 3 movies in my collection because they damn deserve to be there, but I lacked a copy of Land of the Dead. In order to procure myself a copy, I asked a friend of a friend of a friend who happens to work at Gitmo if he could let me borrow a copy of the movie-no dice. So instead I took a copy from my brother. He happened to have the directors cut version, so I get a version that contains tragedies so retarded that theaters even refused to allow. Wonderful.

First, some back story. I didn’t always hate LotD. I actually went to see it in theaters when it first came out. But much like Star Wars fans when they finally saw The Phantom Menace, I felt myself let down severely by what I saw. It didn’t start out all bad, but as time wore on, I felt a growing sense of dread about this movie that I could barely keep back with pure denial. By the climax though, it was too much.

Anyway, lets get this over with…

Part 1: This land is our land (of the dead)!
Opening credits roll. It comes across with a vibe that seems like a cross between the remakes of Night and Dawn had for their opening. Good start so far. Audio snippets of news reporting crossed with shots of some zombie action. Typical start to a zombie epic, but it does establish a few givens.

One particular rule of zombie movies seems to be that it must be established in the movie that the only way to kill a zombie is via the brain. Always. If you don’t, then apparently you run the risk that the audience will be too stupid to figure that out themselves. Night and Dawn did this through action. With Night: Ben tried multiple unsuccessful shots at a zombie with a gun before finally hitting his mark in the head. In Dawn: You have Flyboy flailing his way around with a rifle in a field, failing to net one kill despite many hits. All this while Roger follows him, picking off the dead with one single headshot each time.

Even if there’s an exception to the rule, you need to point out the exception. Return of the Living Dead made it a point to prove that headshots do nothing. Either way though, you either need to point out that a headshot is the only way to kill a zombie, or that it doesn’t work.

For Romero though, this being zombie movie #4, is it really necessary for a learning curve? This being the same universe as the original trilogy (I’ll get to that fucking fact later) then its safe to assume that if you’re alive, then you know how to kill a zombie. Hell, he already sidestepped that need in Day when he had his characters discuss why the brain was the key. They didn’t just establish the fact, they expanded on it.

For Land however, there was no need to establish in any new way and definitely no desire to expand on it. Instead we have one of those opening credits news deals talk about how stopping the brain was the only way to stop the zombie. No points for creativity on that, though I guess some points go to how all the news snippets seemed like they would have fit well with the reports in Night/Dawn…which begs the question as to why not just use those? You want to keep this movie in the same universe, why not just use news reports from those movies. For fucks sake, Night is public domain, you can use anything you want from that movie even if your name wasn’t Romero.

Fuck me, I’ve talked this much and I haven’t even gotten as far as the story yet…maybe I’m just putting it off…

Anyway: ACTION! We find ourselves in a random town, dominated by the living dead. Zombie are doing what zombies do when there’s no delicious humans to eat: mainly, walk about randomly, even going as far as hitting routines they usually had in life before being zombies. Still cool-Dawn of the Dead touched on these habits. Everything’s still credible. Enter two humans spying on the dead, talking about how the dead are “trying/learning to be human again” Whatever, I’ll let you slide. You always figure it’s bull shit small talk when you’re about to engage them anyway…then…

“He knows we’re here.”

Ok…still going smooth. Zombies tend to have crazy sharp senses for discovering tasty tasty humans. Then “Big Daddy” grunts and alerts two other zombies that there’s food. And not just any grunt, but a conscious grunt that was meant as legitimate communication as if the zombie was saying “Hey, go check that out.”

Aaaaaaaaaaand from there on out this movie spirals the drain. Subtlety at first, but undeniable at the end. The notion that zombies can evolve is laughable at best, and this is the first nudge to that idea we get. But it’s still early

Required introduction to the guy with the arrow gun. Whatever…

Introduction to Charlie. I didn’t like him at the start. To be fair though, he looked, acted and sounded like a retard so he was very much distinguishable from most other characters who looked and acted the same. Still though, I hated every line of dialogue he said. Imagine if Rocky Balboa had acid thrown in his face and lost the ability to throw a punch. Now you have Charlie.

Enter: Dead Reckoning. Now the movie is broken.

“This is my last night.” Nice to at least see Romero set up a time honored movie cliché and sidestep it by having nothing major happening. Then again, it would’ve been a lot more interesting than what eventually happened in this movie.

Fireworks. Seriously? You use fireworks to distract the dead? That shouldn’t work. Humans get to run right passed zombies now and nothing happens because of the God damn fireworks? What’s wrong with humans riding through and just leveling everything in their path? They showed that they clearly have the firepower if all they’re doing is running in and grabbing supplies. But no…because this is the show that Big Daddy has evolved as a zombie. The movie breaks even more.

Big Daddy mercy kills a decapitated zombie. I cry at zombie-on-zombie violence.

Problem with the fireworks. Alright! Perhaps the retarded fireworks logic was just a setup for some action. Zombies aren’t distracted and humans are all spread out and vulnerable to the masses. Time for some awesomeness! Oh wait…no…I forgot about Dead Reckoning. The fucking tank rolls right on through, killing everything. The one guy even points this out by saying that this isn’t a battle so much as a fucking massacre.

Some guy gets bit, shoots himself. Standard...Wait, how long were they in the liquor store before the kid got bit? How does that zombie not get up from behind the counter and attack everyone from the get go? Why was he even back there to begin with? Clearly it showed that it is capable of walking, so what’s the excuse? There weren’t even any fireworks or nothing to distract him. Was he waiting for someone to toss the cigars to the ground and for someone to blindly reach down? Is it possible that no one called out Romero for this lapse of logic?

Humans leave, Big Daddy gets a gun. Apparently knows how to use it. Leads the charge to follow the humans.

We’ve breezed through the opening round and there is no detectable sign of a struggle. Dead Reckoning makes zombies a moot issue in the fucking zombie apocalypse. At this point, you know right away that the only tension that can arise from this movie is if the tank is compromised. And it’s pretty clear that zombies have no chance of taking down the tank, so only humans can fuck things up for themselves. This movie has already signaled that the zombies are taking a backseat in their own movie. All we need now is a pointless female lead and a cookie cutter villian…

No comments:

Post a Comment