A wondering look over Land of the Dead.
Welcome back to the next outing of George Romero’s “Of the Dead”, in the real world we are 20 years on but in the movie-world who knows how long it has been since the outbreak that took the lives of all fellow men.
It’s quite possibly years after the events of the previous movies and the last vestige of humanity has taken refuge in a walled city, the dead have taken over and effectively rule the world, we find our survivors split into two distinct types, those who live in luxury within a skyscraper and the poor living in the slums around them having to fend for themselves in petty squabbles.
The city is effectively owned by Paul Kaufman, who helped establish the sanctuary and finance the production of Dead Reckoning, a military grade vehicle that is used to gain supplies and protect the citizenry, using an impressive arsenal and clever use of fireworks, a dedicated group earn their stripes through their actions.
Riley leads the group on their salvage missions and though Kaufman paid for it, Dead Reckoning is Riley’s and when the two men have words over the vehicle, it sets forth a chain of events which will blow the sanctuary apart.
Okay, so it’s not the greatest write-up of a Romero movie to date, but I’m going to be leaving the newer Romero’s open to encourage you lazy sonsof to watch them.
Okay, so this movie really comes across more as someone trying to put a movie in the established Romero universe, I hate to say it as I do not consider anything to be better than the original trilogy, but I have seen it considered (and I can not disagree) that zombie movies have come along since Romero dominated the silver screen and I think that the twenty year lapse has left the man behind.
LotD definitely carries on the themes Romero explored in Day of the Dead, the dead are getting smarter, at the beginning of Land we see the dead who are slow, who are stupid and easily distracted and little more than the basic motor function animals we are used to, but by the end of the movie they’ve begun working out how to use simple machinery and are definitly smarter.
We can look at this two ways, firstly it’s an evolution of the undead, we don’t just have the basic undead they are evolving, but the evolution is too late, the fans of the undead want a bloodfest and Romero is working towards it, but it’s not there.
Though I do like the idea of the zombie infection slowly gaining more sentience and maybe the undead becomming the next step of human evolution, I can’t really agree with the way it was done, the plotline is definitly that of a movie and the timing coincides with this, I would have liked to have seen Romero planning for a long-game, putting a heavier emphasis on the plight of survivors while we see the begining of a zombie revolution, but instead we go from dumb dead to a sub-human all in the neat 95 minute story, if this had been drawn out over a saga it would have had more impact to me.
As always, Romero shows us that working together is a saving grace for the zombie apocalpse, that once we begin focussing on our wants and not what we need, once greed begins taking hold we let what ever safety we have maintained becomes doomed to disintergrate underneath us.
Land of the Dead feels rushed and dated, good concept but not so much on the execution, scoring an honest five bad plans out of ten.
Originally written on a previous incarnation of Geekenbrau.
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