George A Romero's Land Of The Dead

DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Read Scott Macdonald's film review of George A Romero's Land Of The Dead
Geroge A Romero's Land Of The Dead

A few words on the film before diving into the DVD details. It's funny, I found it easier to sit back, relax and enjoy the straightforward gorefest second time round. The comedy feels less pained, the set pieces and cheerfully gory zombie moments surprisingly work better at home.

The director's cut is as noted. George A Romero adds one complete scene - Cholo finds a suicide near Kaufman's apartment, which swiftly becomes bloody as the dead guy changes into a zombie - and a half-dozen other slight character trims for pacing. The film feels slightly less rushed as a result and would possibly merit an extra half star from my original film review.

Copy picture

On slipping in the disc, we're greeted with the usual incredibly irritating anti-piracy slap in the face. The menus are good, atmospheric and monochromatic in the style of the chilling opening credits.

The image and sound are good, if not great, with a slightly false digital intermediate (DI) look. The graded (coloured and recontrasted in the digital domain) image gives the film a slight crush to the blacks and shadow detail. This is consistent with the theatrical look. Grain and light noise are present, but do not distract.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track is involving and lively. The film uses stereo surround to entertaining effect, with Dead Reckoning's mammoth engines providing a healthy bass line.

The extras are occasionally interesting, just like the film. Easily the best of them is the filmmakers' audio commentary, with Romero an informative and serene speaker on his latest work, as down-to-earth as people get.

The rest of the extras make for sporadic entertainment. Undead Again: The Making of Land Of The Dead is a tiresome and mercifully short EPK-style Making Of doc, with all the cast, producers poring over "George's vision", and that he's a genius (of course). John Leguizamo proves himself entertaining and energetic; he's one of the crazy fans of the previous Dead movies.

A Day With The Living Dead, hosted by Leguizamo, is a guided tour of the set. I seriously dug this featurette, just how informal it all is, how unfazed everyone seems about getting their little zombie flick as good as they want it. It makes the filmmaking process look like a delight, by distilling all the fun parts.

The Remaining Bits is a three-minute deleted scene reel, some with finished effects, music and dialogue. There's nothing of any real storytelling value here. Good!

Bringing The Dead To Life is a lengthier featurette, which details KNB practical gore effect and the hundred and one ways of blowing the brains out of a zombie. Air mortars and alginate combine in a pleasantly wet fashion.

Next up is Scenes Of Carnage - the real reason this DVD gets an 18 (when the director's cut is a mere 15). It's a minute and a half collage of disgustingly gory scenes, edited to classical music. Brilliant! Oh, how I love looking at this brilliantly made gross-out stuff!

When Shaun Met George - Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, writers/creators of Shaun Of The Dead travel to Toronto to meet Romero and get photo booth cameos in Land Of The Dead. Geeky, but also rather disappointing. Once they get there and meet George, there's nothing much said other than how brilliant they all are. Then again, I'd probably be the same if I were having dinner with Romero.

There's a hell of a lot more green-screen work in Land Of The Dead than I thought there was. Zombie Effects: From Green Screen to Finished Scene shows a set of before and after scenes with visual effects work. No commentary, or anything else, but standouts include the machine gun decapitation and the clever set extensions. It shows impressive 3D matte paintings and how to get most bangs for the inexpensive budget.

A pair of trailers - for the dire Skeleton Key and King Kong - round off the disc.

Reviewed on: 19 Dec 2005
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Product Code: 8236840

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35 Anamorphic Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Undead Again: The Making of Land Of The Dead; A Day With The Living Dead; Bringing The Dead To Life; When Shaun Met George; The Remaining Bits; Bringing The Storyboards To Life; Scream Tests: Zombie Casting Call; Scenes of Carnage; Zombie Effects: From Green Screen To Finished Scene; audio commentary with director George Romero, producer Peter Grunwald and editor Michael Doherty.

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