Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Land of the Dead (2005)
Not bad - could have been so much better.
I love the zombie genre and wanted to love this movie, and I was definitely biased in its favor. But aspects of it were unsatisfying.
My biggest problem was the handling of Fidler's Green. I liked the idea of it but they should have explored the tension of trying to maintain normalcy in this last little bubble. Yes the rich people were living off the fruits of an exploitative system but it would have been much more interesting to have made them less shallow. This is one area where I think it was necessary to make things a little more realistic. I mean - aren't most of us living off the fruits of exploitative systems, blah, blah, blah? It's insulting that Romero thinks we'd miss the social commentary if he was less trite in his handling of the Fiddler's Green social system. In fact, any parallels to today's world would have been much more effective if he'd allowed the residents to be more human and identifiable.
It's especially insulting in light of the fact that we're encouraged to empathize with the zombies. Like other posters, I was bugged when Simon Baker orders the zombies crossing the bridge to be spared because "like us - they're just looking for someplace to go". There are still going to be large numbers of people holed up in their apartments in the city. It's really not moving that the protagonist decides to just leave them to their fate because of some poetic identification with the zombies, especially when the zombies already have someplace to go - 99.999% of the earth.
The one-dimensionality with which Fiddler's Green is handled is all the more striking in view of the inconsistencies that Romero allows his main character to have. Simon Baker's character should have been handled the way Mel Gibson's character was handled in Road Warrior: pessimistic and jaded but we're shown in subtle ways - rather than told - that he's not passed yearning for something different. Romero clumsily has his jaded, pessimistic hero come out and say nauseating things like "I'm looking for a world without fences." Right idea, wrong tactic.
It's partly owing to the disaster movie-lover in me that I think there should have been more carnage scenes involving the destruction of the opulent world in Fiddler's Green. But I also think that it's unsatisfying that there was so much emphasis placed on this place and its demise is given so little screen time. And again, I think it would have better served Romero's social commentary if he'd focused on it. One deleted scene that was in the "Extra Bits" section of the DVD was a scene in which the corporate drone played by Peter Outerbridge (surprising to see in such a minor role)is shown trying to lead his family to safety after the zombies have invaded. Romero should have included scenes like this, if for no other reason, to reinforce how a corrupt system is as much a danger to those at the top, etc, etc.
I also think it should have been more clear what was happening at the end. What was up with all the poor people walking along with their luggage? How had they survived? What was their celebratory air about? Yeah, their oppressors were dead but in light of everything we'd just watched, it seems the only thing that could be about to happen is the zombies will have regrouped and made a meal of them within ten minutes. And so "Big Daddy" and the other zombies being allowed to remain alive only adds to the confusion. The line from the Gilligan character indicates they're going to stay and try to build a better community. But they all look like they're heading somewhere, and we know that Simon Baker's character has decided to leave the city to the zombies. So just what are these people doing? The movie is annoying in what it decides to leave vague and what it goes way overboard in spelling out for us.