Movie Review: LAND OF THE DEAD (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray

LAND OF THE DEAD was written and directed by George A. Romero and stars Dennis Hopper, Simon Baker, Asia Argento, Robert Joy, Pedro Miguel Arce, Eugene Clark and John Leguizamo.

Legendary filmmaker George A. Romero returns to unleash another chapter in his zombie series! In this new tale of terror, Romero creates a harrowing vision of a modern-day world where the walking dead roam a vast uninhabited wasteland and the living try to lead “normal” lives behind the high walls of a fortified city. A new society has been built by a hand of ruthless opportunists, who live in luxury in the towers of a skyscraper, high above the less fortunate citizens who must eke out a hard life on the streets below. With the survival of the city at stake, a group of mercenaries is called into action to protect the living from the evolving army of the dead waiting outside the city walls.

Land of the Dead is George A. Romero’s fourth installment in his zombie franchise that takes place twenty years after Day of the Dead and the zombies now outnumber the remaining survivors of the human race. The humans live in a heavily guarded makeshift fortress (old apartment building) where the rich and powerful still live life much better than the poor. The brave apocalyptic scavengers go out and hunt for anything of value and with each hunt they go on they have to fight off more hordes of zombies. What’s happening is that the zombies are now evolving and showing signs of intelligence where they’re able to counter some of the attacks by the humans. What happens is, there’s tyranny within the ranks of the humans and it all backfires and allows the zombies to attack them when they least expect it. In the end, there’s only a few human survivors left and they’re forced to move on and look for a new place to call home.

Okay, Land of the Dead was a much welcome return to the zombie genre for George A. Romero and served as the first of a whole new trilogy that released in 2005 by Universal Pictures. Romero would return to his indie roots with Diary of the Dead would follow in 2007 and Survival of the Dead later in 2009. Anyway, I liked the story for this one and it’s pretty much the same formula with one small tweak and that’s the fact that the zombies are now evolving and getting smarter. The movie featured this cast of Hollywood familiar faces and they all did a great job with their characters. Some of the them were good guys and some not so much! The movie also features some fun cameos by fan favorites like Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, Tom Savini and Greg Nicotero. Speaking of Greg Nicotero, his KNB FX team did a fantastic job with the zombie makeup and special effects. There’s a lot of blood and gore just like you’d expect there to be. There’s also some visual effects used to help boost the grand spectacle of things and it’s very well done.

The packaging comes with a slipcover. The front features the fantastic all-new artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some original artwork and movie credits so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use for the front cover. Each Blu-ray disc also features its own individual artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition upgrade were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio for not one but two pristine 2K scans of the interpositive – the uncut version includes HD inserts. Both cuts of the movie look and sound amazing. Scream Factory did an amazing job with this release!

Bottom line is, Land of the Dead was the long overdue return to the zombie genre for George A. Romero and the twenty year wait was well worth it. There’s a long twenty year gap between 1985’s Day of the Dead and this 2005 fourth chapter where the story continues and the zombies now outnumber the living. The story is good cheesy fun and the movie itself is this fast-paced survival actioneer that takes place in the same undead world that Romero created decades earlier – with a few tweaks and upgrades that have taken place over the years. There’s an impressive list of actors assembled here, from legendary icon Dennis Hopper to Asia Argento who is known throughout the horror genre. This is a studio movie and it’s also the most ambitious zombie movie that Romero ever came up with. You can tell he had more money to play with here because the action and stunts are ramped up to the next level plus the sets are much bigger. When you add all of these ingredients together you get a really exciting zombie movie and it deserves a nice release like this. The timing is also just right because not only is Halloween just a few days away but George A. Romero has finally gotten his star on the Walk of Fame and deservingly so. Land of the Dead is releasing on a 2-Disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray set on October 31st and is definitely worth checking out.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: Theatrical Cut – 93 Minutes / Unrated Cut – 97 Minutes

Rated: R / Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: Good Stuff! There’s over 2-hours of extras that include some audio commentary, new interviews, lots of featurettes, deleted scenes, trailer, images and more.

DISC ONE: Theatrical Cut

  • NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive
  • NEW Cholo’s Reckoning – An Interview With Actor John Leguizamo (15:37)
  • NEW Charlie’s Story – An Interview With Actor Robert Joy (13:09)
  • NEW The Pillsbury Factor – An Interview With Actor Pedro Miguel Arce (17:29)
  • NEW Four Of The Apocalypse – An Interview With Actors Eugene Clark, Jennifer Baxter, Boyd Banks, And Jasmin Geljo (18:50)
  • Dream Of The Dead: The Director’s Cut With Optional Commentary By Director Roy Frumkes (24:40)
  • Deleted Footage From Dream Of The Dead (18:03)
  • Deleted Scenes (02:55)
  • Theatrical Trailer (01:45)
  • Photo Gallery (09:12)

DISC TWO: Uncut Version

  • NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive With HD Inserts
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Zombie Performers Matt Blazi, Glena Chao, Michael Felsher, And Rob Mayr
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director George A. Romero, Producer Peter Grunwald, And Editor Michael Doherty
  • Undead Again: The Making Of Land Of The Dead (12:56)
  • Bringing The Dead To Life (09:31)
  • Scenes Of Carnage (01:42)
  • Zombie Effects: From Green Screen To Finished Scene (03:18)
  • Scream Test – CGI Test (01:05)
  • Bringing The Storyboards To Life (07:54)
  • A Day With The Living Dead Hosted By John Leguizamo (07:34)
  • When Shaun Met George (12:59)

 

 

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