Zack Snyder

April 4, 2019

(Ep. 119): The Simplistic Reviews Podcast April 2019

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast is back from Spring break…clean…sober…and ready to go. One of those things is true. The boys discuss everything they missed since they’ve been gone. From James Gunn rehiring, to the etymology of the word “trump”, to that famous last line in Lethal Weapon 2. You remember that one right? We sure didn’t. Doug Funny, Oregon Trail, Jenny & Melissa McCarthy…all points of interest or disinterest on this Spring fling episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

MUSIC
Fast Times Club By IDOL
Gold Medal By Sounds Like Sander
November 26, 2017

Justice League

Justice League: Fun

PG-13

 2017 ‧ Fantasy/Science fiction film ‧ 2 hours

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What Is The Story?

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince to face an even greater threat. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team to stand against this newly awakened enemy. Despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes — Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash — it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions. (IMDB)

Did I like it?

Justice League is a fun movie with problems I can’t believe went unseen, but lets talk about that later. Did I enjoy JL? I did. This was a film I went into with zero care especially with the amount of crap thrown at me. Whether it be online ads or TV spots I was already hungover by the time JL was hitting screens. So when I sat down and drank my coffee I really had a fun time watching. This wasn’t do to the genetic storyline but it was watching these characters and as well having them interacting with each other.



Without the strong characters this film is light on its feet. With the mess that was Suicide Squad and Dawn Of Justice, the key take away was the dark tone. With Wonder Woman that tone changed. What we got was a happier, brighter and more colorful film. This was needed and I believe was part of the success that Wonder Woman had. With JL I am happy to see the dark visuals get toned down. Now it wasn’t Wonder Woman levels and in the film it even fights with itself, but still it was nice to see a more colorful look. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the comparisons with the first trailer and the newest one. Same exact shots but with a brighter and clear look. The addition of Danny Elfman scoring went a lot further in helping this tone problem WB has.
That 2hr running time should be the new standard. This sets up boundaries for filmmakers like Snyder. Stick with the 2hrs everyone! 

We finally get the classic Superman we have been waiting for. Talking like Superman and acting like Superman.

The Flash is great thou he needs to be turned down a few. Having the Flash at 11 the entire time is a bit draining.

Wonder Woman is still great.

Aquaman was good. Wish we had more but I’m looking more forward to his standalone movie.

Cyborg was better then I was expecting.

Batman was Batman. Wish we had his standalone already. Not sure what is going on behind the scenes but I feel we are missing out on The Batman film not yet shooting.

What Was Bad?

A lot. Story, dialogue, CG, sound mixing and more. Again I am surprised to see some of this in a tentpole film. I had to shake my head a few times do to the sheer craziness of allowing this into the final edit. I understand the issue this film had during production. But I wont allow that to hinder my final view on the film. I would love to talk about the super mustache but I won’t because the amount of work that goes into a movie production is incredible. What happened was terrible and I can look past that. Probably should of just added a beard on him to cover it up. The fact that any movie is completed is an achieve on itself.

But some stuff is just surprising. 

The first few minutes should grab your attention but here I was shocked right away. The kids on their phone recording Superman was terrible. Great idea but terrible execution. The video should of been filmed by real kids. I would of loved to see I child film this with other children around in the frame. It felt so fake and that’s another issue with this film, cheap execution. The onscreen camera buttons just did not need to be there. This was the first thing we as the audience see and it wasn’t done right. 
Then we jump into Batman on the roof capturing a criminal. This entire scene felt out of place on top of that it felt shot like a TV movie, cheap. And out of all the scenes that need to be dark this was lit way too much. Then the stupidest thing I’ve seen in ages happens. Batman talks to Alfred using his real name right next to the criminal. Are you kidding me? This is a one on one conversation. There is no need for real names. You could use a codeword but again this is two people talking, no confusion on who is talking to who.
Now the criminal knows Batman talks to a man named Alfred, I’m sure he won’t go home and google Gotham and Alfred together. Christ. The way these DC films treat Batman’s secret identity is appalling.  
Now with the villain I would not go as far as what others are saying. He is definitely not the worst ever. I don’t believe that. What I can’t believe is why make him a full CG character? Why hire the great Ciarán Hinds and only use his voice. What the hell are you thinking? Throw him in the make up chair and allow him to use his sinister facial expressions to bring that character to life. But hey no one really wants Steppinwolf as the main baddie in a JL film anyways. What if Doomsday was approaching Earth to take it over. First half hr is Doomsday taking over and enslaving humans. Flash goes back into time and sets up the team with a plan to bring back Superman. Bring him back is the only chance they have. Superman comes back as evil and the JL film is about fighting Superman and setting up the arrival of Doomsday in part 2.

That would be in my opinion a better storyline. Perhaps having Batman v. Superman in this universe kills that. Another reason they shouldn’t have made that film. Starting to think WB didn’t plan any of this out.

My Favorite Parts?

The league fighting Superman. There is a great shot that almost makes the entire movie. More of this WB.
Elfman using Superman’s classic theme which got my heart racing. Again more of this WB.
Elfman bringing his Batman 89 theme back brought tears to my eyes. This was the moment the film became more for me. I felt honored to hear that again in a theater. This is Batman’s theme just like Star Wars and Bond have theirs. But if you weren’t paying attention you might of missed it. It pops up a couple time but the poor sound mixing drowns that out for the general audience. I don’t know who is at fault here, someone needs to be brought back. That was almost disrespectful. Felt like the movie was embarrassed of the theme.  
That’s the recurring theme with WB and their DC films. They seem to be embarrassed of their property. We have been witnessing this for awhile now. Allow your property to be itself. You saw that happened with Wonder Woman. Your on the right track but I feel like your out of chances. Right now your on track to lose money. It’s a shame because this is a ton better then Dawn of Justice. 

Wrap Up

Snyder and Terrio need to go. I do believe Joss Whedon brought this film up to fun for me. If he wasn’t apart of it this would of been a remake of Dawn of Justice. Give Whedon the control or hell Patty Jenkins she already showed us she knows the property better. The numbers are there and the people have spoken. It can not continue this way.

November 22, 2017

Can There Be Justice for the Justice League?

So what really went wrong for “Justice League” in it’s underwhelming opening weekend? Was it the fact that DC decided to make their own version of “The Avengers” without strong stand-alone films? Was it the condensed sub-2 hour runtime? Was it the fact that the film had two completely different tones and styles? Was it Superman’s amazing mouth CGI? Was it the fact that Batman was almost as lifeless as Charles Manson? Was it the fact that Cyborg as a head on some questionable CG body? So many questions; so little time.

In case you haven’t heard, the Internet hasn’t been too kind to DC’s latest outing where you get to see their greatest heroes all join forces to defeat a bad guy who isn’t Darkseid. Sure, there are tons of problems with “Justice League.” Overall, it’s a rushed mess with trite dialogue, awkward performances, a main villain that makes Malekith from “Thor: The Dark World” look good, and it just feels rushed. But that’s what the DCU has felt from the start; a rushed attempt to catch up to the MCU.

But here’s the thing; is “Justice League” all that bad? Of course if you ask the Internet in it’s infinite wisdom is bad and they just can’t get past how bad the CG was on Henry Cavill’s magic mustache removal. Yes, it’s not good, it’s almost criminal that in a 300+ Million Dollar tentpole blockbuster that someone would sign off on that actually being passable in this day and age. Of course I’m not an artist of any kind and I have no idea how had it is to digitally remove a mustache, but for the past 27 years we’ve been able to make dinosaurs come back to life, create liquid metal terminators, de-age actors, bring them back to life, but somehow, facial hair removal eludes us. Go figure.

To to uninformed, here’s the gist of “Justice League.”

*Some Spoilers to Follow*

The world is still in mourning over the loss of Superman, and a new threat has arrived; Parademons and their leader, Steppenwolf who is after three Mother Boxes, which are essentially terra-forming alien technology kind of similar to the World Engine in “Man of Steel.” If all three Mother Boxes are found and combined they will essentially bring about the end of Earth as we know it.

So it’s up to Batman to form a team to save the world, but it’s going to take a lot more than a really fast guy, a head on a robot’s body, a powerful Amazonian, a drunk lifeguard, and a guy dressed in black rubber to save the world, they need Superman back. The only problem is that he’s buried in Smallville, Kansas. Good thing there is still a good amount of Kryptonian technology sitting around Metropolis.

If you’re a fan of the “Justice League” or “Justice League Unlimited” cartoon series, you’ll likely be a big fan of this version of “Justice League.” But in a world that’s been created to be dark, humorless, and void of a general sense of right and wrong, it’s odd that we have so many moments that are supposed to be funny and genuine. Why am I supposed to care if these characters like each other? I barely know them, and they barely know each other. It’s hard to buy into that as a viewer since there is very little frame of reference and not much history. But, you’re expected to buy into it.

However, one of the biggest issues overall with “Justice League” is the tonal difference between what we see directed by Zack Snyder and what’s directed by Joss Whedon after he took over for Snyder. Whedon does his best to create an Avengers-like vibe, and you could argue that some scenes are directly cribbed from his superhero Magnum Opus. I’ve never been a Snyder fan aside from just one of his films, but at least his style has been consistent with “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman” and just knowing that you’re watching the work of two different directors within the same film is quite infuriating for me. Whedon should have at least tried to keep the same tonal approach as Snyder instead of trying to reinvent a MCU film in DC’s backyard. But hey, that’s just like, my opinion man.

Surprisingly, Batman is actually one of the worst things about “Justice League” with Steppenwolf coming in a close 2nd thanks to more shoddy CG. I gave Ben Affleck the benefit of the doubt in “BvS” it’s his first time out and he’s doing the best he can, but this time around, he’s kind of just going through the motions and I don’t know how you make Bruce Wayne/Batman uninteresting, but Affleck did it, and it might be the reason why he’s potentially on the way out of the DCU.

I know i’ve spent a lot of time harding on things I don’t really like with “Justice League” but looking back at my experience, despite my eye rolls and scoffs, this might be DC’s most complete film to date. It hits all the right tropes, doesn’t diminish what was created in “Wonder Woman,” introduces The Flash who isn’t half-bad, and actually makes Superman/Clark Kent more like the Superman/Clark Kent that people might recognize.

So despite a slow start, can “Justice League” bounce back after a poor start? At the box office, probably not, but on the bright side, the US Box Office is about as useless as a screen door on a submarine, it’s all about the Foreign Box Office. But could a Snyder cut, or can a 2nd viewing show a film that is actually better than it really is? Perhaps, but please fix Superman’s lip…he deserves better.

July 4, 2016

Ep. 71: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition – Movie Commentary: July 2016

Batman V Superman

 2016 | Superhero | 181 minutes

Today on this 4th of July we fight a 3hr war, one we thought we would lose. But we made it through all 3hrs of Zack Snyder’s poor choices to bring you another Simplistic Reviews Movie Commentary. We’re sure you have better things to do today. Drink and Eating come to mind. But the time may come when you must watch that

Batman V Superman

Dawn of Justice

Ultimate Edition

Extended Cut

Collectors Edition

Movie Commentary

Christ that’s a mouthful. Then lets watch it together. A army of one. A uprising to be independent from unbelievable plot holes in a $250 million dollar movie. I mean it’s crazy to think these people are professionals and still somehow find work.

So remember young ones. You don’t need to jam 10 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag. Fill up that first bag with all that needed shit and grab another 5 pound bag to finish stuffing that shit. Because having two bags of shit is okay, not one overstuffed bag of shit with plot holes throughout its 3hr run time is okay. Shit boys and girl, that just doesn’t fly!
 
March 21, 2014

Batman Vs. Superman: Special Simplistic Reviews Op-ed Edition (1-5)


Batman Vs. Superman: 

Special Simplistic Reviews Op-ed Edition

Part One: 
Ben Affleck/Batman
I’m going to try something a little different here and write my opinions regarding parts of the 2016 film that is so far titled, Batman Vs. Superman. A title which may or may not change. With Part One I want to focus on Ben Affleck as Batman because to me this is the single most important topic of this film, other then the story (Thats for latter). This could be a bit of bias do to Batman being the single most import thing in my life since the day I can remember. But maybe you might like it.

The follow contains neither official information nor photos. Only fan made photos and my thought on the rumors.

First lets talk about the casting of Ben Affleck. Do I like it? At first it didn’t hit me right. Kind of left an odd taste in my mouth about Affleck taking over the cowl. But then it started to settle in my head that it might be the best outcome for casting. Really couldn’t see the others that had been rumored and you know what? Affleck has the look and more important the height.

Height you say?
Yes this Batman will be 6’ 4”, Bale and Kilmer were 6’, Clooney 5’ 11” and Keaton was 5’ 10”. Oh and yeah Adam West is 6’ 2” Would you like to go further? Lewis Wilson and Robert Lowery both under 6’ 2”. Wilson the first actor to play Batman was married to Dana Broccoli, sound familiar? Well that topic is for another time.

What I’m saying is Affleck will be a 6’4” Batman, the tallest and to me an import look since he will go up against a 6’ 1” Superman. Affleck reportedly has been working out to be one bulked up Batman and from the recent photos it looks like he will be. This is something I’ve always wanted to see onscreen, a fit Batman. Even though we still haven’t seen a photo of him in the suit, I’m very curtain he will do it justice. Hopefully the suit design looks good and we have some long ears on that cowl and not the short ones being reported. Longer ears are always better, just my opinion.

Height and build isn’t everything. As acting goes Affleck could bring it. I think he’s a better Director then Actor, but this is Batman we’re talking about. Of course what we really mean is how he handles Batman’s voice. With all the flack Bale brought with his Batvoice lets hope he learns and just creates a low dark but still understanding Batvoice because I’m sick of all the Batman voice jokes. Another part is the way we see Batman fight. Affleck said he originally didn’t want to take the part. But it was when he read the script he thought he could bring something new to Batman that hasn’t been seen before.

Lets hope one of those is Batman’s fighting. I like a lot about Nolan’s Dark Knight series but we can both agree the fight scenes are not the greatest. If Affleck thinks he can bring something never seen before with Batman on film, please go to Zack Snyder and nail it to his head. I want to see Batman fight like Batman fights, how does he fight? Just watch Batman the Animated Series, Justice League and so on. I want to see a Batman fight and as he fights Batarangs are flying out of his hand hitting and tying up henchmen. I also want to see the fight unlike the Nolan close ups, which at times just showed feet.

Also longer fights would be nice, not 10-15 seconds ones.

As I think about what Ben Affleck said, about this being an opportunity to do something new. This could be a great thing not just for Batman but also of all DC characters. So please Snyder you have a clean slate.

Don’t screw it up.

All things said Affleck isn’t what I’m worried about, but the story and the background of our new Batman, which I am.
Score: Ben Affleck as Batman – B+

Next Up

Part 2 – The Batman Rumors

March 16, 2014

300: Rise Of An Empire

OVERACHIEVING 

It’s hard for me to imagine now that the tales of Leonidas and Xerxes and Spartan warriors are old hat.  I remember when Zack Snyder’s 2006 film 300 was something that no one knew bubkiss about.  That changed when it slaughtered the box office through strong word of mouth, making it one of the highest grossing R rated films ever made.  Since then, Lena Headey is a household name, Michael Fassbender is an Oscar nominee, and Gerard Butler has gone on to star in every type of failed romantic comedy ever conceived.  (Being catapulted, whether that be into the air or stardom, isn’t an exact science.) The brave 300 became a pop culture staple, which I often gauge by a character’s appearance in one of those horrid spoof movies.  So, I was skeptical when I heard that a sequel graphic novel was being created by the “not so sane anymore” Frank Miller and being turned into a film.  Why tread on old, and in my opinion, already poetically ended ground?  After some coaxing from, again, strong word of mouth, I put my apprehension aside and gave it a chance.  I am happy and very surprised to say that 300: Rise Of An Empire not only holds its own with the original 300, but supercedes it in some facets.  It is an OVERACHIEVING underdog that acknowledges and builds off of its roots.

What’s it about?  Well, here is probably the most interesting and well done thing about this film.  300: Rise Of An Empire fills in the gaps left behind by its predecessor 300.  As much as I love 300, the film skirts past a lot of chances to build up depth in the world it inhabits.  Hell, without Lena Headey’s brief storyline as Queen Gorgo, the film is practically a gloriously action packed montage of sex and violence.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Rise Of An Empire tries to do something done sneakily by Bourne Ultimatum, done brashly by Bourne Legacy, and done incomprehensibly by X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  It weaves its story around the events before, during and after the original.  The creation and rise of Xerxes, the Persian campaign taking place away from the Hot Gates, the steps taken to unite all of Greece.   All of these things done to not only strengthen the original 300 as a film, but elevate Rise Of An Empire as its own sturdy branch of a grand story.  So, this film is not a sequel.  It is a sidequel with an actual purpose.

Now don’t think that because I said this story fills in gaps that it is boring.  NOTHING could be further from the truth.  I haven’t fully quantified this, but I dare say that Rise Of An Empire has more swords, and blood, and death, and sex and destruction than 300.  The most famous shot in the original 300, my favorite shot in the original 300, is the “Crazyhorse” shot of Leonidas.  The one where he practically rips through the Persian front line single handed like a damn superhero.  Rise Of An Empire has two of these scenes just as epic, and one using AN ACTUAL HORSE!  Director Noam Murro, who had only worked on the indie film Smart People before this, really does a terrific job with these action scenes.  Though, this may be praise that deserves to fall on the head of the visual effects department or cinematographer.  Either way, rest easy if you think that Rise Of An Empire might play it safe.  It surely does not.

When it comes to performances in films like this, 300, Sin City, Dredd and the like, it isn’t really about being a great actor.  Though it doesn’t hurt.  It’s really about an actor or actress trying to be bold, to be memorable, to stand out.  It is very easy to disappear in a film focused mainly on style.  Gerard Butler and Headey and Fassbender and Dominic West, and Rodrigo Santoro knew how to play into the genre.  They used the somewhat campy material to their advantage instead of being overwhelmed by it.  The returning players to Rise Of An Empire have not forgotten to do this.  Headey, Santoro and even David Wenham are just as entertaining in this as they were before.  The new players, unfortunately, don’t manage to completely accomplish my theory of standing out.  Sullivan Stapleton handles his action scenes well, but he just never gripped me as someone I should follow.  The speeches and screams of inspiration that felt so genuine and right coming out of Butler’s mouth, feel somewhat hollow coming out of his.  A similar father and son storyline is used in Rise Of An Empire that I really began to enjoy.  However, it didn’t get enough meat to it as I would have liked.  The one exception to the newcomer performances comes from the always amazing Eva Green.

Now, I’m not gonna pretend that I don’t already adore Eva Green.  I’m not gonna pretend that I haven’t already declared her my favorite Bond Girl.  But trust me, it is not my biased exaggeration that this film BELONGS TO HER.  Her performance as Artemisia is easily the strongest performance in this film and the one everyone will talk about.  I think Green was born to play strong women.  Watching her, you can easily see her complete and utter fearlessness as an actor in every glare, and smirk, and bare naked fight/sex scene she has. (Yeah.  That happens.)  She completely embodies this character and makes even Xerxes’ ambition seem tame in comparison to her’s.  Green’s work as Morgan on the short-lived Starz series Camelot is comparable here, but Artemisia is Morgan turned up to 11.  Green is gonna absolutely own as Ava Lord in the other Frank Miller adaptation this year, A Dame To Kill For.

300: Rise Of An Empire fulfills its job as an enjoyable companion piece to Zack Snyder’s Spartan epic.  Whenever it tries to be different than its predecessor, it surprisingly thrives.  Don’t just be a witness…board the boats…paint your face in a remarkably similar Frank Castle Punisher pattern…watch it…then tell me I’m wrong.

July 12, 2013

Man of Steel

Man of Steel – Sponsors

SPONSORS

The time is now for Warner Bros. and DC Comics.  The window has already closed to be able to compete with Disney and Marvel Comics so its time to just try and carve out a little bit of a niche for themselves.  Sure, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy was a huge success, but that’s over, and unless you thought “Green Lantern” was a good direction for DC Comics film-wise, well, I’d have to disagree with you on that one.  So with all their chips on the table, Warner/DC has decided to go for the Hail Mary.  That Hail Mary is “Man of Steel,” sponsored by Sears, 7-11, IHOP, and of course, LexCorp.

Contrary to what you might hear about “Man” the film isn’t that bad, sure its loud, bombastic, brash, and suffers from a severe case of style-over-substance…..hmmm, well, I guess “Man of Steel” isn’t that great when I really stop and think about it.  While it has some good ideas, the way Superman is presented almost makes this attempt feel like this is a sequel to another film.  And while “Man” tries it’s best to distance itself from the less-than-super “Superman Returns” there are too many scenes where director, Zack Snyder, once again, lets his ego get in the way and decides to make things explode as opposed to detailing the psychology of Clark Kent and how he’s torn between being the last son of a dying world and the protector to a new one. Snyder shoehorns scenes of Clark’s more impressionable years in Smallville, but the scenes merely feel like a feeble attempt at trying to make us feel like he has a soul and why he feels an obligation to the human race.  I almost feel “Man of Steel” would have been better suited as a trilogy as opposed to fitting everything into one giant action-fest.  Obviously Warners has no interest in another compelling “Dark Knight-like” trilogy, they are so busy trying to catch up to Marvel.  The one thing I will say is that Superman isn’t as interesting to be able to fit into an entire trilogy like Bruce Wayne/Batman.

At the end of “Man” I was left both wanting more and wanting less, if that is possible.  The action scenes were both large in scope, but felt empty; the story of Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman was both easy to follow, yet lacked depth; and the story became inconsequential come the start of the 3rd act when everything that can go boom, goes boom.  I’m sure Michael Bay had plenty of tissue handy when he witnessed Metropolis being torn apart by a group of Kryptonians.

What troubles me the most about this new direction for Warner/DC is the world building, or lack thereof. Sure, you get a nod to LexCorp, Wayne Enterprises and other minor DC characters that may exist in this specific universe, but while Warner says they want to complete with Marvel in the superhero-movie-making business, they still seem to want to make self-contained films and somehow make them all gel.  If you go all the way back to when Marvel released “Iron Man” the plan was already in motion for more films within a coherent universe.  Marvel could have slapped “Iron Man” together and flown by the seat of their pants, but they made a conscience effort to create a world where other heroes could exist.  “Man of Steel” provides us with glimpses, or “Easter Eggs” of companies which have meaning to characters such as Lex Luthor, Batman, and Cyborg, but you’re left to wonder how many movies it is going to take to finally set in motion a “Justice League” or even a “World’s Finest” film.  At this stage in the game it looks like we’ll get another “Man of Steel” film in 2015 and maybe a “Batman” reboot in 2016.  You might say “Well, you can’t create an entire universe in just one film.”  I’d say back “How come Marvel was able to do it, and make us believe they knew what they were doing from the get-go?”

In no way am I shredding this film, even though it might sound like it.  There are things I genuinely like about “Man of Steel.”  I thought the acting and casting was spot on, and it looks like we finally have an actor playing Superman that we can believe in with Henry Cavill.  He fits the suit like a glove and his banter with Lois Lane, played wonderfully by Amy Adams, is vintage.  Michael Shannon continues to impress as General Zod and is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters actors in Hollywood.  The supporting cast is solid as well, including Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White, Chief Editor of The Daily Planet.

With “Man of Steel,” Warner/DC neither loses ground or gains ground on the Disney/Marvel juggernaut.  If anything it washes the taste out of Superman fans mouths for “Superman Returns” and gives people plenty of explosions.  What it didn’t do is break new ground.  Sure, Superman does some super things, but he also feels like a shell of what Superman should be; a protector of the Earth and Metropolis, not it’s destroyer as seen in the final 30 minutes of “Steel.”  This review sponsored by Wayne Enterprises.

Fun Fact:  General Zod’s first appearance was in Adventure Comics #283 in 1961.

October 23, 2012

31 Nights of Halloween, Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Dawn of the Dead (2004) – Run

The bane of the horror genre for the past decade has been the remake.  Hollywood has gotten so lazy and they’ve treated the horror genre like a dumping ground for bad updates on generally good horror fare.  I understand the point; horror is cheap for a studio to produce, they can introduce fresh new actors (namely females that will bring in the male audience) and generally, they will at least break even no matter how bad the film.  Not to say there aren’t exceptions to the rule, and 2004’s “Dawn of the Dead” remake is an example of a horror remake gone right.

Before I go into the actually movie I’m going to say this:  I do not like Zack Snyder.  I’m not really impressed by his body of work, and I think he bites off too much, thus, his work suffers.  That is the problem with “visionary” directors like Snyder.  Take “Dawn of the Dead” and compare it to something like “Sucker Punch.”  “Dawn” is great because the concept is simple, effective, and done very well (while I may not agree with everything in it, but I’ll get to that later).  “Punch” was for prepubescent boys, and it included girls in cosplay costumes, a paper-thin plot, and a severe case of style over substance.  I understand this is his style, but when big ideas are only half-realized its hard to take him serious as a director when I’m taking him as a one trick pony.

While I don’t really enjoy Snyder’s other films (see above), I did enjoy “Dawn of the Dead.”  While on the surface it’s a remake, there are things that are done well, and other things that tweak me.

The premise is the same as the George A Romero’s original; The zombie apocalypse is in full swing and a small group of survivors head to the mall to buy some Dockers and make their stand.  While the mall provides the group with everything they need, from food to recreation, they begin feeling trapped by the zombies outside the mall hungry for their flesh.  As its been told over and over, ad nauseam, the film’s setting, a mall, along with the zombie invasion, is an allegory for consumerism and how we, the “zombified” public, feel the need to endlessly consume and spend.  While Snyder’s remake does have a mall where survivors are holed up, the meaning behind the film is lost and is essentially a zombie action film.

What Snyder does right is pay homage, in part, to some of the original actors.  Both Ken Foree and Tom Savini have fun cameos as a preacher and a sheriff, respectively.  He also, as opposed to his other films, keeps the slow-motion to a minimum and tries to flesh out his characters with somewhat of a back story.  The actors look like they are having a good time, and while cheesy at times, the acting is solid for a horror film.  As a Troma fan, I also appreciate the fact that James Gunn wrote the original script of “Dead.”  An independent dude makes good.  Now, let me explain why run is the word of the day.

What I can’t get behind, and the problem I’ve always had was this……the running zombie.  Oy vey!  I’m a purist first of all, zombies are shamblers, walkers, they might have a little giddy-up, but they are not sprinters.  When you die you develop rigor mortis brain/body decay, which would have a major effect on the way that you move and react. 

I’ll also say this; I love “28 Days Later.”  There is an explanation why those “zombies” run.  They aren’t zombies!  They don’t die, re-animate, and come looking to eat your brains, this is because they are infected with a virus (a rage virus to be exact).  If you’re going to be the “living dead” you shouldn’t be able to run, its physiologically impossible.

For as much of a problem that I have with the running zombies, I enjoy “Dead” very much, it’s just the little quirks that stop me from saying this remake is better than the original.  It appeals to the ADD crowd with running zombies, slow-motion, quick cuts, and isolates the purists a bit, but overall, Snyder creates a neo-zombie film that gives the audiences everything they want; hardcore zombie gore, boobs (a little), and intense action.  Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead” is worthy of your time.

Fun Fact:  While the original “Dead” took place in the greater Philadelphia/Pittsburgh area, the remake takes place in Milwaukee, WI.

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