Dawn of the Dead (2004)


Dave 3-Word Review:
The Running Dead

For those of you that hate remakes, let me ask you just one simple question: do you hate the remakes because they don’t measure up to the original, don’t pay homage to the original, or something else regarding the original? For most, I find that’s the issue. Far too often do I see a remake used target practice for a compare and contrast essay. To a degree, I can see why, and I’m guilty of it myself, but that’s not what I’m about. I try to find out if the movie works well on its own, if it pays homage to the original and whatnot, that’s a plus. I say it all the time, it’s called creative freedom. Anyways, I haven’t seen the original film to Dawn of the Dead from director George Romero, and I’m going to use that fact for this review.

This is a zombie film directed by Zack Snyder about a group of survivors during the zombie apocalypse finding refuge in a shopping mall. In essence…that’s really about it. Their only true motivation is fighting for survival in order to somehow find a way out of this building so they can find a boat to sail to an island, but even that plot doesn’t show up until a good portion of the film was over. Instead, what the film relies on is dark humor and character development and chemistry between each other.

The movie looks fantastic, I’ll say that right off the bat. There’s nothing that looks bad in the film. At all. Everything from the blood to the filtered video looks great and just right in the gritty department, thank you for that, Mr. Snyder. The dark humor that I mentioned above is also really well thought up. It’s random at times, but it’s just so balanced between morbid and hilarious that it’s really memorable. Shooting zombie Jay Leno…come on, that’s entertainment. The chemistry, as mentioned above was good and the characters are all really memorable, but as for their backgrounds and history…it’s only minimal. There are a lot of characters here, and there’s just not enough time to go through these people’s lives. That’s not really what bugs me in this film, it’s the story.

The story is very, very basic. It’s your typical zombie flick, only this time they are running instead of shuffling. They bite you, you turn. It’s as simple as that. However, in this universe, no one knew what a zombie was, or that if it bit you, you would turn. Maybe they didn’t have any zombie movies in their world, but I just wasn’t buying it. This somehow makes me believe they were being honest to the original source, but I don’t know, I didn’t buy that they never heard of zombies…please. Next, the whole movie, they are practically not even fighting off the zombies. Rather kicking back in the mall’s furniture store. That may have been a part of that dark humor theme, but it’s almost like you can barely even call it a zombie film. They don’t really have a goal in the movie, not even to find the stereotypical cure for the virus killing everyone. Their goal that they finally get is introduced much too far into the film.

For me, Dawn of the Dead was simply okay. The acting was great, the visuals were fantastic, but the story was quite honestly a bland one. I have a hard time enjoying a film if there is a lack of a strong story, or characters with almost no motivation or goals. Survival is not a goal as much as it is a crisis – man v. nature to be exact.


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