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Has anyone seen the new Dawn of the Dead yet? If so, what did you think? I've been reading reviews on-line and the general consensus seems to be that the film-makers set the bar fairly low and then cleared it with ease. Reveiwers seem to disagree about whether the film incorporates the social commentary on consumer culture central to George Romero's 1978 original.

Roger Ebert writes,
The contrast between this new version of "Dawn of the Dead" and the 1979 George Romero original is instructive in the ways that Hollywood has grown more skillful and less daring over the years. From a technical point of view, the new "Dawn" is slicker and more polished, and the acting is better, too. But it lacks the mordant humor of the Romero version, and although both films are mostly set inside a shopping mall, only Romero uses that as an occasion for satirical jabs at a consumer society.

Jeffrey M. Anderson, movie critic for the San Francisco Examiner concurs,
The only thing this "Dawn" has in common with its predecessor is its shopping mall set. Whereas Romero used this complex as a comment on consumerism, the new film uses it as a set and nothing more. Better not to think about it ... just buy it.

But Nick LaSalle of SFGate.com seems to disagree,
With its ravenous undead zombies on a rampage and the few remaining humans hiding out in an abandoned shopping mall, it's a movie that makes an implicit commentary on the nature of consumer culture. But unlike the 1978 "Dawn of the Dead,'' this remake of the George A. Romero film keeps that metaphor implicit and its social satire under wraps.

If you've seen the new movie, please tell me what you thought of it.

I wanted to watch the original Dawn of the Dead, but the local video store didn't have it, so I rented Day of the Dead instead. To my delight, I found two discs when I opened the DVD case; one filled with bonus material. Also to my delight, this film fared better upon a second viewing a decade removed from the first and only other time I saw it. Some of the acting was a bit rough around the edges, but for the most part, the film held together very well, and the zombie effects looked as good tonight as they ever did. I can think of a few CGI-based movie effects that impressed me upon initial viewing but which aged rapidly as the technology continued to advance at the relentless pace of Moore's Law. It amazes me that Romero and crew made Day of the Dead for just $3 million. I'm sure the makers of the new Dawn of the Dead spent far more than that just promoting their movie.

By Romero's own account, Day of the Dead was an angry, cynical movie, but in the end, the three characters who exhibit moral fibre and good will survive, while the tin pot dictator, his minions, the amoral scientist, and the likable but weak-willed soldier all die. Another scientist who did nothing particularly blame-worthy dies, but his death comes in the form of an unexpected point-blank gunshot to the head, so he doesn't have to suffer or endure the dread of an impending and inevitable death as do the tyranical soldiers. The true good guys emerge from the underworld and escape to a tropical island paradise.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 22nd, 2004 04:08 pm (UTC)
what did you think of 28 days later?
Loved it.
Mar. 22nd, 2004 09:09 am (UTC)
You should come over and check out reelwild and contribute when you watch films yourself. There's a review by vyoma of that movie from the weekend.
Mar. 22nd, 2004 04:10 pm (UTC)
I'll check it out.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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