Dawn of the Dead
I'd like to say that this film is just another example of the Hollywood creative machine coming to a complete halt, but that would be somewhat disingenuous. After all, remakes are becoming a staple of the film season. Generally speaking, they automatically eliminate problems with that most pestering of all gnats: the screenwriter. What better way to make a movie than with a prepackaged story?
And it's not like the zombie genre doesn't need a little rework. The idea of the dead walking the earth may indeed be an interesting one, but if you haven't pondered the question of how these slow-moving zombies are always catching fast moving teenagers, then you probably haven't been on planet Earth too long yourself. The zombie genre has always been somewhat farcical because we all sit in the audience and scream "Run!" at the top of our lungs and then laugh as the stupid people never seem to do what we tell them.
So kudos to director Zack Snyder for solving this problem. The zombies in this remake are definitely fast, and they can run. The people who eventually populate the mall don't have anywhere else to go and they just can't leave. They can't outrun the zombies. Getting in a truck and just driving off isn't even a good possibility as the mass of dead flesh kind of gets in the way.
Still, Snyder is unable to escape the stupidity completely. The most ridiculous instance involves Andre (Mekhi Phifer) and his pregnant Russian bride. She's obviously been bitten, but Andre is determined to see things through. Not only is he on a path to a bad end, but everyone else just seems to ignore him until it's too late. If I were stuck in a mall and I knew that a bite from one of these zombies equated certain death, the first thing I'd do is check everyone for bites. But okay, Andre and the Russian babe hide the bite well. Still, his insistence on bringing the obviously infected newborn into the world is strictly a plot device whose sole purpose is to rid the movie of a few characters.
There's also the initial stupidity of the mall's security guard (again, is there any other kind of security guard?), CJ (Michael Kelly), who sees his first opportunity for real power and runs with it. It's hard to figure exactly what he's thinking when Kenneth (Ving Rhames), Ana (Sarah Polley), Andre and his bride first show up, but helping them isn't on his list.
Ultimately, there's only so much that can happen in a zombie remake. If you know the story, there aren't any surprises. It's just more crap from a Hollywood creative machine turned almost completely off.
To spread the word about this Dawn of the Dead review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.