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Land of the Dead
Directed by George A. Romero
Produced by Mark Canton
Bernie Goldmann
Peter Grunwald
Written by George A. Romero
Starring Simon Baker
John Leguizamo
Dennis Hopper
Asia Argento
Music by Reinhold Heil
Johnny Klimek
Cinematography Miroslaw Baszak
Editing by Michael Doherty
Studio Universal Pictures
Atmosphere Entertainment MM
Exception Wild Bunch
Romero-Grunwald Productions
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) June 24, 2005
(United States)
August 4, 2005
(Australia & New Zealand)
September 23, 2005
(United Kingdom)
Running time 93 minutes
Language English
Budget $15,000,000[1]
Gross revenue $46,770,602[2]
Preceded by Day of the Dead
Followed by Diary of the Dead

Land of the Dead (also known as George A. Romero's Land of the Dead) is a horror film by director George A. Romero, the fourth of Romero's six Living Dead movies. It is preceded by Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, and succeeded by Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. It was released in 2005 and became a success, grossing over $40 million, and had a budget of $16 million, the highest in the series.[1][2]

The story of Land of the Dead deals with a zombie assault on Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where a feudal like government exists. The survivors in the film have fled to the city. The city is protected on three sides by a large river and on the other by an electric barricade.

Released on June 24, 2005 in North America, Land of the Dead received mostly positive reviews from film critics.

Contents

Plot

Some time ago, a catastrophe destroyed much of human civilization. The recently dead, for an unknown reason, had returned to life and took the lives of the living. These "stenches" multiplied rapidly by adding to their ranks with every new victim. Several years later, the dead greatly outnumber the living. Many of the living in the vicinity have fled to the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where a feudal-like government has taken hold. Bordered on three sides by a large river and on the other by an electric barricade, the city has become a sanctuary against the undead threat. Fiddler's Green, the center of this city, is where the rich and powerful live in luxury while the rest of the population in the city lives in poverty. Paul Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) rules the city with an iron fist and overwhelming firepower.

Kaufman financed the construction of Dead Reckoning, a heavily armored vehicle that can venture out into the world of the dead with relative ease. Armed with remote-controlled external heavy machine guns and video cameras to spot zombies on the sides, Dead Reckoning primarily functions as a moving fireworks display base: zombies are fascinated by fireworks, and, just like humans, will stare gaping at them while ignoring the humans moving through the streets around them. Riley Denbo (Simon Baker), both the designer and commander of Dead Reckoning, has recently retired. Unlike Kaufman, Denbo is respected by the citizens of the city for his work in protecting them from danger, as well as bringing them critical food and medical supplies, things which they can no longer acquire for themselves. This is the purpose of the "Dead Reckoning," and the teams that accompany it. However, Denbo discovers that the man he got a car from, Chihuahua (Phil Fondacaro), is responsible for the car's disappearance. Denbo then discovers Chihuahua trying to feed Slack (Asia Argento), a hooker, to zombies. Angered at this, Riley and Charlie (Robert Joy) save Slack and kill the man Riley was to get his car from so he could travel out of the Green. The three are soon arrested and taken to jail, where Slack reveals she was to be killed by zombies on Kaufman's orders, because she is actually an agent for Mulligan (Bruce McFee). Mulligan is an Irishman who once worked with Riley, but now has turned against Kaufman's class society and is trying to gather rebels among the poor. Part of his anger may be that he has no way, aside from Riley's supplies, to gain antibiotics for his infirm son.

Meanwhile, Cholo DeMora (John Leguizamo), the second in command of the Dead Reckoning team, having been turned down by Kaufman from buying an apartment in Fiddler's Green, has gone renegade. Having his dreams shattered by Kaufman - for whom he has been secretly employed (among his tasks the disposal of the corpses of Kaufman's murdered enemies) - Cholo is out to even the score. He threatens to destroy Fiddler's Green with the Dead Reckoning, which he manages to hijack the vehicle, along with Pretty Boy (Joanne Boland), Mouse (Maxwell McCabe-Lokos), Anchor (Tony Munch) and Foxy (Tony Nappo) who all believe in his cause. His threat stands unless his demands are met. Zombies attack as he is leaving, but Cholo doesn't care and orders his crew to drive away without intervening. Kaufman turns to Riley to stop Cholo from exacting his revenge. He is assigned three other officers, Manolete (Sasha Roiz), Motown (Krista Bridges) and Pillsbury (Pedro Miguel Arce), all of whom work for Kaufman and provide escort. After Manolete is bitten, Riley interrogates the other two, making his position quite clear to them. He has a tracking device, so that he knows where to find the "Dead Reckoning." They get there, and wait. He goes only with Charlie, leaving the other three behind. Motown wants to stop him, but Pillsbury betrays her and knocks her out, then gives Slack safe escort to follow Riley. When Riley finally catches Cholo, he is very nearly killed by Cholo, while the crew caught in the crossfire, including Slack, who moves for Riley's defense. Motown arrives, and is attacked by a zombie. Her death provides a distraction, so Riley shuts down Dead Reckoning's ability to use its weapons. With that, Riley convinces him to allow him to take Dead Reckoning and leave the city to head north. Cholo elects to take the Woody, an old GM station wagon with out a roof, and to go west, Foxy decides to go with him, however shortly after this Cholo is bitten by a zombie. Cholo leaves for the city, wanting to finish off Kauffman, Foxy takes the Woody and drives him to the entrance, before heading to Cleveland. During this, Riley and his crew then notice fires in the city and head back to try and save the city.

Meanwhile, zombies seem to have resumed aspects of their past lives: a former brass band blows ineffectively on their aging horns, a cheerleader carries her pompoms, a dead couple walk hand-in-hand. A leader has risen among their ranks; "Big Daddy" (Eugene Clark), a former gas station owner who continues to amble out to the pumps every time a fellow zombie causes the bell to ring, takes center stage as the leader of the undead. Unusually aware and intelligent, Big Daddy (in a continuance of the "Bub" plot-line from Day of the Dead) directs some of his fellow zombies to use firearms and overcome the more rudimentary human defenses. The zombies are beginning to learn, adapt, and even to communicate with primitive moans and grunts. In retaliation for the constant raids carried out by Dead Reckoning, Big Daddy ultimately leads the zombies in a massive assault on the human city when he realizes that the zombies can simply walk on the bottom of the riverbed underneath the water to reach the humans. The center of the carnage takes place at Fiddler's Green. Kaufman witnesses his kingdom coming to pieces before his very eyes as the zombies overcome the humans in a bloody massacre. As the zombies overtake the city, the humans discover that the electric fence defenses previously used to keep the zombies out have now become a wall to keep them in.

As retribution after being shot by Kaufman, Big Daddy trails the fleeing despot to an underground garage where Kaufman plans to escape in a Lincoln Town Car. Big Daddy finds Kaufman's car next to a gas pump and, in a moment of revelation, Big Daddy begins pumping gas into the car through a hole in the windshield. Apparently satisfied, he lumbers out of the garage. Cholo, now reanimated, manages to track Kaufman down. He confronts him in the garage and uses his trademark speargun for a short duel, he then discards it and bites him. However, Big Daddy is not finished; he displays his intelligence once again when he rolls a burning object toward Kaufman's gasoline-soaked vehicle. It explodes, incinerating both Kaufman and the undead Cholo.

Meanwhile, Denbo and Dead Reckoning have fought to free the inhabitants of the now-overtaken city. At the electric fence, the crew discovers a massacre; with nowhere to run, impoverished and elite alike became a walking dead smorgasbord. Destroying the fence, however, the crew finds that some of the city's lower-class inhabitants had followed Mulligan, who led them to a safe shelter elsewhere. This small group had survived. After the zombies destroy the class system created by Kaufman by killing most of the city's elite ranks, the playing field is leveled and the zombies withdraw. After the attack, it seems like most of the population of the city have survived. During all this Anchor is nearly killed by a legless zombie, however Pillsbury saves him. Pretty Boy, the driver of the "Dead Reckoning," gets a clear shot at Big Daddy as the zombies leave, but Riley orders her to stop, because, like him, they're "just looking for a place to go." Denbo and his friends leave the city with the Dead Reckoning, striking out for the north. As they leave, they fire all of Dead Reckoning's fireworks (which they won't need anymore now that they have lost their captivating effect on the undead) in a display of celebration.

Cast

Production

Earlier script titles included Twilight of the Dead, Dead City and Dead Reckoning (the same as the military vehicle used in the film). Romero said in an interview [1] that one of the first potential film studios (20th Century Fox) wanted the film to be titled Night of the Living Dead. He refused, wanting to use the title Dead Reckoning, and the studio then wanted to title it Night of the Living Dead: Dead Reckoning. It turned out that Fox sought to own the rights to Night of the Living Dead, and Romero decided not to do business with them.

Filming took place in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.[3]

Rating

It is the first movie in the series to receive an MPAA rating for its theatrical release. Romero had said for years that he would film two versions; an R rated cut for the theatres and first DVD, and an unrated cut for the second DVD release. Both DVDs were released in the U.S. on October 18, 2005. Rumors suggested that Romero shot alternate, less explicit, gore scenes for the theatrical release, but this is not entirely accurate. The more extreme instances of gore (e.g. a woman having her navel piercing graphically torn out by a zombie) were obscured by foreground elements filmed on bluescreen, so that these overlayed elements could be easily removed for the unrated DVD. Other ways to obscure blood in order to get an R-rating were achieved by simply trimming the grislier shots by a few seconds, by digitally repainting blood so that it is more black than red, or by digitally painting the blood out altogether.

The Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario gave both the theatrical version and DVD version a rating of 18A, though it was only given a 13+ rating in Quebec.

In the UK the BBFC gave it a 15 certificate for both the theatrical version and the unrated version. (The UK "Director's Cut" DVD was rated 18 due to extras being rated higher than the feature itself).

In Germany, both the theatrical and unrated versions were rated 18, rendering the purpose of the cut theatrical version redundant. As such, only the unrated version was widely available in Germany.

The movie was banned in Ukraine.[4]

Release

The film was met with positive reviews upon release, the film was released one year after the remake of Dawn of the Dead was released international to cinema. The film grossed over 40 million dollars and is second behind Dawn of the Dead with the highest grossing revenue in the living dead series, the two lowest being Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Diary of the Dead (2008).[2] The film opened the MTV Saturday Horror block on 27 February 2010.[5]

Reception

Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four for what he considered its skillful and creative allusions, something that he argued was pervasive among Romero's previous three installments that contained numerous satirical metaphors to the reality of American life. In this installment Ebert noted the similarities between the fireworks mesmerizing the zombies and the shock and awe tactics applied during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and the movie's distinction between the rich and poor, those that live in Fiddler's Green and those that live in the slums, something he considered to be Romero's take on the rising gap between rich and poor in America.[6] Michael Wilmington of Chicago Tribune awarded the film four stars, writing, "It's another hard-edged, funny, playfully perverse and violent exercise in movie fear and loathing, with an increasingly dark take on a world spinning out of control. By now, Romero has become a classicist who uses character and dialogue as much as stomach-turning special effects to achieve his shivers."[7] The New York Sun declared it "the American movie of the year."[8]

Several film-makers including Eli Roth and Guillermo del Toro paid tribute to George Romero in a Land of the Dead special. Guillermo del Toro said: "Finally someone was smart enough to realize that it was about time, and gave George the tools. It should be a cause of celebration amongst all of us that Michelangelo has started another ceiling. It's really a momentous occasion ..."[9]

Overall critical reaction was mostly positive; the film received very favorable reviews from The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Premiere (magazine), Variety, Slate and Los Angeles Times. The film earned a 74% positive rating at the Rotten Tomatoes movie-review compilation website (though the "Cream of the Crop" critics' reactions were slightly more mixed, giving the film a 68% rating overall).[10]

References

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Land of the Dead is a 2005 horror film, the fourth in George A. Romero's "Dead Series" which began with Night of the Living Dead, and continued with the sequels Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. Romero also reprised the Universal logo of the 1930's in recognition of the classic Universal horror films of that earlier period.

Contents

Riley

  • [Last Line] Take us North.

Cholo

  • [Cholo notices a Zombie Gardener outside of Dead Reckoning] I know for a fact that if it wasn't for this truck I wouldn't be any different to that poor Mexican bastard out there.
  • There's only three things a man should do when he's alone, be born, die, and we all know the other thing
  • [Cholo has been bitten and Foxy asks him if he'd rather be shot] Nah, I've always wanted to see how the other half lives

Kaufman

  • Zombies, man. They creep me out.
  • In a world where the dead are returning to life, the word "trouble" loses much of its meaning.
  • [shoots Cholo who gets back up and continues toward Kaufman] Nah, you're dead! [sees that Cholo has turned into a zombie] Oh my god, you really are dead.
  • WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? YOU HAVE NO RIGHT!!!

Charlie

  • Put some flowers in the graveyard. How come you call them that, Riley? I don't get it. There here ain't the kind of flowers you lay on the ground, these here are sky flowers. Way up in heaven...
  • [Near End] Sky flowers don't work no more.

Dialogue

Motown is trying to hotwire an abandoned car.

Pillsbury: Yellow to red!
Motown: What the fuck does a Samoan know about hot-wiring a fucking car?
Pillsbury: 50,000 cars stolen in Samoa every year.
Motown: Well, a million in Detroit.
Pillsbury: Detroit has 50 million cars. Samoa, 50,000. Every one stolen.

Slack: Charlie, why do you lick your rifle?
Charlie: Catches the light.
Slack: What light? How can you see anything?
Charlie: Good eye.

Kaufman: [Kaufman gets in his private underground limo, while his driver opens the garage door] Careful when you open that door.
[Big Daddy appears, and attempts to get into the limo. His driver sees this, and runs out the garage door, leaving Kaufman in the limo]
Driver: Goodbye, Mr. K!
Kaufman: Get back here, you bastard! You've got the fucking keys!

[as Kaufman walks out of the elevator with two bags in his hands]
Board Member: What's in the bags?
Kaufman: Money.
Board Member: Whose money?
[Kaufman reaches for his gun]
Kaufman: Watch out, Get down! Quick!
[pulls him down and shoots him]
Kaufman: Ours.
[Riley calls and tells Kaufman that they have got Dead Reckoning and Cholo]
Kaufman: It's just- I've done something I wouldn't have done otherwise....

Arena Policeman: What the hell is going on here?
Riley: Someone shot the little fat man.
Arena Policeman: Yes. I can see that.

Riley: [about the fireworks] Put some flowers in the graveyard.
Charlie: Put some flowers in the graveyard. How come you call them that, Riley? I don't get it. There here ain't the kind of flowers you lay on the ground, these here are sky flowers. Way up in Heaven.
Riley: That's why I love you, Charlie; 'cause you still believe in Heaven.

Cholo: [a shot is fired] What the hell's that?
Brubaker: Oh, that's just target practice.
[scene cuts to soldiers]
Marksman: Y'see that? right between the eyes!
Veteran Soldier: Let me take a shot.

(Zombie starts to reach towards therm, but can only reach the veteran.

Veteran Soldier: Stop scratchin' my ass! You're gonna mess up my shot.
Marksman: Dude, that ain't me.
Veteran Soldier: There's nothing there, man.

[he's attacked by Big Daddy and screams]

Cholo: Okay, so what the hell's that, screaming practice?

Riley: [Slack shoots open the door, startling him] What the fuck are you doing?!
Slack: I'm making myself useful!

Riley: Make sure she doesn't hurt herself.
Slack: I can take care of myself, okay?
Riley: Fine. Charlie, make sure she doesn't hurt anyone else.

Mike: It's like a bad dream.
Charlie: I have bad dreams. Hell, yes. Just look at me, you can tell I have terrible dreams.

Charlie: What happened, Riley, did you get fucked?
Homeless man: Ha-ha! You got fucked!

[Driver of "Dead Reckoning" about to shoot Big Daddy's group]
Riley: No. They're just looking for a place to go. Same as us.

[over the phone]
Riley: The fences are still hot. We can't cut the juice from here.
Soldier: We've been trying to call the power station. There's no one left over there.
Soldier 2: [sees zombies advancing] We got to get the fuck out of here!
Soldier: There's no one left here, either. [hangs up and runs]

Cast

  • Simon Baker - Riley
  • John Leguizamo - Cholo
  • Dennis Hopper - Kaufman
  • Asia Argento - Slack
  • Robert Joy - Charlie
  • Eugene Clark - Big Daddy
  • Pedro Miguel Arce - Pillsbury
  • Krista Bridges - Motown
  • Joanne Boland - Pretty Boy
  • Tony Nappo - Foxy
  • Jennifer Baxter - Number 9
  • Boyd Banks - Butcher (Zombie)
  • Max McCabe - Mouse (as Maxwell McCabe-Lokos)
  • Tony Munch - Anchor
  • Shawn Roberts - Mike

Works Quoted

All context information in [brackets] quoted from www.imdb.com

See also

External links

Wikipedia
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