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I Liked The Old Version Better. - Sauce1977 [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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I Liked The Old Version Better. [Mar. 20th, 2004|03:00 am]
[In the Moment |restlessrestless]
[Special Music |The Sex Pistols - Bodies]

So, after I went back to Amoeba again this evening to kill time, I saw Dawn of the Dead at the Cinerama Dome at ArcLight.

I'd never been inside the dome before . . . it was a good experience! It's more of a historical theatre, like the Chinese Theatre. The acoustics are pretty good, and the screen is curved.

The remake of Dawn . . . ah, shiznazz. So I don't spoil it for you fellow sci-fi/horror geeks, I'll lj-cut my take on it.

Okay, I have a problem with some of the film, which was quite styled and actually worth seeing despite the holes, in retrospect. I'm not pissed I spent my bucks at the ArcLight, but I'm surprised at the people who went through the trouble to have another go at Dawn didn't work on making the story as tight as the special effects.

That being said, I should also add that I like the originals more, usually . . . in this case, I liked Romero's Dawn a lot more. I actually liked 28 Days Later more, too.

Let me start off with the good things I noticed. I really enjoyed the work done on the tension of the story. In some ways, the film's reality was that of an emergency, so it's natural for the characters to act a little goofy. The film's a gripper right from the start. They do not dawdle. You are ripped right into it . . . and the first minutes of the film are really really good with regards to the flow. It sets you up well for the rest of the film.

The zombies were quite athletic! These folks played the same 'roided zombie mode that 28 Days Later had . . . suddenly, these "dead-ish" folks aren't lumbering around like the old zombies in Romero's works. They're keeping pace with moving vehicles. They're pissed, and they turn zombie right away . . . very interesting work on the makeup of the zombies made for a chilling new age living dead.

They made some new twists to the old "if you get bit, you're gonna be dead-ish." People who died without contact from zombie didn't turn into one. I thought it was interesting that they threw in a new twist with the dog. Apparently, zombies won't go after living canines. puppytron, you can rest easy. They don't eat dog.

The bloody fight scenes were quite choice. You had the exact feel of how it would be like to pump lead into those things . . . parts and bone and blood everywhere . . . yecch, and hmmmm!

Here's where I am surprised. I'll point 'em out . . .

1) Continuity error, big time, ruined it for me right away . . . the first character, the nurse, has no shoes from the hasty exit from her home. She meets up with Ving Rhames, they meet up with Mekhi Phifer and crew. They stumble upon the mall. They toss a chair through a window and enter.

Next scene, they're walking around the mall. Ana, the nurse, still does not have shoes. So, we're led to believe that she walked through the glass. Yet, her feet were not cut to shit? It was poor scene selection, that's for sure. No explanation of just how they got in there was made . . . they cut from the view of the outside of the mall to the smashing of the window to them walking around in it.

So somehow, she teleported past the glass. Also, they made a point later that the doors and windows were shatterproof. Oops, you clowns. How the hell did you get in if the glass was shatterproof? They found the only glass that would break, I guess. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I thought that was pretty piss-poor.

2) The leader-guy Security guard undergoes a strange change of heart from his original "You best be leavin'" stance. Suddenly, after he is locked up after the standoff, they let him out, and he consents to help the crew . . . and later becomes in league with the rest of the survivors, going down in a blaze of glory, helping them right to the very end . . . ?

I mean, what . . . the . . . fuck? This guy made a clear point early that he did not want to be friends, and he wanted Ving Rhames and crew out as soon as possible. Suddenly, he's helping them . . . I know his security team buddy got eaten, but that would strike me as more of a reason to want to turn on the survivors.

3) The birth of the baby from the zombie pregnant lady that Phifer was dating . . . the Russian . . . that was interesting and poorly done at the same time. I really liked the transformation scenes with the dead Russian lady, but the zombie baby was better left to something out of Peter Jackson's Dead Alive when it was done right the first time. I mean, that's such a ripoff, and poorly done too. Bleh. I guess the writers were either unaware like 90% of the world about Jackson's bad ass film, or maybe they thought that the 90% wouldn't make that connection. Oh well, it isn't the best script in the world, which is a shame, considering the opening scenes right up until the car crash were perfect.

I did, however, enjoy the fact that we learn that if a person dies, a fetus will also turn into a zombie.

4) They screwed up the innovation of the dog trick by poor setup. The girl caring about that dog would have been nice if they'd just have left her getting concerned about its safety out of the scenes. Let me explain.

Okay, that whole scene with the dog not being eaten by the zombies was perfect. Play the scene where they lower the dog, the zombies don't care, the dog delivers the food to the gun shop worker, zombies breach his door, and that's the end of it.

The dog isn't needed in the movie after that revelation. It's fine if the dog is assumed dead, or they could have had it escape, or better yet, they debate and then go over to the gun shop anyway to get the guns and find out what happened . . . or maybe they didn't need to kill off the gun shop guy in the first place . . . not right away, at least.

It really bothers me because they made a point earlier that the truck that the 2nd wave of survivors used, that truck was understood as kaput. Suddenly, the girl careens over to the gun shop in the truck? Come on, but that's lame. Over a dog? I know she's under stress, but endangerment of her life . . . over the dog? I know the dog was a good dog, but the script . . . maybe if the dog did get infected, and it went nuts on the dumb girl. Sorry, p-tron. The scene struck me as lame, that's all.

5) Finally, I don't buy the point they made about not dying from zombie-infection . . . when Phifer and the old lady shot each other.

It's an interesting idea, but it doesn't make sense because they never explained how the zombies began to re-animate, and in the previous legacies, we know that suddenly, the dead return to life . . . they even made a point of it with the one guy talking about it on the TV. So if the dead suddenly re-animate for reasons of 'hell' being filled or whatever . . . then it would only make sense if all deaths made for re-animation into zombie. The point they tried to make with Phifer and the ol' lady undermines the chilling reality that if you die, you'll turn into them . . .

The script needed more work. Some of the dialogue was goofy, but I can forgive it. I think I was expecting a better quality film above your standard Friday The 13th quality of yarn. Too many holes ruined it a little for me, but yet I was gripped by the excellent tension, so it is a worthwhile film to watch.

[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2004-03-20 03:32 am (UTC)

I have a bigger objection.

What could be worse than a story dragged through the mud with a poor re-make?

People loving it and declaring it the best zombie film ever . . . ?

Read some of the crap here:


I don't normally go off on rants with big negatives, but some of these people are either 12 year olds with nothing to reference, or they're leading to my worst fears . . .

As follows . . .

I have a problem with people who claim 28 Days Later was not as good because it, quote, "dragged along" . . . implications of 28 Days being slower, and therefore, dumb, or not as good.

Perhaps they should make a 90 minute music video with constant slaughtering and no plot. As long as the slashes per minute are 40-50 or so, and the beats per minute of your latest shit rockers are over 160, then I guess that's what people want, right?

I think that to rate this version of Dawn above Dead Alive, Night of the Living Dead, Romero's other original, the older Dawn, and probably many others including 28 Days . . . you would have to be looking for something out of the paragraph above this.

I mean, shit, I could do a 90-minute MTV movie gorefest with no plot . . . just hire the best special effects people, hire someone who's done more than a few music video shoots, and there you go . . . exactly what the people want, right?

Everyone's fine to desire what they want . . . my thoughts that wanting a 90-minute MTV slaughterfest with no actual plot, so what if I think it's idiotic . . . that makes me dumb for thinking it, right?

There is validity in pushing the older films aside with comments like "who would want to watch that old movie again?" I mean, shit, anything past 1995, that's never as good as the latest film, which has to be the best ever, because it's 2004, right?

Recent history makes for the best films, right? I guess we shouldn't reference anything, for sure, because history is boring, right? Who gives a damn about some old silent film, or a film made 10 years ago, or a film released yesterday . . . I mean, that was yesterday, right? The past is lame, right?
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[User Picture]From: fruitpunch76
2004-03-20 06:50 am (UTC)

Re: I have a bigger objection.

Let's just hope to God they never decide to remake Godfather or Scarface. If they do, I'm boycotting the movie industry forever.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2004-03-20 01:42 pm (UTC)

Re: I have a bigger objection.

Well, they just might, if they think by the merits of Godfather 3 . . . they could make a lot of money with a clever update, especially if the underworld returns to focus in the media, probably sometime after The Sopranos airs its last episode.

Trust me, it's probably talked about in Paramount boardrooms, not too far from me.
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From: sub_conscious
2004-03-20 08:03 am (UTC)
even though i've yet to see it this entry kinda of swayed me to wait until it comes out on dvd. o and i had planned on seeing it when i'm up in nyc. now i sure as hell ain't going to shell out 20$ to see something that's not worth it. i believe that 20$ would be better off seeing 'eternal sunshine of the spotless mind'.

but i terribly wanted to see it. i love zombie flicks. i loved romero's zombie trilogy. gah what to do what to do.

i read somewhere that there were tons of inaccuracies. one being that it was filmed in canada in a mall, so all the stores are canadian instead of american. another being they used the wrong tv station for that area.

yeah, perhaps it's best left to be seen on dvd.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2004-03-20 01:49 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure about the Canadian mall . . . unless there is Starbucks, I think it was a Starbucks . . . that coffee shop got heavy product/service placement.

It was supposed to be Milwaukee, and I did notice that one of the stations started with a K, which implies West Coast. They were watching them in a TV store, so satellites could be explained for the K-starting station.

Romero, from what I'm hearing, didn't want much to do with it. It shows.

What was wonderful about the original film in particular, Night of the Living Dead dealt with subplot of social conflict. At the time of that first movie's release, around the late 1960s, that was a fresh conflict. LBJ and JFK had worked hard for Civil Rights, and there still was quite a display of separatism between caucasians and blacks.

The separatism, in this film, was between 'security' and commoners, but that didn't ring true because Ving Rhames was a cop with a conscience.

Also, the other separatism was between the elite rich class and the commoners. This wasn't treated heavily because the rich guy basically played the bit comedy role, and he was just an asshole. He did, however, make a couple of points toward his importance and standing over the other folks.

It was an ill-conceived script, and that ruined it for the hard core fans like me.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2004-03-21 02:12 am (UTC)
By all accounts, everyone's lovin' Eternal Sunshine.

My roomie just returned from Detroit and watched it there, and he loved it. Apparently, Kate Winslet truly was relied upon for the major comedy, and she pretty much turned out a gem.

My other close bud Brad mentioned that a good litmus test for figuring out which film to go see is to check rottentomatoes.com . . . apparently, they read over 100 reviews on a film and give a percentage on a scale of 100 percent, the 100 being the best.

Films that drop below 25 are most always bona-fide stinkers.

In the case of Eternal Sunshine, it's supposedly in the high nineties, which is rare for a film to receive that many wonderful reviews.

If it's the case when I see it, hopefully it will strike a major blow for the cerebral film lovers.
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From: sub_conscious
2004-03-21 05:51 am (UTC)
orion and i have decided to give up seeing 'dawn' and see 'eternal' instead. probably be a better use of our money. plus on the 16th kill bill 2 comes out and we MUST see it as well. no if's and's or but's about that one.

did you see kill bill 1?
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2004-03-21 02:58 pm (UTC)
Yes. I loved it. I thought it was well worth the wait.

The beauty of Tarantino is his instinctual eye for the camera. He knows how to make his films work wonderful magic on the audience.

People may pigeon-hole him as a weak producer/writer/fluke director, but he possesses a flair with the camera that no other director seems to have. He is the man who knows too much. All of that time spent working in a video store paid off for him . . . his cult film love translates into great resurgence when he makes his amalgoms shine in his special style.

In fact, I would like to hail him a better long-term success than John Woo. After his early work, Woo looked like the next big action film-maker . . . and then, he's flopped. Tarantino laid low at times, but Kill Bill Vol. 1 had all of the magic of his older works.

In fact, the story itself is quite far-fetched and b-movie in quality. However, for it to be so well-directed . . . his imagery and action makes you forget all about the basic screenplay.

That's quality. I'm looking forward to Kill Bill Vol. 2 as well. :D
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[User Picture]From: so_gracefully
2004-03-20 09:41 am (UTC)
i went to the cineramadome once, and it was good once for the experience, but DAMN. i could have just bought the dvd for that much money. this whole capitalism thing just doesn't work for me.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2004-03-20 01:51 pm (UTC)
I know capitalism, and boy does it work for a lot of people.

Hopefully, people like us will not only grab mad cash income, but we'll use it wisely and in a manner befitting people with conscience, morals, ethics, and the like.
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[User Picture]From: apollocelsius
2004-03-21 04:18 am (UTC)
Being a Pittsburgh native(i grew up about 10 minutes away from the mall where the original was filmed) and the fact that George Romero is one of my idols i have absolutely no desire to see this new version of Dawn Of The Dead. From what you have described about this new version sauce it sounds like that they have completely ruined it. I just got done watching the original again (for about the 70th time) and i can say that no other horror movie will ever top it. You just cant remake a movie like that. Its just too classic. Im glad for the fact that George Romero has always stayed fiercely independent and has never buckled to the studio bigwigs and im glad that he wanted nothing to do with this remake. He has always kept his integrity and you just have to respect that. Here's to the next George Romero film, may it be as grand as all of his other films.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2004-03-21 02:53 pm (UTC)
Romero's a master of horror.

Plus, he adds interesting subplots to his films. They have depth, and the plot's pretty tight in comparison to the other offerings in the genre.

I fell in love with Night of the Living Dead. I've watched that film probably over 30-50 times, and I'd say it's probably my favorite of his films.

I also liked Martin very much.

Sadly, Criterion Collection has not released one of his films in their series. Criterion, to me, is like a Hall of Fame of films. Every film worth its salt should be released in Criterion. I'd love to own a copy of Romero's original 3 Dead films in a Criterion format.
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