Land of the Dead (2005)

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Released 6-Dec-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of-Undead Again
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-A Day With The Living Dead
Featurette-Bringing the Dead To Life
Featurette-The Remaining Bits
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers
Featurette-When Shaun Met George
Featurette-Scenes Of Carnage
Featurette-Zombie Effects: From Green Screen To Finished Scene
Storyboard Comparisons-Bringing The Storyboards To Life
Featurette-Scream Tests: Zombie Casting Call
Trailer-King Kong, The Skeleton Key
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 92:53 (Case: 96)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By George A. Romero
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Simon Baker
John Leguizamo
Dennis Hopper
Asia Argento
Robert Joy
Eugene Clark
Joanne Boland
Tony Nappo
Jennifer Baxter
Boyd Banks
Jasmin Geljo
Max McCabe
Tony Munch
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Reinhold Heil
Johnny Klimek
M.E. Law


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Hungarian
Danish
Finnish
Hebrew
Icelandic
Norwegian
Swedish
English Audio Commentary
Hungarian Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Hebrew Audio Commentary
Icelandic Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Land of the Dead is the latest offering from zombie legend George A. Romero. The movie is set in a post apocalyptic world where zombies roam, ever in search of human flesh, and the remaining survivors have taken refuge in fortified cities, only coming out in search of supplies.

    Against this backdrop we find society’s elite going about their everyday lives as if nothing is wrong, housed in the luxury high rise apartments of Fiddler’s Green. Meanwhile there is a growing resentment of the rich, as the poor are forced to eke out a living in the fortified slums that surround Fiddler’s Green. Beyond the barriers and electrified barbed wire lies a world in ruins, overrun by the zombies, the “walkers” or "stenches" as they are otherwise known.

    Armed patrols are forced to leave the city at night and move into the abandoned townships to scrounge for food and supplies. Riley (Simon Baker) and Cholo (John Leguizamo) head the raiding parties with Dead Reckoning, a large heavily armoured vehicle, at the lead. They are, however, two very different people - Riley is a team player who is prepared to follow the rules, while Cholo is willing to place lives at risk in order to improve his lot in life.

    Fiddler’s Green and its surrounding stronghold are controlled by Kaufman (Dennis Hopper), an unscrupulous man who is driven by greed and his passion for power. Kaufman is prepared to eliminate anyone who questions his authority and Cholo is the perfect man to carry out his dirty work.

    Unlike many of the zombie movies I have seen over the years, Land of the Dead is well crafted and contains a number of subplots. What makes this movie even more interesting is the fact that the zombies have “evolved” to a point where they are capable of showing some basic powers of reasoning. We’re not talking about complex puzzle solving here, just the instinct to survive.   

    Land of the Dead contains enough blood, gore, decapitation and cannibalism to sate the appetite of any zombie movie fan.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is excellent.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    Image sharpness and shadow detail are superb. There is no low level noise.

    With the majority of the story taking place at night, or within the confines of the city, there are few opportunities to splash out on vivid colours, but there are, of course, ample opportunities to depict bright red blood. Skin tones appear natural.

    Apart from some minor grain during a few of the many darker scenes, this is a very clean transfer. The only MPEG artefact was some posterization in the river’s surface at 57:16. Film-to-video artefacts and film artefacts are non-existent. 

    English, Hungarian, Danish, Finish, Hebrew, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles are available, along with Audio Commentary subtitles for each of the above languages. I sampled the English and English Commentary subtitles. They are easy to read and accurately reflect the spoken word.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring at 66:22. I did not notice the layer change on my equipment.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is excellent, though I had to turn my amplifier up a touch to really feel the full impact of the audio track.

    The available audio tracks include English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s) and Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s), as well as an English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) Audio Commentary track. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 and the English Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio Commentary tracks.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times. I did not notice any audio sync issues with this DVD. 

    The musical score supports the onscreen action seamlessly, producing an atmosphere of suspense.

    The surround channels are actively used throughout the movie. Most of the action takes place at night so the directional cues play an essential role in placing the viewer in the midst of creeping zombies.

    The subwoofer gets an extensive work-out, supplying plenty of low-end bass to the numerous explosions and rumbling trucks. The LFE channel is well mixed and not used excessively.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The DVD contains a broad selection of extras, though for the most part their worth is questionable.

Menu

    The main menu follows the compulsory anti-piracy ads and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The menu contains a series of animated sequences and is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 (Surround) audio track.

Undead Again: The Making Of Land Of The Dead (12:57)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 (Surround) audio track, this is little more than a glorified promo that introduces the actors and the plot. It also plays homage to George A. Romero.

A Day With The Living Dead (7:35)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 (Surround) audio track. John Leguizamo takes us on a behind the scenes look at the Land of the Dead set. It includes impromptu interviews with a number of the cast and crew.

Bringing The Dead To Life (9:32)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 (Surround) audio track. Special Effects Makeup Designer Greg Nicotero talks about the makeup and prosthetics used to animate the dead.

The Remaining Bits (2:57)

    A brief look at some of the cut scenes.

Audio Commentary

    The Audio Commentary is presented by Director George A. Romero, Producer Peter Grunwald, and Editor Michael Doherty. In my opinion this is the pick of the extras and includes zombie lore and the laws that govern their existence.

When Shaun Met George (13:00)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 1.0 audio track. This is a short documentary that follows Simon Pegg, star and co-writer of Shaun of the Dead, and Edgar Wright, Director and co-writer of Shaun of the Dead, as they visit the set of Land of the Dead. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright meet their idol, George A. Romero, and get to make cameo appearances - as zombies.

Scenes Of Carnage (1:44)

    A collage of gore scenes, taken from the movie and set to classical music.

Zombie Effects: From Green Screen To Finished Scene (3:19)

    A demonstration of movie magic. The raw footage is displayed first, followed by the final product after the special effects have been added.

Bringing The Storyboards To Life (7:56)

    A series of story boards followed by the completed scenes.

Scream Tests: Zombie Casting Call (1:05)

   A short clip depicting CGI animated dancing zombies. The graphics are poorly rendered and I have to ask - Why?

Trailer – King Kong (2:29)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 (Surround) audio track.

Trailer – The Skeleton Key (2:19)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 (Surround) audio track.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    I would favour the Region 1 version of this disc as it includes a dts 5.1 audio track.

Summary

    Land of the Dead is a cut above your average zombie movie and it is sure to please the intended audience.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    Despite the many extras available, much of the content is of little interest and will probably leave fans of the zombie genre hungry for something to sink their teeth into.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Aaron Devereaux (read my bio)
Monday, November 14, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-533K, using Component output
DisplayInFocus Screenplay 7200 with ScreenTechnics 100" (16x9) screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC -A11SR
SpeakersJamo D6PEX wall mounted Speakers and Powered Sub (7.1)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
No DTS??? -
The original aspect ratio was 2:35:1 - J Sebastian REPLY POSTED