This review is for the Blu-Ray version of the Collector's Edition of 'Dawn of the Dead' released by Shout! Factory in 2017.
*****IMPORTANT***** For anybody looking at this for the first time, this is a remake of the original movie made by George Romero in the 70's.
If you are a fan of the original, I'd suspect that you would at least like parts of this movie if not the whole thing. Like any movie that is being remade, there will be a lot of things fans of the original do not like. That is pretty much the case for any remake or adaption of a book from a much loved story.
BLU-RAY: For the theatrical version, the print is made from a new HD master derived from the digital intermediate archival negative. For the Unrated version,there is a new HD master derived from the digital intermediate archival negative with HD inserts.
I watched the unrated version. I'm not sure how the original looked but this version looks excellent. The colors are very bright. It looks as if the contrast has been turned up and some of the darker area's are hard to see. But overall I like the look.
EXTRA'S: This collector's edition is loaded with extra's and gets 5 stars for them. They are:
DISC ONE – Theatrical Version: I admit it, I didn't watch the interviews on Disc One but I watched all of the extra's on Disc Two... for a review, just look below...
• NEW Take A Chance on Me – an interview with actor Ty Burrell
• NEW Gunn for Hire – an interview with writer James Gunn
• NEW Punk, Rock & Zombie – an interview with actor Jake Weber
• NEW Killing Time at the Mall: The Special Effects of Dawn of the Dead – an interview with special makeup effects artists David Anderson and Heather Langenkamp Anderson
• Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by director Zach Snyder and producer Eric Newman
• Theatrical Trailer
• Still Gallery
DISC TWO – Unrated Version:
• Audio Commentary with director Zach Snyder and producer Eric Newman
• Splitting Headaches: Anatomy of Exploding Heads - This is exactly what it says it is. It is about a 5 minute documentary on how the special effects team made the exploding heads.
• Attack of the Living Dead - This featurette highlight's 6 of the most important zombies in the movie and how and why they were hired for their parts.
• Raising the Dead - A short featurette on the make up artists and the many extra's who worked in the movie. It talks about the different types of zombies as well as how many people were needed for the job.
• Andy’s Lost Tape - This is a fictional video recording made by Andy. He's the guy who was in the building across the street from the mall. He makes the tape with the premise that he's recording his thoughts for a book. This is very well done. It incorporates all the scenes involving him in the movie. He is taping over a previous tape of his wife and daughter from the year before. It lasts about 16 minutes.
• Special Report: Zombie Invasion - This was very well done. It's almost like a mini 21 minute movie. This is shot from the point of view of the viewer watching a newscast. You have a reporter who updates you and some video clips from out in the field by investigative reporters just like you would see if the zombie apocalypse was actually happening.
While watching this, I was thinking to myself that this sort of reminded me of World War Z by Max Brooks and sure enough you see some interview clips with Brooks in these extra's.
• Undead and Loving It: A Mockumentary - This is an entertaining fictional 'Making of' documentary of this movie. In it, the zombies are assumed to be real and are being hired to act in this movie. The production team complains about the needs of the zombies and the zombies complain about wanting to get better parts in movies.
• Drawing the Dead featurette
• Storyboard Comparisons
• Hidden Easter Egg
PLOT/SUMMARY: If you are purchasing this collector's edition then you have likely seen the movie. If not and you are new to this movie, I will give a very brief summary.
The zombie apocalypse hits a small city and a group of people end up taking refuge a shopping mall. Unfortunately when they get there, there are 3 mall security people who don't trust them and take their weapons and lock them up. Eventually they get loose and turn the tables on the security guards with the help of one of the security guards who takes their side. Their only communication is with a person across the street from the mall. They communicate by holding up signs. After a few days another group of people show up at the mall and join them. One of the newcomers has a boat and a plan is hatched to escape the mall and head to a hopefully deserted island.
COMMENTS: First off, I know I am nitpicking with some of my complaints. I get it....if things were logical we wouldn't have a movie. But I don't agree with that statement. I can think of lots of ways to make a zombie movie that would be logical.
-Why did they have to go and ruin the end with the scenes during the post movie credits? They should have just left well enough alone or at least let the movie have a somewhat happy ending.
-I can't believe the survivors wanted to leave the mall. I can't think of a better place to be all things considered. They have everything they need to live. In addition, there was a gun shop across the street. They had plenty of food. Granted they would run out eventually but why rush? They could have slowly picked off the zombies until they were all gone.
-I thought that the pregnant girl disappearing for all that time would have raised some suspicions..
-I didn't like how the security cop turned from being a bad guy into a good guy. His change was just too radical.
-I think the guy in the store could have basically eliminated all the zombies if he tried.
CONCLUSIONS: I think if you are a fan of the genre then you should watch this movie. I get it... if you like the George Romero's original then you might not think this one is so great. But if you look at it objectively, say... as if the original never was made, then I think that most people would say that this version is pretty good. Ultimately I was entertained, that's what this is all about, isn't it?
PLOT: 7/10 or 3 1/2 stars. I wasn't thrilled with the changes.
EXTRA'S: 10/10 or 5 stars - Everything you could want is here... and then some...
SFX: 8/10 or 4 stars. For the most part, I thought this was pretty good.
THE NEW ENDING: 2/10 or 1 star - I hated it, the credit sequence made it worse
OVERALL: 9/10 or 4 1/2 stars which I'm raising to 5 stars - Ending be damned, I was entertained.