Return to Roots?

In the last lockdown, the viewership of my blog boomed, but since September, I was unable to keep up with my writing schedule, and hence Libberish became the barren land of age-old posts and a few out-of-place rants here and there; but it’s about damn time, I take things slowly, and try to uphold all that Libberish meant to be.

For the last year or so, Libberish became a mostly literature only blog, but since I started with posts like rant and occasional movie reviews, I think let’s start with something like that, and since I’ve established myself as an ardent Zack Snyder hater, I’ll start with the review of ‘Army of the Dead’ which I watched yesterday.

Let me be clear guys, I’m not a Zack Snyder hater; I hate what he’s done with the DCEU. And with exceptions of a few, he’s a mediocre movie maker at best.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s move on with the review.

The 2004 zombie action flick Dawn of the Dead, which was the remake of George A. Romero’s film of the same name, marked the debut of Zack Snyder. And all in all, that movie pretty good. So, in a way like this post, we can safely say, Zack Snyder returns to his roots or comfort zone.

My initial thought was, maybe Army of the Dead was a long-awaited sequel of Dawn of the Dead; but 10 minutes into the movie, I realized that is not the case; the plot is simple, Vegas is overrun with zombies and walled off. A casino there hold $200 Million in cash and a group of mercenaries, on a mission to extract that. At this moment, it looked like a better version of the suicide squad movie.

Let’s get something off my chest first; before I get all critical and technical; I liked this movie. The overall nail-biting experience was enjoyable. But, overall plot point to possess a few questions.

There a quite a few plot holes (plot-loopholes: if that pleases anyone). Quite a few conversations, which you can absolutely ignore; which in terms makes the movie unnecessarily long.  Some signature Zack Snyder color grading choices and camerawork is present.

Now, AOTD (Army of the Dead) is called, a Zombie-heist movie. And to be precise we’ve had zom-coms (Shaun of the Dead) even zombie dramas (try Cargo in Netflix). In that sense categorically, this is new. But it feels like an old wine in a new bottle; one typical crew, likes of which we saw in Ocean’s Trilogy, The Italian Job and even in the cringe that is Money Heist. Only Zack threw in the mix zombies, alpha zombies, tiger zombies, horse zombies and even a few teasers of cyborg zombies (yeah, look closely).

But what doesn’t work out for AOTD is the plot holes, which eventually drives the conflict of the movie. Even the end was predictable, but that’s also a plot hole. Overall, the performance of Dave Bautista and Ella Purnell are the main takeaways. And the gorgeous opening credits; hat’s off to Mr. Snyder. Huma Qureshi is there, but you wouldn’t miss her if she wasn’t.

ARMY OF THE DEAD (L to R) DAVE BAUTISTA as SCOTT WARD, ELLA PURNELL as KATE WARD in ARMY OF THE DEAD. Cr. CLAY ENOS/NETFLIX © 2021

Overall, AOTD makes for a fun one-time watch, yet forgettable experience. If you’re stuck in home (which you probably are) you won’t mind spending the long 2 hours runtime of the movie, but will end up with pretty satisfactory ‘meh’.

Long story short, for me it was a one-time watch and I won’t be rooting for a sequel.

Dawn of the Dead was a very nice movie for its time, but in light of recent times, ‘zombie’ genre is more or less spent. We even saw that with Resident Evil 8: Village, how the game shifted its focus from only zombies to other supernatural entities and created a great storyline. And if someone is going to rejuvenate the classic zombie movies genre, only adding a heist won’t cut it.

I still think Zack Snyder has something to offer to the world and to do that he has to move out of his comfort zone of ‘dark’ movies. For example, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole was a pleasant surprise.   

Peace…

Neel                      

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