Written by Robert T. Trate
Happy Halloween Junkies! Today AFJ tackles a different list with Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Certainly, hardcore Romero fans were not happy with the remake of the Cult Classic, yet as time has progressed, the Zombie genre has become bloated, Snyder really had something with modernizing this story for a whole new audience. Today, Scream Factory has released a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray with more bells and whistles than we could have ever hoped for. If you need more swaying, here is AFJ’s "8 Things We Love about Dawn of the Dead (2004)".
The MCU and DCU Creators Collaborate
Journey back with us and relish in the fact that Zack Snyder crafted this film long before he became synonymous with the current DCU. To take it one step further, this film was penned by none other than Guardians of the Galaxy writer and director James Gunn. Yes, that’s right Junkies, two of the biggest names in Comic Book Movies collaborated on a this Zombie film and you can tell.
Cameos by the Original Cast Members
In the current era of remakes and reboots cameos are nothing new. Here we have Ken Foree (seen above), Scott H. Reiniger, and Tom Savini all appearing in small roles in the remake. We further love the nod to Gaylen Ross, who played Fran in the original film, she has a store named after her in the mall. These cameos are subtle without being an obvious nod to the original.
The Zombie Baby
We have had all kinds of Zombies in cinema. None, however, were as shocking and as disturbing as Luda (Inna Korobkina) and Andre’s (Mekhi Phifer) baby. We don’t want to look but we know we have to. It is both sad and scary, like watching a train wreck which in slow-motion for over an hour.
The Character Development of CJ
Kudos to both Zack Snyder and James Gunn for the character development of CJ (Michael Kelly). From his first appearance on screen, we know the course this staple character is going to run. We think he will be the perpetual thorn in the side of our survivors. That is not the case here. Instead, CJ doesn’t see light and he never loses an ounce of who he is, he just embraces his part as a member of this family instead of trying to lead it. Leaving his death to be one of the harder ones to watch in the film.
The Analogy of Leaving of the Mall to Surviving
The point of good, if not great, Zombies films is to hold up a mirror to the real world. George Romero nailed this in his Dead Trilogy. Again, the point is nailed home when Ana (Sarah Polley) relates to the group that she doesn’t want to die there [in the mall]. As we see it, the purchasing and acquiring of things is great, but a life of commerce hunting is not real life. Sure, the group would have been safe there [in the mall] for a while, but they needed to do more than just survive, they needed a place to live.
Matt Frewer’s Death
Rarely in cinema can an actor have a death scene as poignant as Frank’s (Matt Frewer). We literally see all that he was and everything he was going to be leave his body. Zack Snyder does follow up this scene with a lot of levity, but Frewer’s performance has haunted us to this very day. Not bad for a guy who is only in the film for 10 minutes.
The Song Selection
Whether it be "The Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash, or, our personal favorite, Richard Cheese's cover of Disturbed's "Down With the Sickness”, Zack Snyder personal music selections for the film are genius. They are just another added layer of the film, that a true film aficionado can appreciate. It’s hard to believe that the studio heads were against these insertions.
Believable Levity in a Messed Up Situation
The world has literally ended. You are given no rhyme or reason for it, so what do you do? You hit golf balls at the Zombies or, our personal favorite, celebrity look-a-like sniper shooting. Of course, you would find some way to make light of your situation, or else you would go nuts.
The Scream Factory Collector’s Edition of Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead is out now! Order it HERE!
Bonus Features included in the release!
DISC ONE: Theatrical Version
• NEW HD Master Derived From The Digital Intermediate Archival Negative
• 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
• NEW HD Master Derived From The Digital Intermediate Archival Negative With HD Inserts
• Audio Commentary With Director Zach Snyder And Producer Eric Newman
• Splitting Headaches: Anatomy Of Exploding Heads
• Attack Of The Living Dead
• Raising The Dead
• Andy’s Lost Tape
• Special Report: Zombie Invasion
• Undead And Loving It: A Mockumentary
• Drawing The Dead Featurette
• Storyboard Comparisons
• Hidden Easter Egg