‘Day of the Dead’ 2008 Blu-ray Review
One of my biggest beefs with the horror genre the last 10 years has been the amount of remakes to hit the market. I don’t mind remakes as long as they bring something new to the table, but also use elements from the original. There is no point to remake a movie frame for frame, at that point I might as well just go and see the original. George Romero’s ‘Dead’ films as of late have been on the chopping block receiving remake after remake to try and cash-in on his concept which was heavily inspired by the book ‘I Am Legend’.
Then a few years ago, the ‘Day of the Dead’ remake is announced and I am happy that we get another zombie film that will most likely do justice to the original ‘Day’. ‘Day’ was always considered the low point of the Romero zombie movies in people’s eyes until ‘Land’ came along. With the original ‘Day’, Romero had a grander vision scaled out, but wasn’t able to get the budget needed to accomplish the task. I have read the original script and storyboards of his original vision; it would have made for an epic film.
23 years later with the 2008 remake of ‘Day’, we have Steve Miner behind the director’s chair. ‘Day’ doesn’t follow suit with ‘Night’ and ‘Day’ remakes by going to the theater, it goes straight to video. ‘Day’ 08 take a different approach from the original which some will like and others may not be too happy with.
‘Day’ 08 focuses on the military, like the original, except this time the military are the good guys and the scientists are the antagonists alongside the zombies. In the original, the scientists and military are in an underground bunker….but that is not the case here as all the action takes place on ground, in a hospital, and a radio station. One of the problems here is that we lose any focus on character development like in the original ‘Day’ and the focus is shifted to the military. Instead of having a very explosive start to ‘Day’, the film begins with a bunch of teenagers Trevor Bowman (Michael Welch) and Nina (AnnaLynne McCord) partying with their friend in the woods. One of their friends starts getting flu like symptoms which leads to a trip back into town.
As the town gets infected by the Bluelight Virus, people start turning into zombies and all hell breaks loose. This is more of an airborne virus that turns the living into the dead. Military soldier Sarah (Mena Suvari) and Captain Rhodes (Ving Rhames) with the remaining military are up against the clock to stop this zombie invasion from spreading any further. The zombies in this movie are even superior to the zombies in ‘28 Days’ or the ‘Dawn’ remake. These zombies could jump 15 feet, jump out of windows 40 feet high landing on their feet, crawl on walls like spider-zombies, and the best of all the scientist zombie that must have dodged about 400 rounds of ammo before going into hiding. It is stupid stuff like this that I can’t take a movie seriously. I can deal with the zombies in ‘Dawn’ remake and ‘28 Days/Weeks’, but these were straight out of a Resident Evil movie. The best part of all this is when a zombie is torched, they literally explode and all you have is ashes.
Besides this movie being titled ‘Day of the Dead’ and called a remake, another issue that I have is the casting. They did a total butcher job on casting, especially when you feel Mena Suvari was miscast in her role. We also have Captain Rhodes (Ving Rhames) that is nothing like the original Rhodes. That is a shame that an actor like Rhames wasn’t given much time in this role. Considering the role he played in the ‘Dawn’ remake was very well done. Then we have Salazar (Nick Cannon) as a smart mouth military soldier that thought he was a tough guy throughout the movie. At this point I was cheering for him to become zombie fodder. The best of all for you original ‘Day’ fans, is when you are introduced to the Bud (Stark Sands) character. This is supposed to sort of be like Bub from the original. Wait till the total off the wall explanation on his character.
At this point I feel like something did go horribly wrong with the script. I give all movies a chance, from A-list to C-list films, but this one is right up there with the ‘Day of the Dead’ sequel ‘Day of the Dead 2: Contagion’. I see both movies as having some decent elements that could have been good, but once you decide to act as either a remake or sequel to one of Romero’s classics and churn out a failed attempt you will get burned by critiques of all kinds. If this movie didn’t have the ‘Remake’ or ‘Day of the Dead’ name attached, this would be a pretty good zombie film.
Movie Content: 3/5
The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The image quality of this print is noticeably an upgrade over the DVD version that released earlier this year. Colors are rather soft throughout the entire presentation. Blacks are strong. Details are very good in some the majority of the scenes as there are some that do lack focus. Lighting could have been better in some of the darker scenes at the beginning of the film as they appear to dark. Darker scenes towards the last half of the film have a blue tint which is much better.
There is a strong yellow and green tint throughout the film. It appears as if these were the two colors that they wanted to heavily push. Some subtle film grain exists in certain scenes, but nothing obtrusive. There were white specs every so often on the print. The sad thing is that this print could have really looked good if these little mishaps were taken care of in the editing room.
Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. The audio is really good with ‘Day of the Dead’ as it packs a punch. The soundfield is engaging at all times if it the soundtrack, special effects, vehicles driving by, gunfire, or the zombies attacking. The rears encompass nice directional movement from speaker to speaker. Dialogue is clean for the most part through the center channel, but I did find a few times where there was distortion/scratching in the dialogue. This is a well balanced mix without having to adjust the volume to hear the dialogue.
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
- Commentary Provided by Jeffrey Reddick, Steve Miner, and Cast Members
- On The Set (14:11) [SD]
- Alternate Ending (5:56) [SD]
- International Trailer (1:43) [SD]
- Unrated Trailer (2:32) [SD]
- Theatrical Trailer (1:47) [SD]
- Photo Gallery [HD]
- Separate Interviews with Mena Suvari, Nick Cannon, Annalynne McCord, Michael Welch, Stark Sands, Steve Miner, and Dean Jones (avg. around 1:15-3:28 each) [SD]
- Previews – The Breed, Transsiberian, War Inc, Immoral [SD]
Special Features: 3/5
The Final Word
I am glad that the Blu-ray packaging is much better than the horrid DVD release packaging. Video and Audio quality are an upgrade over the DVD which I would recommend an upgrade. My biggest gripe with this release as to do with the choice in some of the acting and a few plot elements or else this could have been a much better film.
Overall Rating: 3/5 (Rental)