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Dawn of the Dead (***)
Directed by Zack Snyder
Written by James Gunn, from a screenplay by George Romero
Principal Cast
Sarah Polley -- Ana
Ving Rhames -- Kenneth
Jake Weber -- Michael
Mekhi Phifer -- Andre
Ty Burrell -- Steve
Michael Kelly -- CJ
Kevin Zegers -- Terry
Michael Barry -- Bart
Lindy Booth -- Nicole
Jayne Eastwood -- Norma
Boyd Banks -- Tucker
Inna Korobkina -- Luda
R.D. Reid -- Glen
Kim Poirier -- Monica
Matt Frewer -- Frank
Ratings
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

Dawn of the Dead Times have changed. The audience was rooting for the humans when we watched the original George Romero movie Dawn of the Dead, affectionately called Mall of the Living Dead by its many fans. Now, the audience is rooting for the zombies.

As zombie movies go, Dawn of the Dead is pretty good. It serves up what it promises: lip-smacking snack attacks by zombies. It is not as arty as 28 Days Later. It is pulp fiction, with all the virtues of pulp -- due attention paid to plot, quick sketches of interesting characters. (One rule of pulp fiction is never to include a character who cannot be completely delineated in one sentence.) The James Gunn who wrote the script is not James Gunn science fiction author but James Gunn, author of Scooby Doo.

There is a scene early in the film where a panicked housewife tries to open a window, forgetting to unlatch it first. It is a human moment, and fixes our sympathy on that character. It reminded me of the frightening scene in Night of the Living Dead where one door is overlooked and left unlocked.

For such a carefully constructed entertainment, there are a few lapses toward the end. After the characters exit the house across the street, we don't see how they get into the manhole without getting torn to shreds. At the marina, the first boat they come to just happens to be the one boat they want.

The theater where I saw the film turned on the lights during the credits. If that happens at your theater, complain. The credits are just one big crunchy zombie credit cookie.

Copyright © 2004 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.


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