Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★

Zack Snyder’s two-and-a-half-hour Mountain Dew commercial. I don’t know what I expected, but I knew it would be unconscionably long!

There are a few good characters and a bunch of throwaways. There are a handful of great set-pieces and just a shameful amount of green screen. Every minute of Tig Notaro as a cigar-chomping helicopter pilot is legitimately great. Every other minute, decidedly less so. And the character decisions are... eh, you know what? Who cares about that junk as long as it looks cool?

Except it doesn’t. Can someone explain the benefit of having every single frame include something out of focus? What is that? Is it supposed to look cool when one of an actor’s shoulders is clear but the other is blurry? Zack, you don’t have to play with every button and dial on the camera. It’s not edgy—it’s tiresome. Exercise some goddamn restraint. (You know how I know you can’t just blame the DP? Because he’s the DP.)

As hacky as it looks, though, the way everything sounds might be even worse. The over-produced way the tiger roars and the zombies scream and breathe and growl and click is just... so... stupid. It’s intelligence-insulting. Why doesn’t this guy just make video games if he has so much contempt for anything grounded in reality?

I almost forgot the music. Whatever your personal limit is for ironic-sounding covers of familiar songs, it’s sure to be tested here. And when those run out, there’s no shortage of lighthearted music cues incongruously juxtaposed with gruesome carnage onscreen. 

It’s not a terrible movie, but it sure is a dumb one, and it thinks you’re dumb too. The two-star rating isn’t even for the film. It’s the score I’m giving myself for my decision to watch it.

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