Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★½

Now this is the Zack Snyder we need. No more of this goddamn superhero horseshit. The man wants to show us smashing heads, blood geysers (heavily NON-CG ones btw), zombie go-go dancers and needle drops you can see from a mile away. Yes, indeed the man whom launched a thousand tweets by nerds of all stripes has returned to the genre he began in and what a trip it is. Now, Army is not a sequel to his debut Dawn of the Dead remake. But fuck all that -- I'M SAYIN' ITS SEQUEL.

You know the plot. A group of ex-rough necks living about the Nevada desert are lured into a heist by a millionaire. The goal is get in quietly, crack the safe and escape the casino via helicopter before the US government nukes Vegas on the fourth of July. Because the president thought "It would look cool". A phrase Trump or Biden would utter surrounded by their own form of incoherent babble. Also Sean Spicer and Donna Brazile have cameos in this and sadly are not being eaten or blown apart. Missed opportunity Zack! Effectively Army of the Dead is the best zombie video game I've seen in a hot minute. Like seriously, The Last of Us games are great and dramatic and all. But these others ones that seemingly are just doing Left 4 Dead knock offs or base buildings, free roamers mostly play and look boring as sin. Snyder delivers all the action, character, blood letting and stupidity one would want from that medium. But alas... this is a movie film for homes. And theaters if you're lucky (a point I'll return to).

Its big, dumb, long and bloody and successful on all fronts for what its after. Sans the emotional elements, but that's to be expected. The human condition has no place in this film. The team is a decent ensemble. The humor lands better than expected. In part because Snyder can balance the sillier and darker gags without drifting into lame ass Zombieland territory. The zombie lore is sure to piss off people like Simon Pegg, for whom think the only zombies are the "shamblers" of the Romero pictures. These Snyder zombies are a mix of the slow, the fast AND the smart! Not all zombies are just gonna amble around and take it to the dome, folks. All the Snyder hallmarks are there: loads of slow motion (although not as slow). Snyder is pulling double duty as director and cinematographer which allows him to drift around and pull for ALOT of shallow depth of field. Whatever man. You do you. It's certainly not a bad choice, but let's face it for some people any choice he makes will be the defacto wrong choice for them. Because he didn't denounce nerds from being mean online to other nerds who get paid to write mean things and be sheltered from scrutiny. But fuck em' and have fun.

Bonus Point

Very cute nod to Snyder's usual DP Larry Fong. See if you can spot "LARRY IS MAGIC".

And now my Crank Corner: Netflix in Theaters

I've said previously that some larger scoped Netflix films unquestionably deserve and would work better on the big screen, in a theater with a load of strangers. Army of the Dead is once again one of those releases. So last week Netflix trotted this out into Cinemark theaters; the only chain that carries them. From all reports its a hell of a way to watch it and I would likely agree. This is a big, summer movie with well done effects from top to bottom and a seemingly good sound mix. Seattle has a lot of theaters - yet the closest Cinemark is way outta the city. Maybe Beacon in Columbia City to the south if I'm lucky would play it. But that still rather far. I think the industry needs to re-assess having them play theatrically. HBO Max has done well enough doing it both ways. Godzilla vs. Kong certainly had no problems. It sounds like Those Who Wish Me Dead is also doing decently. Looking at the theaters around me this week no one has anything interesting and new. So when a big movie and the biggest of the week is just gonna go to streaming while you're playing old shit and slightly new shit no one's too invested in, how do you expect to sell popcorn AMC and Regal?

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