Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★½

I'm really glad I got to catch this one on the big screen, I'm fine with Netflix making films, but more theatrical releases please. I'm also a Zack Synder fan, never really disliking any of his films. I agree sometimes his style gets in his way, this movie itself suffers, but I do appreciate his keen eye for visual flair and good action.

This movie is Snyder at his height. Visually its quite impressive for its smaller budget than normal. Properly felt like a blockbuster. The cinematography bothered the hell out of me though. Synder tries his best to blend arthouse choices with fan fare, and here it just annoyed me. His shallow depth of field with blurry backgrounds was driving me crazy. I wanted to scream please put this in focus. Towards the end it got better, but I wanted to see the visuals with clarity and his style got in that way. The constant closeups with shaky cam also annoyed me.

I do feel like the obsession with a 2 and a half hour runtime worked quite well here though. The script was clever, they actually bring new elements to the zombie genre. Charcaters may not be fully fleshed but for the most part I really enjoyed the actors choices working to being each to life. A plotline was obnoxious and unneeded but I give credit to Synder to brining a new life to the dead. Pace is rapid and new developments keep tension high.

The movie sets up its crazy, Vegas run zombie world, with a now imfamous Snyder opening credit sequence that promises gore. On that note the movie has some amazing gore effects and kills, with the zombies themselves looking cool, the agility and hierarchy was original. Adding a heist to the mix injects fun, even when I was a bit annoyed with how dangerous it was, and seemingly pointless. But I never felt the movie used the Vegas setting to its full potential. They access their mission very easy and the third act didn't go nearly as grand as it could have. We leave so much of it's settling and world still on the table.

I'm sad to say I felt a bit mixed overall here. I really enjoyed the new ideas presented and the world is fun as hell. Charcaters and gore galore. But its all the missed opportunities that annoyed me, for as unique as it can be, it also falls into alot of genre trappings, which would be fine if it wasn't trying to offset itself from them. And the style of being somewhat out of focus at times, in service to a more artsy approach really bothered me, use all the colorful style and slow mo you want, but please don't spend first hour with those choices. Genre fans will have a blast, and overall I did enjoy it, but it got in its own way more often than not.

Chris Kitts McGee liked this review