Just saw Land of the Dead last night, and after reading all of the positive reviews that the film got during its theatrical release (enough to score it a fresh 73% rating on RottenTomatoes.com), I can only assume that the title refers to the shambling, soulless hordes of film critics populating publications around the world (Bring me the head of Stephen Whitty!!!!).
I've always said that you know a movie is bad when you find yourself rewriting it while you are watching it, and I was well beyond that out of the gate when my first decision would have been to NOT to the opening credits in such a way that they look like they were ripped off of the excellent opening credit sequence of Dawn of the Dead (not Romero's flimsy, poorly edited original, but the kick-ass remake that put even his best zombie film, Day of the Dead, to shame). Of course, seeing both Dennis Hopper and Asia Argento acting (snicker) in the same film is a huge red flag to begin with. But I digress...
From there on in, it becomes a matter of compiling the laundry list of things not to do (re: let Romero write the screenplay), things that didn't make sense (society collapses, yet a remaining outpost of humanity still works in a capitalist structure run by a rich white guy, instead of a socialist barter-system police state run by the military that protects the inhabitants from the zombie masses), and things that should have never gotten past the first draft (Zombie Freedom Fighters? Bwa-ha-ha!)
The high point for me was the scene in which Asia Argento is thrown in a pit with two zombies while spectators take bets on which one will rip her flesh apart with their bare teeth, mostly because it was almost identical to a recurring dream I have, except in my dream the zombies are always Sean Hannity and Dr. Phil, and Asia is never rescued in the nick of time by a bland, uninteresting hero just so he can drag her pointless goth-chick persona around a zombie wasteland for over an hour. I actually stopped the film after the first twenty minutes and went back to the credits just to make sure that Romero wrote and directed it, as I didn't want to be totally unfair and blame the horribly cliched and heavy-handed dialog on him without proof that he was the guilty party.
I've got so much more to say about this film, but I don't want to spoil any of it for you other brave souls intending to slog through Romero's newest attempt at being a real filmmaker. I will, however, bet mr_gabagool
a stack of DVD blanks that he can't guess what my favorite line (the only good line, really) in the film was.
Oh, and in my version of Land of the Dead, I'd have Carpenter direct. But I wouldn't let him write it, either.