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The Crazies (2010) - DVD Review


The Crazies

Another minute passes, another horror remake is released. One the most plundered horror masters of recent times, George A. Romero, will see all of his films given the re-treatment seven times over before he croaks at this rate—and the man ain’t young.

This year, from the oh-so-imaginative imaginators in La-la Land, comes the rehash of Romero’s 1973 film The Crazies. Like every remake, this one comes replete with a bunch of producers to explain their well thought out motivations for having another go at something that stands perfectly fine alone. See, this one is different, because it’s very politically relevant for any generation (that’s true, which is why the original stands the tests of time and does not need to be remade: it’s still relevant.) Honestly, the more I listen to these hacks, the more I am convinced there is a PR twat just off camera, holding up the ‘exact same reason for remake’ cue cards for them to spout their crap. But I digress...

The 2010 version of Romero’s alleged most politically charged film (there’ll all pretty much sticking it to the man if you look at them closely) modernizes, as most of them do, the story of a small town ravaged by a viral contaminant created and released by a nefarious and uncaring government. Instead of two fireman and a nurse as the central characters, there’s a sheriff, his deputy, and a doctor (genius change *cough). The slow burning story escalates much as the original did, with the Sheriff and co. trying to discern what’s happening, and when the shit hits the fan, trying to get the heck outta Dodge before the infected ‘crazies’ or the military—now cordoning off the entire township—kill them.

Not only is this a tough story to make fresh, simple because nearly every zombie or pandemic adventure rolls out exactly the same, but it also has to cope with the fact it’s a second go-around at the same approach. Just because you call the infected people crazies instead of zombies doesn’t set it apart from the usual. It didn’t in Romero’s day either (his version was a box office bomb). But what Romero did do in his original that elevates it far above this redo was counterpoint his story from both sides. There was a character in the original to represent the government, those responsible for the mayhem, and that character debated their actions and wrestled with guilt over it. This version is moronically one-sided, with our heroes—sweet, everyone knows your name small town folk—the good in the world, and the military essentially faceless, almost omnipotent villains out to exterminate. Any poignancy or modern relevance to our political mistrusts or fear of pandemics dies right there. The characters and the premise are over-simplified cartoons. Either the people making these things are getting dumber (unlikely) or they think we are (more likely). Either way, dear producers, your copious assertions that this film was remade because of current relevance aren’t present in a single frame of this film. Not one.

There’s some good, as with every remake from this era. Production value is killer. Beautiful cinematography and scale beyond the budget of the original. The dialogue is good, and the actors make it sound ever better. A great cast and a good, if completely unoriginal, story to follow (there is a reason we have watched a million versions of this same story—it’s a good yarn). The stunts are worthy, the gross out factor well executed, and there are even a few well unfurled moments of suspense—which brings this reviewer to his final point:

Dear Producers—should any of you read this—the above review may seem a little harsh, but, you know what? You deserve it. If you would come straight out and lay on the table what the reason for this and nearly every redo is (to use a brand name director’s prior outings to rehash a modernized, visually slicker, more commercially palatable product to make some green), and hold your head up high on that assertion, then we wouldn’t be so hard on you. But when you come out with your BS, asserting to all that this is somehow a completely different product, you’re just bare face lying.

This is not a new product, and does not add a single fresh element to its progenitor. What it is is a slickly produced carbon copy that excises the personality and intelligence of the filmmaker it tries to honour.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
3 Stars
3 Stars
DVD Experience
3 Stars

DVD

DVD Details:

Available on DVD - June 29, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included.
Audio:
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 1

The making of is what set the tone of this review, with producer fluff talk; actors pondering what the producers told them the film’s about and how great Romero is; a whole featurette from horror aficionados about how great Romero is; make-up featurette that epically shows all involved obsessing about something that can’t be avoided, instead of focusing on elements they might have been able to make original (sorry, make-up dudes, your work is awesome, but they look like ZOMBIES—they always do!); trailers; motion comic book. Generous package of extras.

Supplements:

Commentary Track:

  • Feature-length audio commentary track with Director Breck Eisner

Featurettes:

  • Behind the Scenes with Breck Eisner (10:35)
  • Paranormal Pandemics (9:41)
  • The George A. Romero Template (9:56)
  • Make-Up Mastermind: Rob Hall in Action (11:27)
  • 'The Crazies' Motion Comic
    • Episode 1 (14:40)
    • Episode 2 (12:44)
  • Visual Effects in Motion (3:42)

Photo Gallery - Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery

Previews:

  • The Crazies' teaser (0:42)
  • Theatrical (2:32 & 2:00)

{pgomakase}

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