This Week I wanted to talk about one of my all time favorite Zombie remakes Dawn of The Dead. More importantly I want to talk about the differences between the original and the remake, because while I certainly did love the original it wasn't really scary with Blue Smurf Zombies.
Dawn of the Dead( IMDB)was originally written and directed by George Romero. The movie premiered in The United States on April 20,1979 almost seven months after it's Italian debut. Dawn of The Dead is the second movie in Romero's Living Dead series but features no cast from the original. This movie was made to show how far and wide this unknown disease had spread and how society was crumbling under it's effects.
Synopsis via Yahoo
With more and more zombies roaming the earth, two Philadelphia SWAT team members named Roger and Peter go to a television station and escape in its helicopter, taking a few other people with them. The group go to a shopping mall for supplies, and hoping for refuge, but wind up fighting for their lives with the undead.
The Dawn of the Dead remake(IMDB) was written by James Gunn (based off Romero's original script)and directed by Zach Snyder in his directorial debut. The Movie was released in the US March 19,2004. It stands as one of the highest grossing zombie movies of all time.
Synopsis Via Yahoo
A re-envisioning of George Romero's apocalyptic horror classic, "Dawn of the Dead": An unexplained plague has decimated the world's population--and yet, the dead aren't dying. They've become zombies, stalking endlessly in a quest to feed on the flesh and blood of the few remaining living. A ragtag group of desperate survivors in a Wisconsin town seek refuge in a large indoor mall, where they must learn not only to protect themselves from the ever-increasing zombie horde, but also to co-exist with each other as a last bastion of humanity. Sealed off from the rest of what used to be the world, the group uses every available resource, in their against-all-odds fight, to remain alive and human.
Now lets talk about some of the biggest differences.
One of the biggest overall differences is how the zombies moved. In Romero's version they were slow yes, but menacing and especially dangerous in large hordes. In the remake the zombies were quick almost as fast as those infected with the rage virus ala 28 Days later. This change was one of the reasons George Romero didn't like the remake. Infact most zombies aren't shown for more than a few seconds at a time. Does this make them any less scary? No I don't think so but Original Dawn of the Dead purists certainly think so.
In the original version anyone who died returned as a zombie. This process usually took a few hours and only bites seemed to speed up reanimation. In the original the epidemic was spreading and not fully understood. How long exactly I don't think it ever stated but certainly longer then the remake. As for the remake bites are what kill you and bites bring you back. It doesn't matter how big or small no matter what your going to die and come back. The larger the wound the quicker the death and it seems in the remake the rules are that position of the bite influences time of death. So a neck bite would only take minutes whereas a tooth scratching the skin could take days or even weeks.
Cast Size certainly was different between both films. While the original had a small group huddled in the mall (minus the bikers who arrive later) there wasn't to many characters to focus on. Many who enjoyed the original cite this as a reason why they were turned off from watching the remake. In the remake however the cast was fairly large to begin with and then added even more bodies as the movie shuffled along. I actually prefer the larger cast. I think it gave more emotion to the film and certainly increased the diversity amongst the cast. By the end whether I liked or hated them I rooted for each and every characters survival. Whereas in the original if the character started to annoy me I was hoping their death would come soon in some spectacular way.
In the original the cast has a helicopter as means of escape the whole time. They don't take it because the mall can provide for them but it is an option. They even use it in the movie to teach Francine to Fly in case she needs to escape and they have all been killed. In the remake the cast has buses but it isn't until the very end when they decide to make use of them and transform them for travel. Now obviously with a large cast 1 helicopter wouldn't work but since the Mall did have the space for one to land I think it would of been neat seeing it even if they had none amongst them who could fly it.
As already mentioned the makeup was a factor. The original and the remake just cannot compare on this level. So I really don't feel like I need to explore this difference further. But for fun a comparison of the zombies will be shown below.
In the end I really did enjoy both versions but you cannot replace how far superior the remake is. Yes Romero is still the Godfather of Zombies but the remake is much more a visual treat than the Original. Plus it is set in the here and now which certainly makes it more relatable. I also preferred Anna to Francine. I found her less annoying and realistic about the situation they were all in. Should you watch the original? Definitely check it out, any zombie fan needs to watch it at least once.
Now for this weeks question. Have you seen either the original or the remake? Which do you prefer and why? Would you rather have the Helicopter or Armored bus to escape on? Leave your answer in the comments below. I love reading your responses.
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