Zack Snyder's Army Of The Dead (Spoilers, if you like)

It was entertaining, interesting action pieces, brainless and kept my attention, and yet deeply deeply dull. The trailer promised a lot more than was delivered. I’m not sorry I watched it but I wouldn’t call it a must-see. For some reason I couldn’t recognize Nora Amezeders’ accent as French (not that she was trying to hide or change it, just that if you asked me afterwards I would have said German for some reason). Everyone pulled their weight as far as possible for this film, which isn’t a heavy load.

This is what I posted in the Movies i’ve seen recently thread:

Army of the Dead

The opening is a bit of a ripoff of the beginning of Zombieland, minus Metallica music.

The rest of the movie plays out like a live action version of the game Left 4 Dead.

With a Boss level zombie and everything.

Too slow, too often.

But I love Dave Bautista and Tig Notaro.

I think they even referenced Left 4 Dead with a Bride zombie.

Completely agree - had every reason to be more than just passable, but just didn’t quite click.

Big enough budget, interesting zombie/heist/caper plot idea, respecting genre conventions [or rehashing cliches as we used to say] and some fairly nice departures from them, competent acting, and some pretty well constructed set-pieces but I just lacked that level of care about the outcome for any of the characters or their mission.

And a tight grip on the Idiot Ball that just grated-too many subplots too IMHO.

I was going to make a joke about how impressive it is that someone obviously recovering from massive brain damage managed to complete a big-budget movie but the joke’s probably on me — it’s good enough to please the audience and will make enough money to let him make more extremely dumb blockbusters with the most plodding pacing I can think of in “action” movies.

Ruining perfectly good concepts as he goes, by the way. I can just imagine what George Romero would’ve done with this one.

On the bright side, there’s a good chance I will not waste 2+ hours on his next project.

(All the characters appeared to be suffering brain damage as well. I’m sorry that my critique doesn’t go beyond “that was really fucking dumb 95% of the time” but it’s all I can think to say this close to the experience.)

I’m still hopping mad but have put some of my thoughts down in more detail. At far too much length. But I have to vent.

Poorly drawn characters

-The security man is identified as up to no good immediately— not just through camerawork and music cues but by other characters. And they’re boringly correct. Snyder has seen Aliens, he knows the classic, now-cliched way to handle this character.

-The social media zombie fighter dude stops taking pics and videos immediately upon entering the zone. He should have been live-streaming his own death. (He should’ve had some camera equipment besides a phone.) I mean, really.

-Whatever was up with the father/daughter relationship? Yes they talked about it, right after finding out they don’t have time to do so; no, the conversation didn’t make any more sense than their decision to waste time having it.

-Vanderwhoever and Dieter get some decent buddy work in — probably the most enjoyable acting in the movie for me, not that that’s saying a ton — but if V is the kind of dude who quotes Joseph Campbell to flight attendants he really should have bonded with Dieter over shared intellectual interests immediately, because the rest of the team are fucking idiots.

-Why am I relying on the subtitles to inform me that the coyote is French? She sounded like another German to me. (I think she says “putain” at some point but I think that’s all we get.) Her face turn was pretty lame, probably because she was not really a heel to begin with. But “betray the team for good reasons, then undo it” is not something you can set up after the fact with a quick line about emptying the camps.

Waste of a cool concept/setting
  • best sequence in the movie is the opening credits. We get to see Vegas! Crazy humans being crazy, then getting bitten! Survivors from various walks of life surviving! It was pretty fun, if too draggy and hampered by a classic Snyder bad soundtrack choice. Where did that sense of fun go? The rest of the movie mostly takes place in or between two burnt-out casinos, populated with varying grades of zombies mostly dressed in indistinct costumes. The Big Bad … wears a cape. And a homemade steel helmet. Not, say, a rhinestone jumpsuit. The stupid tiger was the most Vegas-y thing about it.
  • We all know that in good (Romero school) zombie movies the real threats are other humans. This movie tried to make vague stabs at that with the Trump stand-in, the abusive camp guard, and the military-casino complex conspiracy, but the guard gets maybe 5-10 minutes of screen time and the others get another 5-10 combined. This is in a 2.5 hour movie with tons of slack. We got to see more of the zombie queen grunting.
  • Hear me out: why not have some other humans in the zone? Hell, why not make it largely human survivors they encounter in there? Who can, um, talk? Make it Ocean’s Eleven meets Dawn of the Dead … meets Escape from New York! The team encounters mansions full of decadent cocaine orgies; warlords using their gangs to fight for control of Strip turf; slot machine addicts holed up in the last casinos with power, still hoping for a big payout. (I can’t believe no one thought to insert a quick “zombies repeatedly pulling slot levers” gag. Five seconds, easy laugh.) They get to rescue some of the low-paid service workers who never made it out. Get directions from sassy cocktail waitresses or sharp-tongued gay lounge singers. It kinda writes itself if you put people in the movie.
  • If the Big Bads aren’t actually going to be people/racism/capitalism/the government/whatever, don’t just make them More Dangerous Zombies. Ugh. 28 Days Later wasn’t a great zombie movie just because it let the zombies run really fast. The Patient Zero zombie here was smart and strong, but ultimately he was a zombie and about as interesting as one of the shamblers. Oh, but he thought to make a helmet, woo hoo. And was in love. And maybe got another zombie pregnant.

I’ll shut up now.

Ah dammit I checked last night and there was no AOTD thread and now after I posted one, there is. I have some plot questions:

https://boards.straightdope.com/t/army-of-the-dead-questions-spoilers/942724/2

  1. Right before they broke into the safe, they counted $200k in cold cash. Was this stolen from the casino?

  2. When the blonde Coyote took them into Las Vegas, why didn’t they close the container doors behind them to prevent the zombies from getting out? And, even if there was a barrier further back, what was to prevent zombies from hiding in the containers and sneak attacking them when they came back?

  3. The company guy that took the zombie head revealed it was worth more than the $200 million in the safe, and that was the real reason they were there. Why did he jackoff and wait until the safe was broken into to attempt to take it to the top of the casino, shoot Zig Nataro and helicopter out of there? Why didn’t he just do it right away? And why did the Queen Zombie and her escort attack him and Blonde Coyote anyway since they has some sort of deal?

Sorry Mods theres already a new AOTD thread. If you like I can CP this post into that one, let me know.

It was on its way to the vault; I believe there’s a reference to it having been on a “cart.”

I think the answer to all of these is probably “this was a very poorly written movie.” :expressionless:

Edit: oh, they weren’t planning on exiting through the containers anyway, so that part didn’t matter much.

Why were some of the zombies cyborgs at times? I saw one of them have glowing eyes and another had a metal skull for a split-second. Weird.

The senselessness of the plot wouldn’t have mattered if it hadn’t been so boring. Just not enough action, and nothing special about the action. 90% of this movie could have been made from clips of other zombie type movies.

True. Why were some animals zombified as well? There are so many questions. I did like the tiger, though.

I think what’s supposed to be going on in those shots is that some of the rounds were tracers or incendiaries, so we’re seeing the glow of the pyrotechnics inside the skull.

Either that or CGI glitches in the animations.

Yes, there is a cart in the hallway outside the vault. Presumably, it was cash being delivered to the vault when the zombie apocalypse happened. I’m not sure why there would be a cash counting machine on the cart, though. I’m also not clear about how Coyote managed to make the switch without Predictably Evil Corporate A$$#*!!@ noticing.

Just on that last, I agree with others upthread, that character was just incredibly lazy writing.

When one of the other forgettable characters says he’s there to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t take all the money, I was expecting him to say something like, “Well, yes, of course that’s why I’m here. Isn’t that obvious? I’m also an extra gun, an extra load of fuel, and I personally know the casino layout and a lot of the security systems. And it’s not my money. I don’t care about my boss’s money that much. I just want to make it out of this alive, with plausible deniability for any shortages.”

Which, since he and his boss don’t actually care about the money, would seem like it would have been a much better approach than randomly betraying the people who could help get him out alive with his cargo.

My wife and I watched this last night. Right after they put together the heist team I called out all their fates- the annoying guy? Gets taken out right away. Bautista’s character? Dies heroically toward the end, protecting his daughter after their reconciliation. The daughter who helps run a refugee camp? She has impenetrable plot armor and is the only one guaranteed to survive. I pretty much batted 1000.

So Tig Notaro died in the helicopter at the end? I saw her get shot, but it was not fatal. It crashed with her in it?

Not immediately fatal. There was a lot of blood, and “realistically” (for whatever that quaint notion is worth in a movie like this), she would have continued to bleed profusely from a wound like that.

But, yes, the helicopter crashed with her in it - she was piloting it as we see it knocked out of the air by the shockwave. Hero’s Daughter briefly checks on her after the crash, and she’s clearly dead. (Hero’s Daughter’s plot armor, of course, simply “threw her clear” of a high speed crash, and she suffered no more than bumps and bruises.)

This video says it all quite well.