Director: Zack Snyder
Story By: Zack Snyder
Cast: Dave Bautista, Omari Hardwick, Nora Arnezeder, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, & Matthias Schweighöfer
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Since being part of the IG/Social Media community of cinephiles, I’ve come across some interesting admiration for Zack Snyder. At first I wasn’t sure why… But after watching #ArmyOfTheDead, I do see a little of what others like about him. Now, is he this brilliant director and story teller? I wouldn’t give him ALL of that, but he’s definitely an honorable creative. However, I will say that he has very clever story ideas and an eye for cinematic moments…it just seems like he always could’ve used one more revision/walk and talk through before finalizing.
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Below are my grades for key components in #ArmyOfTheDead that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development.
Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch, Interesting Enough (if looking for something different, or just new to start/watch), & Don’t Rush.
I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.
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Plot & Story: B
Character Arc/Development: D
General Entertainment Factor: Interesting Enough
Film Enthusiast Entertainment Factor: Interesting Enough
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1. I actually appreciated the pacing not spending too much time on the development of the zombies. It got right to the action. 👍🏾👍🏾
2. Additionally, I liked the “Viva Las Vegas” intro to help move a lot of the exposition along for pacing purposes, and to help set the tone for the film. It it was pretty clever. 👍🏾👍🏾
3. On one hand, it was extremely gruesome… on the other hand, shout out to make-up, design and cinematography…it was really well done. 🥴👍🏾
4. To piggyback off of points 1 and 2, there were elements of the story that actually needed more exposition vs rushing through to get to the action. There was so much air time given to looking at folks pick their gun, dig for their weapon, etc to some cheesy Vegas music, and not enough air time given to support who Scott Ward was before this apocalypse, or the connection between these 3 military folks, or Tanaka! 🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
5. Wow… that “camp villain’ felt random and forced…and later on, a set up to help move the plot along… not really a fan of that. 🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
6. I was SO happy that she made it clear that her anger was NOT about “that…” because the moment the other implication was present, I was immediately on eggshells about the film…it would’ve been so stupid and extremely toxic and unrealistic without some true background to these characters. 🤦🏾♂️👍🏾
7. To add to point #3, there were also some other great cinematic moments—such as the shoot out under the “rain…” Just a really great set up. 👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾
8. Oooo… yes, Raúl Castillo… he’s a cutie! 😍
9. The shining moment of this film is its climax to the resolution. 👍🏾👍🏾
10. Eh… Yes, I get and am on board for the possibility of a more advanced type of zombie, but what I wasn’t here for is the idea of intimacy… #NahBruh. 🥴🤦🏾♂️
11. The character arc/development is not the best. These are some pretty flat and/or static characters carrying this film, and the moments used to try to give characters depth weren’t believable. They honestly felt lazy and also a little unnecessary. Especially the Scott and Kate conflict… like, GIRL! He was also going through damn grief and depression, especially considering what happened! It’s 2021, so these understandings should be the standard with characters. Honestly, the negative arc/development that the film ultimately achieves, that supports the theme, is the only thing that kept me from giving this element an F. 🥴🤷🏾♂️👎🏾
12. The theme of this film is pretty solid. I think the one that really stands out is around selfishness vs selflessness, and we see this via the main characters and many of the conversations between characters—especially the character Lily/Coyote. 👍🏾
13. The plane ending… … 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
14. Yo! Valentine! Yeeeesssssss! 👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾
15. I will say, I thought the different payouts was going to be the tension to ignite the climax…so I’m glad the film didn’t take the obvious route. 👍🏾
16. Phew… that “glow stick journey” moment… Bitch, I was nervous the moment the idea was said… 🙈😦
17. Really! They tried it with that Maria moment—another reason why more time should’ve been given to knowing our characters. 🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
18. The story is actually really interesting, and is something I know many (including myself) have thought about when discussing an apocalypse—would you use the opportunity to finally change your economic status / overall lifestyle in some way? However, pacing is what holds this story from being as solid as it could’ve been. 👍🏾
19. Shout out to the quick, low-key male frontal nudity shot during the introduction. 🙌🏾🙌🏾
20. Greeta… worked my nerves. I did’t like her character’s motivation…and maybe it’s because I don’t really have more insight to what actually can take place if you were able to get back in… But still, girl you’re a mother! 🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️
21. Shout out to the cast diversity—especially amongst our main team. We had black representation, LGBTQ representation, Latinx representation, French representation, and German representation. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾
22. Now yall don’t see that damn helmet!? C’mon, now! 🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️
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Overall, #ArmyOfTheDead gives Zombieland-meets-Oceans 11-meets Bride of Chucky. It is a very interesting film, and is actually a pretty decent time once the plot takes off for the purpose of what could arguably be Zack Snyder’s main priority with this film–interacting with the Zombies. I do feel that the film misses its true greatness/potential due to the lack of character development with the exposition. I personally feel if Snyder was going to rush through the typical zombie development (which makes sense because we know the Zombie plot lines), then use it to give us more to the characters.