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"Two against the world, baby!"
on August 22, 2007
First, a word about this childish boycott. "Grindhouse" gave us two brilliant genre films for the price of one in the theaters. It was a once in a lifetime experience for most of us and a chance to see the two most bada$* directors in Hollywood give us 3+ hours of hardcore horror entertainment including the funniest faux-trailers your likely to ever see. And it bombed. Big time. Why? Because lazy America said it'd wait for the DVD because the film was too long and lost the chance to support a truly brilliant idea and show that we are sick and tired of cardboard cutout PG-13 teen horror and bad remakes of beloved cult classics. They went to see "Disturbia" instead. "Grindhouse" was what true horror fans -hell, what all true film fanatics- have been dying for and shame on all of you who missed it. So the studio took a loss for taking a chance on this idea and as a result, they've split the two films up with extra scenes that were cut for time and are giving us these two films as we haven't yet seen them, each in double-dic editions packed with extras. Awesome, right? Weeeeeellllll, now the same whiners who stiffed the films in the theaters are angry they missed out and want both films on one DVD (as if there'd even be room) for a discount price. Sorry, but it don't work that way. The theatrical cut was packaged as just that, an experience for the theaters simulating the double-feature drive-in days of old. Even if that experience would translate to DVD, why would the company re-release it in a form that already failed miserably? The bottom line is this: we now have another chance to show that THIS is what we as horror fans want to see and the only way to do that is to buy these great-looking DVDs. The notion that making the films bomb yet again on DVD is going to lead to some super-duper deluxe theatrical edition must have been conceived in the mind of a five year old on crack. If we don't support these editions, these films will die and the studio will waste no more money on this failed project or any like it in the future. This is basic business sense. Support true horror and boycott crappy remakes and bloated sequels *cough*Spiderman3*cough* instead.
"Planet Terror" as you already know, was Robert Rodriguez's half of "Grindhouse" and while it's artistically inferior to it's sister film (Tarantino's "Death Proof"), Rodriguez brings the campy action, hardcore gore, and zombie awesomeness hard and fast like you know he can. The music, as always, rocks and grooves, the deaths will make you laugh and recoil in disgust, and Rose McGowan may well be the sexiest thing on the planet. The story is nonsense, of course, and the dialogue is hammy and shooting a grenade launcher directly into the ground will NOT launch you into the air (not in one piece, anyway) like a superhero, but this film is of the kind where this sort of unreal madness only makes you love it more and leaves you drunk and giddy with the chaos. It's silly, but you will love it. Much of "Planet Terror" makes me feel like I'm watching the most kicka$# video game ever made; a game I'd really love to play.
The movie is packed with recurring jokes and funny, memorable dialogue (much of which is based on Rose McGownan's real personality) that pays off in spades down the line. Rodriguez did not skimp on the cast, either. Sure, he cast most of his family plus his doctor and even his freakin' real-estate agent, but they are all fantastic. Bruce Willis chews the scenery, Freddy Rodriguez is THE zombie-killing machine, Quentin Tarantino plays "rapist #1", and you know it's a true undead party when Tom Savini hits the scene. Also, Fergie plays a lesbian who gets her brain eaten by the marauding undead. Yes, I know if this was realistic the scene would have played out like the Simpsons episode where the zombies moan "braaaaaainsss" as they feel her head and then, finding none, leave the so-vapid-she's-sexy pop tart to ponder her 15 minutes of fame; but like I was saying, this is not a realistic movie and any dead Black-eyed Peas member is a good one.
If anyone knows how to do extras right, it's Robert Rodriguez. You've got the standard commentary, plus the audience reaction track from the film's premiere (a personal favorite), his patented "10 minute film school", and yes, the "Machette" trailer still precedes the film. Sweet. The rest of the bonus features largely mirror the "Death Proof" DVD with lots of love for the cast and stuntpeople; very informative and very entertaining. I was actually hoping for more restored footage to the actual movie then we get (more crazy babysitter twins, anyone?) and the visual defects and missing reel -which was fun in the theater- are still there and not nearly as cute, but these are my only gripes. I could seriously write for days about all the things I love about this movie, but I'll just say one more thing before wrapping up: I sure could go for some barbeque.
"Planet Terror" brings some seriously awesome action-horror that delivers everything you want in a zombie film and you'd be a fool to pass on it just because you don't get a whole other movie free. Buy it, buy "Death Proof", and then go wave your copies at the moron down the street who's boycotting.