SRP $34.98 2.35:1 DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 UNIVERSAL
 

"LAND OF THE DEAD: UNRATED" has been released as a HD-DVD combo from UNIVERSAL.  Set in the near future, zombies have gotten more intelligent, and the last major human sanctuary, is within Pittsburgh. Water on all sides and a fortified bridge are all that separate the zombies from their food source.  Dennis Hopper plays a rich Trump-like real estate magnate, and owner of Fidller's Green, a posh, secure condo, filled with all the perks society had been used to in better times, ...fine dining, expensive clothing stores and more.  Of course, everyone wants in, but few can pay Hopper's steep pricing.  His lackies do all the misdeeds asked of them by Hopper, in hopes of being granted a place within the condo sometime soon.  Groups of human mercenaries make treks into zombie land to search for humans needing to escape and searching for food and other items needed to survive.  Sooner or later, these mercenaries have to make moral decisions, realizing Hopper may not be much better than the zombies they fight.

George A. Romero's latest zombie film is generally entertaining, although it still becomes predictable about half-way through. The cast is great and Simon Baker proves once again he's one of the most under-used actors around.  Those fans looking for gore will certainly find it here, but it's actually more of an action film than horror thriller. However, Romero still shows a penchant for creating some genuinely hair-raising moments.

UNIVERSAL has preserved the 2.35:1 aspect ratio.  While the hd-dvd image is shaper than the standard dvd, it's not one of the best efforts from UNIVERSAL thus far.  The detail is terrific when compared to the dvd and it's generally sharper looking than the soft-looking image of the dvd.  Still, colors vary in quality, as does the contrast.  Some of the darker scenes offer deep blacks and grays, while other brighter scenes offer less distinguished variance.  Still, in comparison to the dvd, the HD-DVD offers a much more solid image.

UNIVERSAL has provided a DOLBY DIGITAL PLUS 5.1 mix.  It's an aggressive mix.  Surrounds are used with great impact throughout the film and the 360 degree environment adds greatly to the film's overall tension.  There are numerous scenes showcasing great bass effects. Dialogue is well balanced, and always intelligible in spite of layers of effects. The dvd offers great mix options as well, with the DTS mix offering better clarity and bass than the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.

UNIVERSAL has included featurettes on the dvd side and a great audio commentary is offered for both the dvd and HD-DVD.