Dawn of the Dead: The Ultimate Edition DVD Review
Written by Peter West
DVD released by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Written and directed by George A. Romero
1978, Region 1 (NTSC), Various running times, Various ratings
DVD released on September 7th 2004
Disc One – US Theatrical Version:
This is the unrated version originally released to theaters in 1979, it is the true "Director's Cut" as per George A. Romero. 127 Minutes.
The picture is the DiviMax HD remaster and the DVD is identical to the version released earlier this year. 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 Enhanced.
A DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 track is included along with a Dolby 2.0 as well as a Dolby Mono audio track.
The Audio Commentary includes Director George A. Romero, Make-up and Special Effects Creator Tom Savini and Asst. Director Chris Romero. It's moderated by DVD Producer Perry Martin.
Included are US Theater, TV and Radio spots as well as a Poster and Still Gallery. A George A. Romero biography is an additional extra.
Disc Two – Extended Version:
This is the version that was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, it is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the "Director's Cut". 139 Minutes.
While the picture is remastered it does not indicate that the DiviMax HD process was used. 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 Enhanced.
The audio track is a Dolby Mono.
There is a Audio Commentary with Producer Richard P. Rubinstein, moderated by DVD Producer Perry Martin.
Included extras are a Monroeville Mall commercial, a behind the scenes Photo Gallery, a Memorabilia Gallery and Production Stills.
Disc Three – European Version
This is the Argento version referred to as Zombie in Europe. 116 Minutes.
The picture is DiviMax HD remastered. 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 Enhanced.
A Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 as well as a Dolby Mono track are included.
The Audio Commentary includes Actors Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross, David Emge and Scott H. Reiniger.
Extras include International Trailers from Germany, TV spots from the UK, along with a Dario Argento biography. Additionally there are international Lobby Cards, a Poster and Advertising Gallery, a Pressbook Gallery and Home Video and Soundtrack Artwork.
Disc Four - Documentaries
The Dead Will Walk: A new 75 minute documentary including every major player in the creation of Dawn of the Dead.
Roy Frumkes' Document of the Dead – The original documentary made during the filming of the movie. Courtesy of Synapse Films.
On-Set Home Movies with Audio Commentary from Zombie Extra Robert Langer.
Monroeville Mall Tour with Actor Ken Foree.
With so many movies getting "special" treatment nowadays it was only a matter of time before Dawn of the Dead received the same. What Anchor Bay has done is created a package that satisfies even the most ardent fan's desires! Releasing all three versions of the films, three separate commentaries by all the major players, extra's galore including the Document of the Dead and the all new The Dead Will Walk, this is truly a "Ultimate" edition! Combined we have over thirteen hours of viewing. With a list price of $49.95 and a street price closer to $35, this is probably the biggest bargain since the advent of home video.
Having watched all three versions and now knowing more than I ever could have hoped for about the movie, I can only say that you would be crazy not to pick up this DVD. The earlier version released this year was so inexpensive that doing a double dip is not only warranted, but makes sense. Take your earlier purchase and pass it on to someone who hasn't seen this film (if that person does indeed exist). The DiviMax transfers are incredible, the DTS 5.1 and Dolby 5.1 soundtracks are spectacular! This is the "Total Package".