HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: World War Z
HTS Overall Score:76
Zombies are pretty much the new Vampires. In theaters and homes everywhere, they’ve taken more and more screen time with the success of “The Walking Dead.” We’ve even had zombie romantic comedies like “Warm Bodies” in the last few years. It’s amusing to watch one fad switch to the other at a moment’s notice. Last year it was Vampires and Werewolves due to the success of “Twilight” and the “Underworld” series, and now we’re back to the flesh eating undead as our fascination of choice. We’ll see if the fad continues on in the New Year with more zombies or if another supernatural fad will take its place (I’m still voting for truly SCARY vampires to make a comeback. Back when I was a child Vampires were something to be feared, not dated).
“World War Z” is based off of the bestselling novel by the same name, and by based I mean it has the same name only. The film has very little to do, plot wise, with the novel. Events and happenings are almost nonexistent and the film feels as if it’s the prologue to the real story rather than an adaptation. While I’m sure fans of the book may be disappointed by the changes, the film itself is a frenetic ride from beginning to end, saturated with a sense of terrified urgency in a way that keeps you sucked into the film at all times, wondering what is going to happen next.
It seems that Ex United Nations investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is in for a bad day. One moment he’s enjoying early retirement with his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and their children and the next moment flesh eating zombies are attacking the populace with a speed and ferocity unheard of before. Barely escaping the first wave thanks to his old boss at the U.N. (Fana Mokoena), the family is put on a Navy vessel under military protection, on one condition: that Gerry lead a team of Seals, and a young scientist, into South Korea and find the source of this infection. While there, the scientist is killed and they find out that the source is not actually S. Korea, but somewhere else. In his search to find the "origin," Gerry travels to Jerusalem, the only place that wasn't taken by surprise. Strangely enough, Israel seems to be holding their own against the zombie horde, and Gerry focuses his attention there to find out what advantage the Israelites are using to keep themselves on top. Shortly after his arrival, in true "idiot civilian" style, the zombie horde is able to break through the defenses and Gerry barely escapes with his life with the help of a young, female, Israeli commando by the name of Segen (Daniella Kertesz). Realizing that there’s nothing that he can do to pinpoint the source of this apocalypse, Gerry and Segen head the plane towards a W.H.O research facility in Wales in the hopes of finding a medical weapon to use against the zombies. In flight, a single zombie affects the entire plane causing an emergency crash landing.
Here the film takes an interesting turn. Instead of finding a cure for the zombie plague, Gerry and the W.H.O. scientists realize
It’s interesting to see the shift away from traditional zombies in the film. They seemed much more like the rage monsters in “28 days later” rather than the shuffling, brain munchers from times of yesteryear. Their incredible speed and ferocity is much more terrifying when you have to race for your life rather than just move faster than 3 miles per hour to get away. Most of the wider angle shots of zombies piling on top of each other and racing down streets at breakneck paces are full CGI renders, and while CGI has gotten better than it used to be in the past, it still makes you look and say “oh yeah, those are CGI monsters.” Close ups were, of course, done with makeup, and the makeup job on the undead was flawless. The creepy, mottled flesh and the constant clicking of teeth was unnerving as all get-out and certainly added to the terrifying feel of the film.
Brad Pitt did a solid job as Gerry, but still I felt he kind of phoned it in a bit. I’ve seen Brad really play some fascinating characters before, but here he felt sort of restrained and not at his peak. Segen, the Israeli commando actually seemed to be the most intense character in the whole film and she’s not even an A-list actor. Marc Forster has created some fascinating films and “World War Z” is definitely a fun flick, it just felt like there was so much more to the story and so much potential on the table that I couldn’t be as wowed by the movie as I wanted to be. It’s still a tense ride, and a lot of fun, just not as perfect a story as I was hoping for.
Rated PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12760[/img]“World War Z” is given to us with a very solid 2.40:1 AVC encode from Paramount Pictures. While most new release titles these days are simply beautiful eye candy, this one will break that mold. “World War Z” is a very solid encode, given its source material, but it is a very murky, and dim film for the most part so it’s not allowed to really shine and give us a picture perfect presentation. There are plenty of rather dim scenes with lots of shadows and unfortunately that murky look to the filming doesn’t allow for as much fine detail as I’d like. There’s plenty of fine detail in many of the outdoor scenes, and those scenes REALLY pop at times, but there’s some softness at play that detracts just a tad. Colors are very pasty and bland, fitting in well with the apocalyptic feel of the movie and there is a HEAVY orange and teal color grading to the film. There is no digital artifacting that I can see and color banding and DNR are missing in action as well. Black levels are very nice for the most part, but as with the murky feeling they lose detail in the darkest of scenes. “World War Z” is intentionally given a drab feel to it and it does well with the tools at its disposal, it’s only real flaw is that it will not be used as a demo disc for the videophiles this time. Now my one real GRIPE has to do with Forster using EXCESSIVE shaky cam. We're talking about Bourne Supremacy level of shaky cam, I was having a hard time keeping nausea from overtaking me at some scenes due to just simple ridiculous amounts of shaking and having a VERY hard time seeing what was going on at times. While shaky cam can be used sporadically to create a certain feel it has certainly been overused in cinemas to cover up editing flaws and aging actors in fight scenes, but this was beyond ridiculous.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12762[/img]Now the real shining jewel in this set is the audio. The 7.1 DTS-HD MA track is an explosive track that is FANTASTICALLY nuanced and restrained when it’s needed. So many of these summer blockbuster tracks are sooooooooooo aggressive that they don’t let up the entire movie. Here, Paramount has done a great job of creating a track that can be soft and subtle, yet literally explode into a sonic barrage at a moment’s notice. The sounds of the city traffic and vocalizations are gentle, clean and precise. Giving us detailed sounds that can be heard in every which way, from the sound of a footstep on the floor, a pancake being flipped on the griddle or the honking of car horns in a traffic jam. Yet when needed the track will sit on top of you and beat you senseless with a sonic barrage of LFE and mid frequencies. The sounds of a helicopter exploding vibrates your pant legs and the explosion of a nuclear device makes your ears ache from the pressure. What makes it even more enjoyable is the pure accuracy of the sound. The LFE is strong and powerful, but it doesn’t saturate EVERYTHING in the scene. Bullets sound like “bullets” and not howitzer cannons and helicopter blades sound equally weighty without sounding bloated. But when the sound of a car smashing through traffic happens the shock waves are there in spades. Surrounds are one of the best I’ve heard in a long time, I swear I never head my surrounds stop putting out detail once the whole movie, whether it be the subtle sounds of human movement, or the frenetic sounds of zombies piling over each other the enveloping nature of the track was just superb.
• Looking to Science
• WWZ Production
“World War Z” is a high flying summer blockbuster and the special effects budget certainly shows what they were aiming for. Unfortunately, it doesn't resonate as well as some of the great zombie movies, it doesn’t have the true terror of the original Romero films due to the PG-13 rating (and there was ample amount of scenes that really could have used the additional gore) and it doesn’t have the cohesive story that the “Walking Dead” series has been made famous by, but it is still an entertaining ride and with such amazing audio, most people will want to at least give it a watch. The only real downside for collectors is the fact that there is next to no special features on the disc and the unrated cut is ONLY on the 2D disc. The 3D disc is ONLY the theatrical cut and the DVD is ONLY the theatrical cut, kind of like how “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” was done. Definitely recommended for watch.
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz
Directed by: Marc Forster
Written by: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Blu-Ray Release Date: Sept 17th, 2013
Buy World War Z 2D Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy World War Z 3D Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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