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World War Z - Blu-ray Review

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World War Z - Movie Review

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4 stars

When it comes to intelligence in zombie flicks, World War Z takes the undead crown.  It is indeed a compliment but – in a summer with a dumbed-down Superman as reigning champ of the box office – smarts just might be the film’s downfall.  Director Marc Forster's thoughtful adaption of Max Brooks' 2006 novel might stray from the source material but he is faithful in his representation of realistically portraying a society under the strain of an unstoppable and maddeningly quick to spread virus.

Where Brooks sought to describe a global zombie outbreak in fragments of reports from around the world, Forster breaks things down into a linear narrative – revolving around a UN officer protecting his family - that makes for a different and equally intense experience.  Brad Pitt is Gerry Lane, a United Nations agent scouring the globe in search of a cure, and, as calculated as he is, he must “study” the plague while running from the hordes of people it devours.  Mireille Enos (AMC’s The Killing) also stars as Karen Lane, Gerry's wife and mother of their two children.

World War Z doesn’t adapt the George A. Romero view of zombies.  There’s no society as one large brain dead consumer metaphors here.  They also aren't slow moving.  They're frenzied and fast-paced.  And, if you want to survive, you are going to have to THINK.  If anything, World War Z’s script – penned by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Drew Goddard (with rewrites from Damon Lindelof) – goes out of its way to show people actually using their brains in the wake of such a catastrophe.  In fact, the real trouble for Gerry begins when the zombie threat becomes secondary to the bureaucratic processes it maddeningly prompts.

Sure, World War Z is a survival story but, when it finally comes together in an unnervingly tense white corridor climax, the film truly gels with its mission statement.  Big ideas meet even bigger peril.  We get rattled at the beginning with the initial outbreak and, as the film progresses from one continent to the next, the human dynamic gets thrust alongside intelligence and wise dramatic sincerity before the nerve-wracking adventure ramps up again.  It is this formula which should compel audiences to watch and re-watch this 6-years-in-the-making tale.

Forster (Stranger than Fiction, The Kite Runner, Quantum of Solace) has a mighty unpredictable and impressive resume and he uses all his skills as a director to illicit a nice amount of convincing human emotion in the wake of the zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and collapsing governments.  While much has been made of its script problems and reshoots and ballooning budget and whatnot, World War Z strikes a nice balance of intellect and nail-biting moments to be above average entertainment.

Terror is at every corner.  Rabid jaws nail bite after bite with their teeth.  Cultures band together.  Civics lessons are learned.  But there’s little gore to soil the PG-13 waters with and the patient viewer will be rewarded with an infected lab climax that does not disappoint.  I’m not saying World War Z is the most entertaining zombie movie in the world, mind you, but it might be – due to the size of the outbreak – the most believable as far as responses go in this post 9/11 world.

Back in 1978, Richard Donner’s Superman promised audiences that they’ll “believe a man can fly”.  With World War Z, I’m telling you that you will believe the zombie apocalypse is possible.  Frightening, I know.

{2jtab: Film Details}

World War Z - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images.
Runtime:
116 mins.
Director
: Marc Forster
Writer
: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard
Cast: Brad Pitt; Mereille Enos; James Badge Dale; Danielle Kertesz; Ludi Boeken
Genre: Horror
Tagline:
Remember Philly!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Daddy, what's martial law?"
Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site:
www.worldwarzmovie.com
Release Date: June 21, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 17, 2013

Synopsis: United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to decimate humanity itself.

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World War Z - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

2 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 17, 2013
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps); Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps); Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; Digital copy (as download); DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Paramount’s 1080p transfer is spotless, looking 3D without even being the 3D version.  The clarity is that detailed and sharp.  The city streets are lined with hefty black lines and great moments of detail and color. You get all the detail in the chaotic debris and zombie makeup, and each destination on Gerry’s adventure has a unique look. There’s the gritty city, the golden desert of Israel and the cold industrial chambers of the WHO; all perfectly rendered from the transfer.  Also included is a fantastic DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack that adds the perfect immersion to the madness on the screen.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Well, with no interview and no involvement from Mr. Pitt, I can safely say we will be seeing another release of this film.  There is a look at the journey from script to screen, but at 8 minutes length … well, you know the full story is not being communicated.   You also get a look at the science and data behind the picture, as well, as a four-part featurette outlining some of the sequences of the film.  The Blu-Ray is the unrated version of the film and the extra 7 minutes adds gore and action and makes it the only version you should see.

  • Origins (8 min)
  • Looking to Science (8 min)
  • WWZ: Production (24 min)

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