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World War Z(2013)
Based on the novel by Max Brooks, a U.N. employee races against time and fate, as he travels the world trying to stop the outbreak of a deadly Zombie pandemic.
For more about World War Z and the World War Z Blu-ray release, see World War Z Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on September 11, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Marc Forster
Writers: Damon Lindelof, Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, J. Michael Straczynski
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Ludi Boeken, Matthew Fox
» See full cast & crew
World War Z Blu-ray Review
World War "Zeke" delivers zesty fun.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, September 11, 2013
There may be nothing bigger in the broad entertainment field right now than zombies. Superhero movies and digital kids' fare still reign supreme at the box office, but combine the world of film, television, literature, video games, and comics and it would be hard to find anything has so captured the public's imagination than a fictional scenario in which the dead reanimate and feast on the living. But why? What is it that makes that specific fear, that sort of violence, that kind of apocalyptic world so appealing? Is it the possibility for any number of wild, no-win scenarios? Is it the fantasy of escaping the doldrums of reality and finding a charge in life through the specter of almost certain death? Or is it just a fad that will pass with time with no real rhyme or reason for its success? Certainly within the greater Zombie story proliferation there are no, or at least few, deeply rooted themes and commentaries anymore. George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead remains that standard bearer of zombies-as-social-commentary. New productions, like The Walking Dead, aim for character drama and gritty reality more so than jabs at mindless consumerism. Whatever the purpose may be, zombies are a hot commodity and it doesn't appear that they're about to fall out of public favor in the near future. Enter World War Z, the latest Zombie movie to bite its way into theaters. It, too, is largely absent any sort of morality tales or sly commentary but it does deliver top-flight popcorn entertainment on a scope the Zombie genre has never before seen. Based on the book by Max Brooks, son of Filmmaker Mel Brooks, the picture delights in intensity and seamless visual effects without the gut-churning gore of The Walking Dead, making it perhaps the perfect entry point for anyone yet to become fully immersed in the Zombie entertainment pandemic.
Former United Nations Investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) has retired from his career that tasked him with globetrotting through dangerous lands in favor spending time at home and living the easy life with his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and his daughters Rachel (Abigail Hargrove) and Constance (Sterling Jerins). A day out on the streets of Philadelphia becomes the beginning of a nightmare when the family finds itself caught in the middle of an outbreak of violence that sees crazed people attacking one another at random and with shocking speed and ferocity. Gerry quickly learns that attack victims themselves turn into singleminded attackers only twelve seconds after contact. He and his family barely escape and are, ultimately, rescued with the help of Gerry's former United Nations boss and friend, Deputy Secretary-General Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena). Gerry is thrust back into service and tasked with tracking down the origins of what is believed to be a "zombie" pandemic and search for a cure. In exchange for the risk, his family is afforded the safety of an overcrowded flotilla.
World War Z is an adrenaline rush of a movie that creates a sense of panicked urgency and never relents. Though the film is at its absolute best in its opening act, the entirety of the production is one of a fast moving and wholly unbelievable spectacle of doom in an apocalyptic landscape that unfolds before the audience's very eyes. Director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) paints the action vividly and brings it incessantly. If the picture isn't in motion, it's quickly building towards motion, and it's never motion for motion's sake. Instead, there's a kinetic energy that builds within the story as heroes survive and cities fall into rapid ruin, as a search for answers is hindered, though never halted, by disaster after disaster. There's never been a Zombie movie like this before, one that's so fast, so chaotic, so threatening, so uncertain, so dangerous, so large in scope. It's as much about "how" and "why" and "what's the answer" as it is bites, attacks, gunfire, and hell almost literally spewing forth on the screen. Forster's ability to bring dramatic balance amidst the incessant chaos is the film's best asset. It's a true example of film as a roller coaster ride, this time into a world that decays as quickly as the camera can capture it and descends into the sort of madness that only the Zombie genre can offer.
The picture's sense of urgency is made possible due largely to zombies that scramble about like the racetrack dog chasing the mechanical rabbit, not the death row convict marching towards the gas chamber at ten 'til midnight. These zombies are less like the classic amblers of Romero's day that make for juicy targets and fairly easy opponents provided they're not amassed right on top of their victim and more like the "raged" individuals in Danny Boyle's fantastic 28 Days Later. But the movie is much more than these track star "Zekes" that have no problem spilling over one another to reach an objective and who mindlessly rush towards any sound or most any fresh piece of meat. The picture builds a credible character atmosphere, painting Pitt and fictional family very strongly, albeit simply to not just satisfy the picture's core needs but also give it some dramatic weight and a purpose beyond mere survival or "doing the right thing." Pitt's Gerry is a sympathetic, amicable character who becomes a believable hero, not a post-apocalyptic superman. He's more a hero of the mind and stout determination and less a hero of the body or the gun, albeit the latter pieces certainly aid him in his quest to learn the secrets behind the outbreak and find a way to solve the problem. Pitt is strong in the role, a great choice and a relatable, reliable face in the midst of the incessant chaos that swirls around him almost literally from the beginning.
World War Z Blu-ray, Video Quality
World War Z isn't exactly the standard-bearer for bright, well-defined, sharp, and eye-catching visuals. That's not to say it's ugly or looks bad, it's just not a movie made with visual flash, pizazz, or sharp clarity and bold colors in mind. Paramount's transfer handles the film's brighter, most colorfully diverse scenes nicely, but there are just as many, if not more, that look rather dreary and drab. The film opens inside the Lane household to fairly pasty, nondescript visuals. It's stable and clear, just not in any way visually arresting. Many subsequent scenes throughout the movie share the same sort of qualities. It's a fairly flat image, generally, and doesn't find much in the way of noticeably sharp and clean visuals until the start of the second act. In Israel, the film finds its most even footing and its sharpest moments. The third act drifts towards a colder feel inside the rather sterile, blue-and-white heavy backdrop. This is all more of a reflection of the film's intended appearance rather than a bland Blu-ray. Just don't buy World War Z for flashy visuals and the results should impress in context.
World War Z Blu-ray, Audio Quality
World War Z explodes onto Blu-ray with a fantastic DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack. It's excellent from the moment the sound rises in sync with the Paramount stars shooting towards the mountain. It's big and serious with a potent low end element that never overwhelms but instead captures a deep, penetrating essence. Musical notes are faultlessly spread about the stage, yielding natural placement and superb clarity with just the right balance of surround support. The track handles its supportive effects wonderfully, whether light background sounds of traffic and overhead helicopters at the beginning or the sheer immersive chaos of a city overrun by zombies later on. The track is dynamically involved and faultlessly clear and robust through every moment and in its delivery of each unique sound. Gunfire pops with pleasing authority and presence, while explosions feature the sort of pinpoint heft and stage presence that's only heard on the best tracks. Dialogue clarity and placement are accurate throughout. This is an excellent lossless soundtrack, just the sort one would expect to accompany a huge Action blockbuster title.
World War Z Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
World War Z's extended cut 2D-only Blu-ray contains a limited assortment of supplements, headlined by a four-part making-of featurette.
World War Z Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
World War Z lacks both the dramatic splendor and splattering gore of The Walking Dead. It's also absent the biting social commentary of Romero's classic films, but what it doesn't fail to feature is a robust story, fast-paced action, and insanely detailed special effects. This is huge, entertaining moviemaking done very well by a director with a vision and a keen sense of how to entertain both his core audience and outsiders dabbling in what is a fairly safe but highly intense and oftentimes exhilarating Zombie film. World War Z is built to please, and please it does as one of 2013's most agreeably exciting films. Paramount's 2D Blu-ray release of World War Z features standout video, reference audio, and several extras. Highly recommended.
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World War Z Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, Sept. 16-22: World War Z Infects the Top of the Ch... - September 26, 2013
For the week that ended on September 22nd, Paramount Home Media Entertainment scored the top figures on the Blu-ray and overall package media charts for the second week in a row with its World War Z. This loose adaptation of Max Brooks' cult zombie novel proved ...
• Exclusive Giveaway: World War Z - September 16, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Paramount Home Entertainment are offering three members a chance to win a World War Z Blu-ray combo pack. One grand prize winner will receive a special copy signed by actors Mireille Enos and James Badge Dale. Both the 3D and 2D editions of World ...
• This Week on Blu-ray: September 17-24 - September 15, 2013
For the week of September 17th, horror-movie fans get a boost with the dueling releases of Paramount's World War Z and Scream Factory's Day of the Dead, as well as the flawed-but-fascinating first season of Bates Motel. Other titles include HBO's Behind the Candelabra, ...
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