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WORLD WAR Z

WORLD WAR Z-United States/Malta-116 Min. 2013

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Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane

Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane

Mireille Enos as Karin Lane

Mireille Enos as Karin Lane

James Badge Dale as Captain Spekes

James Badge Dale as Captain Speke

Directed by Marc Forster

Screen Story by Matthew Michael Carnahan and J. Michael Straczynski

Screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Drew Goddard and Damon Lindelof

Based on the novel by Max Brooks

A year has passed and I’ve finally gotten around to watching World War Z. Mind you, I have not read the novel by Max Brooks on which it is based; therefore my review will be based strictly on what I see on the screen. There, as they say, is the rub. I enjoyed watching World War Z-it’s a fast paced, well-acted and competently directed film. The biggest problem is that everything that is included in the movie are things that I have seen in other films in the genre zombie and that it was also done better in those past films. The fast maniacal zombies: 28 Days Later did it better as did the remake of Dawn of the Dead. Blending in with the zombies: Shaun of the Dead one-ups World War Z in that department.

Brad Pitt portrays Gerry Lane, a former UN investigator sent around the globe in an attempt to find a cure for a pandemic outbreak that has rapidly turned a majority of the population into fast-moving, teeth champing zombies. World War Z utilizes the number one rule of the zombie genre: if you’re bitten, you turn. The film doesn’t give us much information on how the pandemic begins, only that the first known casualty came from South Korea (I blame Psy), where Gerry first travels. He also travels to Israel, where they are smart enough to build walls to keep the infected out. That’s a bust and soon Gerry is on a plane to the nearest WHO facility after he puts two and two together. After a zombie outbreak occurs in mid-flight the plane is crashed and Gerry barely makes it out alive and very near the Cardiff WHO research center. Is there a cure to be found? Does Gerry find his own personal Bub? I’ll never tell.

As I said previously, I enjoyed watching World War Z. However, I believe there is a difference between the enjoyment of watching a film and the enjoyment of it overall. World War Z never clicked for me as an important addition to the zombie genre. There were too many ‘been there, done that’ moments. As for the scenes that were somewhat original to the film, such as the zombies climbing over themselves to reach the top of the walls in Jerusalem, there is nothing that made it real to me. I knew that I was watching CGI and it took me right out of the picture.

Author Max Brooks has stated that, aside from the central storyline, World War Z has nothing in common with his novel. To me, that sounds like another case of Hollywood saying ‘screw you, we can do it better’. I originally intended to see World War Z during its theatrical run but was unable to do so. I caught it on Netflix for this viewing and am grateful for that. At least now I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my money. I still need to read the book, though. Anyone want to lend me a copy?

TRIVIA

Peter Capaldi plays a doctor with the World Health Organization and is credited as “W.H.O. Doctor.” The film makers had inside knowledge that Capaldi would soon be portraying the title role in Doctor Who (2005). The BBC publicly announced the casting two months after the film was released.

A total of 85 prop machine guns, rifles and pistols to be used for scenes filmed in Hungary, were confiscated by counter-terrorism customs officers in Budapest, Hungary after being flown in from London. Hungarian authorities said the guns could be activated by removing the screws filling the end of the barrels. Hungarian law requires weapons to be deactivated only if the process is irreversible. The movie’s weapons supervisor, ‘Bela Gajdos’, commented that a permit for the weapons had been issued by Hungarian police. Reports claimed that main actor Brad Pitt was “furious” at the seizure but producers said it had not delayed filming.

Paramount executive Marc Evans and Adam Goodman, the president of production did not like the original cut (which has the Russian ending) as both men felt that it was incoherent and abrupt. They brought in Damon Lindelof to view the cut and he suggested to them either to add new scenes to improve the coherence or do a complete third-act rewrite and risk additional resource plus re-shoots. Lindelof recalled: “So when I gave them those two roads and they sounded more interested in Road B I was like, ‘To be honest with you, good luck selling that to Paramount.”

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Brad Pitt also appears in 12 Years a Slave and Moneyball.

Mireille Enos also appears in Gangster Squad and Sabotage.

James Badge Dale also appears in The Departed and Iron Man 3.

 

 

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THE CABIN IN THE WOODS

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS-United States-2012

Kristen Connolly as Dana

Anna Hutchison as Jules

Jesse Williams as Holden

Directed by Drew Goddard

Written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard

The Cabin in the Woods is a highly entertaining film that pays homage to teen slasher films, the zombie genre and the works of H.P. Lovecraft and it does it all with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Kristen Connolly (The Happening, Mona Lisa Smile) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) are part of a group of teenagers on a road trip to a weekend getaway to the titular cabin. Little do they know that everything they do is a part of an elaborately controlled scenario that is itself a part of an even larger scenario. The five are the puppets and the many, led by a hilariously smart-ass Bradley Whitford (TV’s The West Wing) and a dependable as always Richard Jenkins (Let Me In, The Visitor) are the puppeteers. Think of the whole thing as a ‘choose your own adventure’ where you have no choice and that can kill you in the manner of your choosing. If it sounds confusing I can assure you that once you see the film you’ll understand.

The Cabin in the Woods is directed by Drew Goddard, who co-wrote the screenplay along with Joss Whedon. Goddard was the guy who wrote Cloverfield and some cool episodes of Lost. Whedon is the guy who gave us Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and is the screenwriter for the upcoming summer blockbuster The Avengers; which will feature Hemsworth in a reprisal of his role as Thor.

Toward the end, what impressed me the most about The Cabin in the Woods was the clear display of love that Goddard and Whedon have for the old school scary monsters. It was akin to watching two kids playing with all their super cool action figures and it left me with a smile on my face as I left the theater. You can’t ask for any better than that.

One more thing; look for an extended cameo from a very well-known star. I’ll give you a hint: she’s battled monsters many times in her day.

TRIVIA

Shot in 2009, but not released until 2012.

The film’s release date was postponed because the studio wanted to convert it to 3D, despite objections from Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. These plans were eventually scrapped, and the film was released only in 2D.

½

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