On an afternoon date, I took my lady to World War Z of all things. Why not? Zombie culture has become something of a social norm. I read the book and enjoyed it for its peculiar take on its fictional world. Also, who doesn’t like Brad Pitt? He is our hero. After seeing the film, though, I’m still not sure why the world is on his shoulders, but lord does the man put butts in the seats.
The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, and Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake have really brought zombies to the mainstream. It is unheard of for studios to use a horror film as their Summer tent poles, but that is now possible. World War Z allows you all of five minutes before it kicks in to gear. Zombies are flying towards people and eating them and all that other stuff zombies do. It’s entertaining, but the CGI used for the zombies eliminates any sense of dread or general terror for the main characters. You know early on that Brad Pitt is pretty zombie proof.
I mentioned that the movie moves at breakneck pace, but this is a strange notion since I felt the movie was overlong. Like most zombie films, I didn’t see where the film could go without just letting the world blow up. Brad Pitt is traveling country to country, trying to find a cure, and fails at every turn. He eventually stumbles upon a moronic idea that the film accepts but I refuse to. You’ll just have to check it out.
My biggest gripe about the film isn’t anything it can help. They had to make the film PG-13 and this involved eliminating the horror and gore elements that are usually associated with this genre. They did it to allow more people to come see it and pay their hard earned dollars, but this shortcoming takes away from the violence, forcing the film to rely on its story and acting to get us through. For me, this made the film fall flat on its face because the story was atrocious.
Nothing is resolved by film’s end because they are making sequels. I will happily accept title ideas in the comments below, but I’m siding with:
World War Z: The Zequel
UPDATE: The lady and I did find one scene worth while. Please pay special attention to the "air plane" sequence. There is a zombie that looks Brad Pitt in the eye and makes the Mr. Bean face. If you are confused, I'll refresh your memory.
I’ve been busy for the past two months, barring me from any real movie time. I managed to see Iron Man 3 and Great Gatsby (both of these I just found “okay”), but I’ve mostly stayed away from the local Carmike. I’m still a little bitter that I can’t say the local “Rave,” but no one has time for me to rant about that. Anyways, I woke up this morning with the intention of getting my film-going fix. I couldn’t have made a better decision.
I knew I was going to see Man of Steel today, but somehow I didn’t think that was going to be enough to satiate my thirst. What is one to do to fix that? Go see This is the End first? Naturally. In my brief quarter of a century on this planet, I feel like I’ve grown up with the cast of this movie. Seth Rogen and company have made the comedies that define my generation. They didn’t have to play for obvious tropes to gain my giggles. They are just naturally funny. No matter where they are in their careers, they feel like real people.
The intimate nature of the ridiculousness that was This is the End worked for the seven people that made up my audience at 10:45 in the morning. So much happens in the film that I really rather not spoil but, at the same time, I felt like I was hanging out with my best friends for two hours. It is chocked full of self referential humor, fantastic cameos, some extremely impressive CG work, and the best ending to any film I’ve ever seen. To me, it felt like a spiritual sequel to Cabin in the Woods. The difference being that Cabin was Comedy Horror while this was Horror Comedy. If you do not see another movie this summer, see This is the End.
To continue my emotion rollercoaster, I gave myself a ten minute breather and then went right into the crowded 1:15 showing of Man of Steel. In a lot of ways, the anything goes nature of This is the End prepared me not to be impressed by anything Zack Snyder threw up on the screen. The whole vibe of my theater was different too. I went from the intimate feeling of one room to being surrounded by Blue Collar Americans in the next. I heard murmurs from older men whose only frame of reference was the Richard Donner films.
I hate to say it but my frame of reference doesn’t even go that far. I’d read that I was going to be disappointed by the movie and chose to lower my expectations. I’ve always been a huge Batman fan and never gave any other JLA members a chance. After twenty minutes of trailers (ELYSIUM, RIGHT?), the film started and we are handed a wonderful performance by Russell Crowe as Jor-El. I’ve been launched into the fantastical world of Krypton and Crowe totally grounded the whole thing for me. It reminded me why I loved him in Gladiator so much. Crowe, Michael Shannon, and Kevin Costner do a great job keeping the movie flowing in the acting department.
With Snyder behind the lens, the movie has wonderful special effects shots and the action is stellar. I prefer the non-linear story telling they chose since it keeps the film away from the “been there, done that” feeling of most super hero flicks. I would definitely see it again.
One thing I didn’t like, and this is a gripe about Avengers too, is the complete disregard for human life in the huge battles. Literally thousands of people had to of died during the final sequence. Buildings are gone that may never come back. Later we are shown people back in the office like it didn’t happen. From what I could tell, everything was gone. Suspension of disbelief is something I need to work on.
Both great films, but I advise you to see both of these films back to back when you get around to it.
Thomas William Shaw is an author and stage actor from Birmingham, AL. He lives with his wife, Lauren, their children, and their cats in a quiet place. Occasionally he will post about it.