Thursday, June 20, 2013

[IGH] at the Movies: World War Z

The other night, Wilderowens and I attended a screening of World War Z. I wasn't in the best of moods, thanks to bad weather and some disorganization with the people running the event, so my already low expectations, were running even lower when the movie started, but I love when a movie surprises me.

The first thing I noticed was how much better the 3D was on this compared to Man of Steel. Without any fancy tricks, there was a lot of depth to the film. Five minutes in and I was already thinking, "This is how you do 3D." Was it necessary? No. But unlike Man of Steel, where the 3D did absolutely nothing to enhance the film, WWZ used it well. There were many beautiful and interesting shots that were enhanced by the 3D.

I loved the international feel of the movie. Brad Pitt's character, Gerry, goes all over the globe, and I thought it really opened up the story. So many zombie movies stay in such a small area that it becomes easy to forget that there are attacks all over. WWZ made sure you understood that this was a worldwide situation. *SIDE NOTE - It was so nice to see New York not get destroyed for once. You get a brief glimpse, but none of the real action happens in New York and I was so happy about that. I know NY is iconic, but it gets really tiresome to see the places you walk by get destroyed on a regular basis.

Daniella Kertesz & Brad Pitt
This is really Brad Pitt's movie. There are several supporting characters, but because Brad Pitt was constantly on the move, they didn’t get to stick around long enough. I enjoyed his interactions with his family. When he's talking to his kids, you could see that he's only partially acting because his paternal nature was just naturally coming out. This wasn't the type of role I had expected from him. I thought he'd be playing more of an action hero, but he didn't. Gerry was a guy who had been in action and could handle himself, but he's no Stallone or Schwarzenegger. He's not looking for a fight; he's looking for answers. If anything, Daniella Kertesz' Segen was much more of a badass than he was. She's a relative newcomer, having done some work in Israel, but I think we're going to be seeing a lot more of her. Of all the other actors in the movie, she was the standout. 

The real reason why WWZ surprised me is because I didn't expect it to be as tense as it was. The writing team, which consisted of Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof, and J. Michael Stracznski, and director Marc Forster, understood that what's scary is not necessarily lots of blood and guts flying around while the zombies eat, though that is pretty scary. What really messes with the mind are the quiet moments. Those moments where the audience knows something is about to happen, but the characters don't, so everyone is holding their breath, waiting for them to find out. It's also
not always showing everything and letting our imaginations run wild. That's what WWZ did. It created suspense. I'm not ashamed to admit there were a few moments where I had to cover my eyes because I couldn't handle the buildup. In a way, WWZ reminded me of the old horror movies for the 1930's and 40's - some cheesy effects, (the climbing zombies looked weird, and the other zombies didn't look great until the end, when they had more close ups) but delivers on suspense and thrills. 

I haven't read the book yet, so I can't tell you how it compares, but the way I see it, any movie that causes me to reevaluate my zombie apocalypse survival plan is a good one. Give it try. 

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