Thursday, June 27, 2013

Movie Review: WORLD WAR Z - 8.6 Stars... But With A Caveat!

Definitely epic in scale, WORLD WAR Z is a big budget zombie film - finally. However, there's many issues with the movie, not the least of which is the 3D. I had a headache within 30 seconds of the movie starting and at the end, I had a headache that lasted about two hours. It wasn't a splitting headache, but it was enough to give me pause in recommending the 3D. I think the movie really does need 3D to give you added immersion into this apocalyptic vision and help with suspension of disbelief but it was not up to my satisfaction. More on that later.

By now many of you know that what we saw on the screen was not how it was originally meant to be seen. It was rewritten and reshot.

I can tell where Damon Lindelof probably started his rewrite. Just about the time where one of Brad Pitt's collaborators says "India's a black hole" but in the trailer he says: "Russia's a black hole". I just don't get how a zombie can tell a person has a deadly infliction coursing in their body through a sealed door, or just by running around someone. A keen sense of smell? It's a joke. Obviously, it set sequels up very well, but it's a cop out. I would've rather Pitt's family fall into peril and have them come back and rescue them. The use of the Israeli female soldier is very interesting and I enjoyed that part. But they didn't even keep her around to the end to give that awkward yet thankful moment when Pitt's wife is told about her and how she helped him through danger.

The 3D was done by Cinesite and Prime Focus. The second the movie began I could tell that the dialed up 3D was just past the comfortable level. You certainly could tell they spent money on 3D and they wanted to show it. However, this is no Legend 3D or Stereo D conversion. They didn't know (or care that much) where to rest the eyes and you only dial in the 3D depth to that measure when the audience is fully engaged in a action-packed scene, in the midst of a terrifying shot (in my opinion anyway) or in some establishing shots. Something was off, and it literally hurt. The overall appearance of the 3D seems well done, but it's constantly dialed up with hardly any breaks (that I observed anyway). Therefore a headache. Not everyone will get one or you may not even know why you have one, but it's the 3D.

If you're going to spend money on a tentpole 3D movie with this kind of budget, go with the top-tier 3D conversions (like Legend 3D or Stereo D). Moreover, shoot with native 3D using a services company that knows what they're doing like 3ality Technica or Cameron Pace. Why on earth would you roll the dice with a potentially shoddy conversion with anyone else?

I'm just not motivated by this movie or screening it again - unlike MAN OF STEEL. In fact, I would rather see WORLD WAR Z told from the point of view of the father protecting his family and keep them out of harms way and having the zombies and the government interfering with them along the way, all the while he's just trying to protect his family. The movie feels like a cop out. They're going to change the original book anyway, why not make it personal. I'm actually getting tired of the save the world tentpole movie. Especially if it fails in the attempt. I want more personal connection, more emotion, more visceral involvement. Less huge scope.

I wrote that previous paragraph last night before reading this. However, I would have preferred to see the original ending! Oh well, can't have it all. Besides, this is a tentpole zombie movie so at a molecular level I am very happy. I just wish it was everything I was hoping for. Perhaps the sequel, properly scribed and properly shot in 3D will be the ticket.

WORLD WAR Z is now playing.

Thanks to Empire Theaters for the screening! If it wasn't for your outstanding theatrical experience baseline, I wouldn't know when to complain about the creative side. Appreciated!

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Jim Dorey
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