World War Z – Film Review

World War Z

Gerry Lane (Bradd Pitt) was a nice dad man who used to have a super important job at the United Nations. Gerry Lane liked making a breakfast of waffles for his wife and two daughters every day because he’s a nice man. One day a zombie virus broke out and Gerry Lane was told to go and save the world or his family would be left for the zombies, so Gerry Lane decided to visit all the countries in the world and save humanity.

Kid-friendly, bloodless and politically diluted, World War Z is about to hit screens after its lengthy and highly publicized “troubled” production. Rewrites, reshoots, the director of Quantum of Solace and Brad Pitt with silly long hair; it’s understandable that people were apprehensive of the movie. As far as disaster films go though, World War Z is pretty solid.

You read correctly: disaster, not zombie. Sure, the primary antagonist is neither an asteroid nor global warming, but the sheer scale of zombie apocalypsing is insane and very disaster movie-like. The waves of the walking dead ravenously piling over one and other, brutally destroying all in their path is not unlike the tsunamis wiping out NYC in The Day After Tomorrow – it’s just there’s a little more chomping. As we follow Gerry on his worldwide travelogue of the zombie outbreak we bear witness to some truly epic and intense set-piece action that definitely makes up for the film’s blaring flaws elsewhere.

WWZ 1

Whilst the third act rewrites have drawn much attention and spawned many tweets that feature their posters wanting to teabag Damon Lindelof it is the first two thirds of the film where most of the problems lie. Early in the film a doctor from Casualty states that “movement is life,” a sentiment director Marc Forster takes a little too much to heart as the film initially rushes from one scene to another with characters mumbling incoherent exposition as quickly and quietly as they can. If I was cool I’d quip something along the lines of this style being as dead but animated as the film’s zombies.

On his speedy country-crawl Gerry also has a nasty habit of leaving everyone behind (mostly because they die – oh, inconsiderate zombies) which means that, aside from a badass Israeli soldier or his family – who are all but dropped from the narrative within 30 minutes – we have no one to root for other than Gerry, who tiresomely dodges death more times than South Park’s Kenny McCormick. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a bit of Brad Pitt but even Roland Emmerich’s films have more to offer in the way of interesting and sympathetic characters.

WWZ 2

Because I don’t want to continue writing many paragraphs where I shame the film when it’s actually very enjoyable I will put my remaining negative thoughts in a bullet point list:

  • Why do the lights in all corridors suddenly flicker after the outbreak? Because zombies are eating people now everyone’s light bulbs suddenly decide to balls-up?
  • There’s a Matthew Fox cameo that only lasts for 3 frames.
  • There are 6 different times where the film unnecessarily makes you jump.
  • Seriously, it doesn’t add anything to the film; it just makes you wee yourself a bit and look like a moron.
  • Bryan Cranston is nowhere to be seen.
  • Silly, pointless jumpy stuff *grumble grumble grumble*
  • Gerry Lane’s daughter has asthma. This adds nothing to anything other than that she is a stereotype and I don’t like her.
  • The film plays itself so straight that when you laugh at something that’s actually pretty funny you feel dirty and awkward.
  • The 3D is sub-par.
  • Brad Pitt doesn’t look good with that long hair.

It seems that not many people are hugely excited for World War Z but you should be… kind of. The plot is tedious, the score is dramatic and the action is spectacular; what more could people want in a summertime zombie horde film? It’s a totally enjoyable dumb piece of action cinema. Way better than that Danny Boyle schlock.

World War Z is released in sub-par 3D and cool 2D nationwide on June 21st.

Prometheus – Film Review

With Ridley Scott back in the Captain’s seat and Sigourney Weaver looking a lot like Noomi Rapace, fans can finally sink their rabid teeth into what may be the truest prequel/sequel/sidequel in the Alien franchise to date. Of course though, as my Uncle Ben once told me*: with great expectation comes great disappointment.

For those of you that never caught any of the eight hundred spoilerific trailers and posters, Prometheus sends a misfit group of scientists to a distant solar system on the dime of a God-complexed Guy Pearce to discover the origins of both the Alien franchise and the human race. Of course, this being a film in the Alien canon, events take an awry turn and things get pretty tense and icky for the naive explorers.

The disappointing thing about Prometheus was its marketing (as alluring as it was). Prometheus is by no means a perfect film to begin with but the trailers and posters gave away almost every major plot point and impressive reveal there was to be seen. Your experience of the film is then tarnished by nagging thoughts such as: “I’ve already seen all of this, why do I have to pay to watch the trailer last over two hours?!” and “Grrrrr.” If I’ve not explained that very well, imagine how you might have felt if Star Wars Episode V’s trailer revealed the pivotal Vader/Luke “No, I am your father” moment**. That is essentially what happened with Prometheus and its alluded to Alien mythos.

As dissatisfied as the words above come off as, once you get over the fact that the entire film had been spoiled by the film studio itself, Prometheus is an enjoyable – if at times oddly paced and occasionally confusing – film.

It doesn’t really answer or deliver on what it sets out to do in plot or idea as a prequel, but – as co-writer Damon Lindelof would often say to calm Lost fanatics – the journey itself is the exciting part. For every vague and unanswered question there are numerous phallic, gooey creatures that creep you out. For every unforgivable bit of prosthetic on Guy Pearce’s head there are countless enchanting landscapes and stunning set-pieces to gape at. For every moment you miss Ellen Ripley and Xenomorphs, Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw is there to kick the arse of both of their memories with an extremely cool performance (even if she and the rest of the characters are, on the whole, a little two dimensional). And finally, I would be remiss to not mention just how subtly amazing Michael Fassbender’s token android David is.

I am itching to detail more of the film’s particularly great moments (of which there are some corkers), but to even allude to them may spoil the little left that is unknown.

The amount of flack that Prometheus is taking is understandable. It is hardly the most stunning or exciting film of 2012 but as far as Ridley Scott films go – and I write this as someone who doesn’t place much stock in Blade Runner – this is one of his best, and it easily equals Alien in style, character and idea development. It isn’t the easiest film to love but please, just hold back on angrily throwing face huggers at Scott et al until you’ve had a good and lengthy cryostasis sleep to think about the film properly. You might find that actually, you kind of liked it too.

*This might not have been what he really said … or even been my Uncle.

**If I’ve just ruined that then I really have no words for you except for how old are you?!