Wednesday, July 17, 2013

5 For; 5 Against: "World War Z"

Mireille Enos and Brad Pitt in World War Z
I'm back! After 5 1/2 days in Chicago (part business/part pleasure), I'm home and back online. I had a great time with co-workers and friends (met up with a High School friend and her husband who just happened to be vacationing there at the same time) and got to explore Hyde Park, a part of Chicago with which I was previously unfamiliar and apparently the home of the Obama family. I also got to visit the Shedd Aquarium and wade in the waters of Lake Michigan (the first time I've ever had my feet in a lake!) where I got to see not only many hot, mostly naked gay guys but got a look at the building where Bob Newhart lived with Suzanne Pleshette in the 70's. I ate lots of great food (Astoundingly delicious Pineapple Curry Shrimp at Chant; amazing -- and huge! -- Apple Pie at Clarke's and super yummy Rigatoni Bolognese at Pizza Capri). I also got to spend time with two terrific Chicagoans, at least one of whom managed to get me very drunk (at Scot's Bar) without taking advantage of me (though there were at least two other patrons I would have happily taken advantage of -- TMI?). Anyway...

And since July in Chicago is almost as intensely hot and humid as July in the Delaware Valley, I took yesterday afternoon to visit the new Harper Theatre in an effort to escape yesterday's oppressive heat (though I've found it much hotter, here at home).  There were several movies I wanted to see playing at the Harper, but I'd already promised to see a couple of them with other friends, so I settled on a movie I hadn't originally planned on seeing at all: World War Z. And since it's been out for a while and I'm still pretty exhausted from my trip (I need a vacation from my vacation), here's my "Jeep Guy" 5 For/Five Against:

Five For:

5. The movie takes little (if any) time getting started, though it should be obvious to any Philadelphian that Prague is a poor substitute for the real Philly.

4. There are some rather amazing SFX, including some very creepy zombies.

3. Director Marc Forster knows how to deliver an exciting action sequence.

2. Marco Beltrami's score is almost as perfect as his other works.

1. The truly international cast works well together, delivering some excellent performances despite the film's overtly silly premise.

Five Against:

5. World War Z is not a zombie movie. It feels more like an infection movie, much like Steven Soderbergh's Contagion

4. Brad Pitt (like many former Hollywood Hotties) is not aging well, and it shows (though that may well have been the director's intention).

3. Swarming zombies. Like the Marabunta ants in The Naked Jungle, the zombies in World War Z climb on top of one another to reach their prey, suggesting a previously unseen (and nonsensical) hive mentality presented in any other zombie movie ever made.

2. Matthew Fox is completely wasted in a role which could have played by any other day-player. 

1. This movie has little, if anything, to do with the novel on which it is based. Max Brooks' novel (which bored Uncle P to death) had no true through-narrative. Each chapter detailed the experience of a specific person in a different part of the world as told to a UN investigator after the events described. While the screenplay (by three writers, including "Lost" writer Damon Lindelof) attempts to draw the disparate elements together, it ultimately fails to thrill, scare or cause the audience to care about the non-ending.

I'm hardly surprised that I didn't actually like this movie, though I gave the benefit of the doubt. Eschewing the gore that is traditional to the genre (almost every zombie kill is made off-screen) and concentrating instead on the search for a cure, World War Z fails as a Zombie movie while almost succeeding as an Action Thriller. And while the truly International cast mostly proves themselves up to the task, we are left wondering exactly what the task was.

** (Two Out of Four Stars).

More, anon.

No comments: