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Posts tagged “DVD

WWZ: DVD first screening review

Where does one begin with such a convoluted movie? Especially when said reviewer swore he’d never watch it, or at least refused to watch it in theaters. Be that as it may, I knew i’d eventually screen the DVD once it was released to Red-box or some other rental avenue; I wasn’t going to purchase the thing, and thank Valhalla for that. As it seems, the criticisms I had before watching the movie (only seeing the previews) were replaced with other criticisms. But not everything regarding World War Z is horrible, while watching this popcorn flick, there were moments of real enjoyment. So, lets get to the nitty-gritty and find what made WWZ good, and what made WWZ not so good.

Ignoring the traditional chronological review format, lets tackle this beast one issue at a time. First, the overwhelming reason I swore up and down i’d never spend my hard earned dough on seeing this “zombie” movie in theaters: Zombie Ants and CGI. CGI, as we’ve discussed on this site before, has its place in cinema. Sci-fi movies are a good place to put good moments of CGI action; not horror movies. Horror, in my humble opinion, should remain traditional, but then again, is WWZ a horror movie? The PG-13 rating bothers me. Granted, some really good horror can be done on a PG-13 MPAA rating, consider: InsidiousDrag Me to Hell, 1408The Sixth Sense, and The Possession as just a few examples. But this is a zombie movie. Can you name one zombie movie with a PG-13 rating?

The fact that no one else has made a PG-13 zombie movie isn’t the point. The point is that we’re talking about a zombie movie, plain and simple, and zombie movies require a certain quantity of gore. There were plenty of moment where I found myself expecting for something bloody to happen, such as: the entire movie…and also anytime someone was bitten or how about when Gerry chops (more like swipes, though) off Segen’s hand. Did you notice how she didn’t even bleed!! I’m sorry, you hack someones appendage with a bayonet, there will be blood…lots and lots of blood. Prime-time television has more blood and guts then this movie did. Consider the Walking Dead; granted, The Walking Dead is rated (somehow) PG-14, but still. The point is, couldn’t producers muster up a little more gore without tripping into a R-rating? And the even more pressing point: Zombie movies shouldn’t even be done on a PG-13 rating. All you get is disappointment. Sure, there might be something wrong with us zombie horror fans, but we’ve been messed up for a long time, no need in changing the formula now.

As for CGI, my opinion on the matter has changed somewhat. It would seem near impossible, budget wise, to have scenes showing the zombie apocalypse on a global scale without the use of some CGI clips. Notice the two highlighted words there? Some and clips are key components on keeping CGI from going King Kong. Not that i’m a huge fan of the whole zombie ants thing, but those moments could have been better if only they had cut the screen times short a little. And since we’re on the subject of zombie ants: what genius marketed this movie based solely on those moments from the movie? Igits! Had they shown some of the other scenes without the mindless rage monsters piling on top of each other and knocking over buses, then maybe (big maybe) I would have seen the movie in theaters. There is an actual chance I might see the sequel (whenever that comes out!) because WWZ wasn’t all that bad. Here are some of the parts that I found to be good:

  • When the movie cuts to the main protagonist, Gerry, there is a delay before his kids run into the bedroom. In my opinion, this was a nod to the Dawn of the Dead 2004 remake.
  • The doomed apartment rooftop escape reminded me of the Left 4 Dead level, Mercy.
  • The beginning of the film highlighted the essential element in zombie story telling: panicking people doing bad things.
  • Theme of ignorance until its too late. Pay attention to the conversation between Gerry and Jurgen Warmbrunn, the Director of Mossad. Warmbrunn mentions the Nazi Holocaust and how a majority of European Jewry refused to believe that concentration camps were possible, that there was no way Hitler would do such a thing; until by 1940 the SS began to round folks up on transports. I’m currently taking a Holocaust class and found this tidbit regarding human denial interesting.
  • And then there’s this guy, who so happens to be a doctor working for W.H.O. See what I did there? Was this some bizarre easter egg or just happenstance? WWZthedoctor

Bottom Line: The movie wasn’t as horrible as I originally thought. But, for a movie claiming to be a zombie flick, there was still a lot of let down. It’d be hard to pull off a good zombie movie on a PG-13 rating, though its not impossible. I’m not sure how the MPAA works, but i’m curious if they can up the ante by pushing for a PG-14 rating like The Walking Dead? Just saying, the whole severed hand and zero blood is still bugging me. And then again, the big issue with WWZ is that we cannot approach it with a Romero lens. WWZ is more akin to 28 Days Later and if looked at in that respect, it was a decent “zombie” plague movie, especially from a global perspective. If you missed WWZ in theaters, like me, go out and rent it; I still wouldn’t recommend buying it.

The New Evil Dead

What? You thought you were going to get away without having me say something about the upcoming DVD, Blu-ray release of Evil Dead (laughs hysterically!)? The most surprising thing for me right now is how its only been about three months since this “new” take on Sam Raimi’s masterpiece was released to theaters. A quick turn around considering the movie is more than likely still showing somewhere. But i’m not complaining. The moment news broke that Evil Dead was going to be released in July, my jaw hit the floor in greedy anticipation.  Back in April, and leading up to the theatrical debut, there was a lot of doubt whether the film would disgrace the good work Sam and Bruce had done way back in the 80’s. However, after the red band trailer hit the airways, a lot of doubt was cast aside. Thomas‘ worldwide through in the towel and became true believers, watching the trailer over and over with morbid curiosity. To be honest, the trailer freaked me out, and because there is something fundamentally wrong with me, I became instantly hooked. I needed to see this movie.

If you missed Evil Dead in theaters and are waiting beggarly for Tuesday to finally come around, no worries, i’m not planning on spoiling anything for you.  But I will say, the casting was great (lesser known’s could have only pulled this off. Casting an already “famous” person would have been too distracting). The story and script were sound, keeping to the original in spirit, but adding a deeper level of struggle and conflict. And the gore, still so true to Raimi’s unique and unusual tastes. Above everything else, Evil Dead proved to countless horror nerds that reboots can be done correctly and respectfully, keeping as much to the original as possible, whilst also taking it deeper and adding different twists and turns for a newer audience. Back in April, after the credits rolled, in my lounged theater seat, I pondered over which Evil Dead was best. Let me be the first honest fanboy and say out loud that the remake is, in my humble opinion, (slightly) better than the 1981 original. I know, I know, how can I say such a thing? Well, its true. The original is indeed a masterpiece, for its generation. Considering its been over thirty years, this reimagining, against all odds, took Sam’s vision and added to it, sticking to the lower budget feel, but jiving it up for a newer audience. Now, remember, i’m only talking about the 81′ Evil Dead, not the famous chainsaw induced, limb removing sequel, Evil Dead II. Groovy? Okay, moving on.

Here’s a list of special features that will be included in either/or both DVD, Blu-ray release:

  • Commentary featuring stars Jane Levy, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Director Fede Alvarez and writer Rodo Sayagues (Blu-ray exclusive)
  • “Making Life Difficult” – The Intense and Physically Exhausting Creation of the Film
  • “Being Mia” – The Physical and Psychological Transformation into “Evil Mia”
  • “Directing The Dead” – Director Fede Alvarez re-imagines a cult horror classic
  • “Unleashing The Evil Force” – Exploring the origins and design of the new Book of the Dead (Blu-ray exclusive)
  • “Evil Dead the Reboot” – Cast Rehearsals, Bruce Campbell, Deadites and more! (Blu-ray exclusive)

If your asking yourself, “What? That’s it? No ‘Directors Uncut’ version?” Than you and I are on the same page! Yup, looks like this “first” release is just going to be the film and a couple of extras. And I say, “first” release because we all know these guys are going to double dip and release another version sometime down the road. My bet, some time around October. Does this make me instantly hate them? Am I now going to refuse the release and boycott all sales? Nope, not in the slightest. I’m just going to sneer and complain while at the same time purchasing  my DVD copy; the Blu-ray can wait till something “uncut” comes out. Yeah, whatever, you know you’ll be doing the same thing!

If you somehow missed all the hype and haven’t bothered to watch the red band trailer, here it is below:

If you’ve seen the trailer and the movie and want to check out what the meager extra features will be, check out this short video below:

Evil Dead (2013) is set to release July 16th, 2013.