Weekend Viewing Roundup and World War Z review

Hello all, hope you have a great weekend. Today is the Autumnal Equinox, that is the first day of Fall! I’m sooo lovin’ the crisp, cool air of Autumn! 😀 So did you hit the theaters this weekend? Perhaps you went to see PRISONERS, billed as the first adult drama of the Fall season. If you’ve read Ted’s review from Friday, sounds like it’s worth a watch despite the long running time of more than 2.5 hours! As for me, I’d rather rent that film later on because of that running time.

Gravity_ThumbnailI did see Gravity last week and this is my quick thought on that film:

It’s perhaps THE best 3D film I saw all year and it’s one of those films that’s best to experience on the big screen or even IMAX. I can’t review it until its US release date of October 4 but let me just say it lives up to the hype. Always nice when that happens!

HTTYD_ThumbnailI also rewatched How to Train Your Dragon, which was as much fun as the first time I saw it. This is the fourth time we watched our Blu-ray, so the re-playability value is great. It always made us regret that we didn’t get to see this on the big screen! So when the sequel comes out next year, we’ll make sure to catch it on IMAX. The flying sequences with the Night Fury a.k.a. Toothless is spectacular!

Now here’s my review of…

WORLD WAR Z

WWZ_banner On Friday night, we managed to watch the unrated version of World War Z. I had been curious about this movie for some time and I heard complaints from people the fact that the film has a PG-13 rating. Now, having seen the unrated version which shows some of the really brutal scenes, including a hand getting chopped off with blood spluttering all over, I’d think that the film would probably make less of an impact in its toned-down version. Ted has posted his full review a few months ago so I’m not going to rehash the plot again. Besides, all you need to know is that a virus has somehow turned a large population of the world into the undead and it’s quickly spreading as every person who got bitten immediately turns into a flesh-eating zombie! Now, as a non-fan of the Zombie sub-genre, I wasn’t too keen on this film initially. But the more I read about it, including the numerous production issues and multiple rewrites, I’m curious how this film would turn out. Well, I actually quite like this one. I think the scale of just how catastrophic the zombie attacks are, devouring major cities in a matter of minutes, is pretty well-done. The personal story of Brad Pitt‘s character and his family isn’t as compelling as I had thought, and I agree with Ted that Mireille Enos‘ role who seemed intriguing at first ended up being nothing more than just the worried wife as her husband is out saving the world. WWZ_stills The film also has a pretty strong third act at a W.H.O. facility, which gives us a nice break from the herd of zombies as a small band of human survivors try to outsmart remaining zombies in a deserting wing of the UN building. Interesting to see Scottish actor Peter Capaldi as “W.H.O. Doctor.” As you know, a couple of months after the film’s release, the BBC announced he would be portraying the title role in Doctor Who. Pretty uncanny, huh? [SPOILER ALERT – highlight text below to read] One of the gripes I have with the movie is regarding the demise of the young virologist Andrew Fassbach who’s on mission to South Korea to find the source of the zombie outbreak. I mean seriously, with all of those zombies all around him, he actually perished when he tripped on the plane’s rear door and accidentally shot himself!! Unbelievable! Is this one of those last-minute rewrites that they didn’t even bother to figure out a decent way to go for the doctor?? I thought that was pretty lame that it took me out of the movie for a bit. Anybody else bothered by that?? I also heard that this finale is a result of one of those rewrites, which gives the audience a more hopeful ending. My impression is that the finale is a bit too good to be true, but I guess it’s got a perfect set up for a sequel. Props for Marc Forster for delivering an action-packed zombie thriller that’s both thrilling and suspenseful. Instead of a typical monster horror flick, World War Z is more in the vein of Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion which also deals with an infectious disease that spreads quickly. I think the scariest part is that those two films make me think that this kind of calamity is perhaps not so implausible. Maybe we should give this CDC article a read then, you just never know, ahah.

Three and a half stars out of Five
3.5 out of 5 reels


Well, that’s my weekend recap. What did YOU see this weekend?

51 thoughts on “Weekend Viewing Roundup and World War Z review

  1. Ted S.

    Yeah I love this fall cool weather too, wish it would last all year long.

    I watched World War Z again, I think I liked it less the second time around and that so called “unrated” cut was just a marketing ploy to get people buy the disc. It’s not that different from the original cut since they intended the film to be PG13 from the beginning, that kind of ploy ticks me off. On the second viewing, I thought the film didn’t have much going on without the blood and gore and by getting rid of the geopolitics theme from the novel, it just wasn’t that interesting. As for the doctor who accidentally shot himself, that was just an excuse the writers came up with so that Pitt’s character can be the expert and of course saves the world. It didn’t bother me at all.

    I was hoping they would include the original ending of the film on the disc, Marc Forster said they shot the sequence but it needs visual effects so may never see it since it’s going to cost millions of dollars to finish the sequence. Here’s an article where he talked about that ending: http://www.movies.com/movie-news/marc-forster-world-war-z-original-ending/13541. I didn’t care for the low key ending so I hope we get to see this big spectacle ending someday, pretty sure they’ll release it when the eventual sequel comes out.

    I also rented Now You See Me, wow I wish I can get two hours of my life back. It’s on my worst of year list. Such a dumb premise and movie.

    1. Ah, interesting to hear that the unrated version isn’t all that different from the PG-13 one. It’s actually not as brutal as I had expected, I think the most blood was during the amputation scene. There are also very few closeups of the zombies themselves which look relatively ‘clean’ to me, ahah.

      Maybe you’ll see the big spectacle ending in the sequel. Didn’t they plan for this to be a trilogy or something?

      Oy, Now You See Me is awful! Didn’t you read my review? 😉

      1. Ted S.

        Yeah, I assume they might include that sequence in the sequel or I just hope they release another cut of the movie with that ending and let us the paid audiences decide which one is better. But some tiny clips of that sequence actually appeared in the montage near the end of the movie when Pitt’s character was reuniting with his family.

        I do remember your review of Now You See Me, I thought maybe it would be just a fun silly heist flick. Boy was I wrong, it felt like some writers came up with just the story concept and decided to just make the movie based on that alone. No characters or plot development at all, I hated it!

  2. It’s autumn already there? I love the image of autumn…. falling leaves and all. I want to watch both Prisoners and Gravity when they come out here. As for World War Z, I actually enjoyed it a lot. It does seem I’m in the minority though but I just enjoy fast and ruthless zombies compared to slow moving ones!

    1. Yeah, Fall is definitely in the air. I love the cool, crisp temp in the morning and yes, the Fall foliage is gorgeous here. You’ve got to see Gravity on the big screen Asrap, it’s sooo marvelous to behold. Ahah yeah, the zombies in WWZ are definitely pretty agile and fast!

  3. Hey Ruth! Glad you enjoyed WWZ. I gotta say I loved it. I’ve seen the PG-13 version twice and will probably see the unrated cut this week. I gotta say I loved how they captured the intensity and threat in the PG-13 version. It’s tense and creepy and did it without the usual gore tactics.

    I quite liked the end. I didn’t get the sense that it was too neat and tidy. SPOILER….I mean yes, there is a reuniting but how much has changed? The fate of things is very much still up in the air. And did his risk cause any long lasting effects?

    Oh, as for the spoiler scene you mentioned. I thought that it was intended to be a touch of dark humor. It was pretty abrupt and kinda weird. But it really didn’t bother me that much. There was another scene the had me shaking my head a lot more than that one. 😉

    1. Hi Keith, curious to hear what you think of the unrated version as Ted said it’s similar. It does have that creepy feel and to me the unrated cut is still not as gory as I had thought it would be (which is good as I don’t care for that stuff).

      Yeah, the ending definitely was set up for ‘what’s to come’ now that the temporary cure is working. I was wondering the same thing about the lasting effect of injecting one’s body w/ terminal disease, even for only a short time.

      I guess I knew the doctor wasn’t gonna be around for long but man, I wasn’t expecting him to go THAT quickly. He’s pretty cute too, so I wish he had stayed on until the end, ahahahaha. What’s the other scene that had you shaking your head? Now I’m curious.

      1. Aha! The cute factor! 😉

        The scene I’m talking about is the plane crash. So many fatalities but our protagonist sits buckled in his seat. Sure he had metal sticking in his side, but that was one of those ‘shake your head’ scenes.

        1. Just kidding. That’s not the only reason, I mean even if the doctor was old and bald I’d still be bothered by how fast he went, ahah.

          Oh right, the plane crash w/ that GIANT metal sticking on Pitt’s side and he could still walk quite far to the WHO facility! Then 3 days later he was able to run around after the surgery, wow! 😀

  4. I watched This is the End for a second time and enjoyed it as much as the first time I saw it, one of the best comedies this year.

    I really enjoyed World War Z and nice to hear you also had a great time. Did not have a problem with the way that doctor died.

    1. Hi Nostra. I still haven’t mustered up any interest to see This is the End for some reason. Hmmm, seems like I’m the only one bothered by how fast the doctor went down, ahah.

  5. Wanna pick you up on your spoiler for WWZ, Ruth. I didn’t think it was an annoying part of the film, really, because it refocused Brad Pitt’s role into the one who had to sort it out – the character you are talking about could possibly have figured it all out earlier than Pitt did, so to provide some tension and add a bit of concern to the operation (as if they needed more!) i think it was wise to do what they did.

    But it was unexpected, and I don’t mind the unexpected.

    1. Hi Rodney! Yeah I guess it was set up all along that Pitt was gonna be the savior of the world but really, they could’ve thought of a lot of better ways for the young doctor to perish. Why can’t he get bitten by one of the zombies?? Ah well, small quibble I guess but it just made me go, ‘oh come on!!’ 😀

  6. Despite having some pretty jarring pacing issues, and the one scene you didn’t like, I did really enjoy this movie. I wasn’t planning on picking it up anytime soon, but the Unrated cut may make it worthwhile. Glad you enjoyed it, Ruth! 🙂

    1. Hi Billy! I actually didn’t mind so much about the pacing, I also like the fact that they didn’t waste much time before the attack happens! I’m not sure I want to see it again anytime soon though, but I’m curious about the sequel.

    1. Ahah, so you say 😀 I guess I should’ve guessed when they show a closeup of his hand on the trigger (and Pitt’s character warning him about it), I should’ve known something bad’s about to happen to him, but still! One of the most idiotic death on screen IMO.

            1. Maybe it’s meant to be a comic relief or something now that I think about it, but I just thought, why can’t he die getting bitten by one of the zombies??! Ah well, I guess it’s right up there w/ Samuel L. Jackson’s scene in Deep Blue Sea. Have you seen it? I think you’d love it 😀

                1. Ahahaha, I knew you had seen that movie, Tim! I quite enjoyed that one, despite a bunch of silly stuff that went on. But that shark-devouring scene is just EPIC!!! I was like, WHOA!!! I guess it didn’t like his speech, LOL!

  7. Glad to hear you had some fun with this one Ruth. It wasnt all that violent was it? I hope I didn’t give you wrong advice when you were commenting on my review?
    Anyway, you know my thoughts on it. Flawed but damn good fun, all the same. 🙂

    1. Hi Mark! No thankfully even the Unrated cut isn’t all that gory, well apart from that hand amputation scene, ahah. I remember you said I could handle it so yeah, you’re not lying 😀 Thanks my friend.

      1. Glad to hear it. I meant to remind you about the opening scene where the zombies first outbreak while Pitt and his family chat in the car before escaping through the streets. That’s Glasgow you just witnessed. 😉

        1. Ah I see! No wonder it’s beautiful!! I was wondering where that was. Is it supposed to be Glasgow in the film too? I might’ve missed it if they mention that. Sometimes they film it someplace but meant to be a stand in for another city.

          1. No, Glasgow filled in for Philadelphia. That was “George’s Sqaure” – the central part of Glasgow. The scene were Pitt is talking to his family in the car, I was standing just up the road watching them film that. Made my day 🙂

            1. Whoah!! That is way cool Mark. Too bad they asked for too long a commitment for the extras, otherwise we might see you as one of the zombies 😀 One day I’d make it to your beautiful city, Mark! Then you’d have to give me the tour, ok?

                1. Ahahahaha, well we ALL could be a zombie one day, but it’d be cool to be one in a movie 😀

                  One day, yes one day 😀 Same w/ you when you come & visit Minnesota ok?

                  Btw, I want to visit GB’s alma matter, University of Glasgow. I know I’ve sort of gone sour on him lately but I still think about him from time to time. To be frank w/ you I kinda miss him, weird isn’t it? I might even make a post about that. It’s odd that he hasn’t got any project lined up.

                  1. Haha! What with my working, studying, building, blogging and my kids, I regularly wander around like a zombie 😉

                    Yeah, Glasgow Uni is a lovely place. It’s has a very good reputation too.

                    It’s funny mention GB. I was just looking through a few pics the other day where he played in that charity football match. It’s great to see him with his Celtic top on and running shoulders with some great Celtic players.

                    1. Yeah I think ever since cell phones were invented more and more people are walking around like zombies too, very scary! 😀

                      Oh yeah, it’s a very prestigious school, must be quite expensive I’d imagine. Was it the charity match from last year? Maybe he’s just taking a break from film now, well let’s hope he’s got his mojo back when he returns. He really needs to pick good projects!

                    2. Glasgow Uni isn’t without people’s reach for education. I think it’s structured differently here than it is in the states. We get grants (funding) to go through a certain education. You still have to find a part-time job to pay your bills in the meantime, though, but it’s very much achievable.

                      I think the charity match was a couple of years ago now, but if he’s taking a break, that might be a good thing. I have a lot of time for him (despite not enjoying his movies) and hope that he comes back to acting instead of action.

  8. Nice review. I’m very excited to see Gravity and glad to hear it’s pretty great. I spent my weekend watching some old Breaking Bad episodes as well as the newest one.

  9. I’m loving the Autumn weather as well! 😀 Glad you liked Gravity so much, and I can’t wait to see Prisoners later this week. I didn’t like World War Z as much, but it wasn’t as bad as some of the other blockbusters of the year.

    I watched some 1946 films this weekend, such as The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Diary of a Chambermaid and Paisan.

  10. I l iked WWZ. Honestly, You hit it RIGHT on the nail when you say that: “Props for Marc Forster for delivering an action-packed zombie thriller that’s both thrilling and suspenseful. Instead of a typical monster horror flick, World War Z is more in the vein of Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion…”

    It’s not a typical monster horror flick. I found it to be a dramatic movie, set in the backdrop of a Zombie invasion. That seemed to be the biggest problem most people had with this movie. That it wasn’t a ‘pure zombie movie’. But that’s exactly what I liked, as a somewhat fan of the genre. It was accessible to non zombie genre lovers.

    This movie is a perfect example (at least to me) of expectations. And it had everything stacked against it. It had expectations by the audience by being based on a book, by supposedly being a genre zombie flick, by bad press, etc. I went in with no expectations (heard nothing living out of North America for 2 years) and came out loving it.

    1. Hello Shah! We’re in agreement once again. I think I like WWZ because it’s not the typical zombie movie, and it doesn’t rely on simply blood and gore to create dramatic tension. I was able to tune out the bad press on this film and I was actually intrigued by the premise. Thankfully the direction works for the most part, though I could use less of an ‘action hero’ protagonist as far as Pitt’s character is concerned. So yeah, I have my quibbles but overall I enjoyed it.

  11. Great recap. So happy that Autumn is here and so jealous that you already got to see Gravity! We gave WWZ the same rating. I was expecting something much worse and, while I did think it had a lot of flwas, I really had fun. That first hour is just spectacular. What you said about Fassbach didn’t really bother me, but agree on Enos. I think my biggest issue was the ending.

    1. Hi Fernando! I think Gravity would be worth the wait man, it’s just incredible!

      So are you expecting the more battle-laden finale that Ted was talking about above? I think they might save that for the sequel.

  12. Still need to catch WWZ, heard such conflicted things about it that I want to see it for myself. Really glad you liked Gravity, very much looking forward to that. As for my own viewing, I saw Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly which has a mediocre plot but some excellent performances, particularly from Brad Pitt.

  13. I have World War Z on my to-watch list ever since it came out. I probably would have given it a go while it was in the theater but the negative reviews and the stories about the multiple rewrites kept me at home.
    I’m still somewhat interested, especially since there is an unrated version we can all get our hands on that seems a lot better than the stale PG-13 version everyone seemed to hate.

    I’m looking forward to your review of Gravity. I can’t wait to see that one. Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men is one of my favorite films.
    Nice post!

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