REVIEW: World War Z

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World War Z
Directed by: Marc Forster
Written by: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelof (screenplay), Max Brooks (novel)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz and James Badge Dale

There is no grand re-imagining of the zombie movie with this adaptation of Max Brooks’ critically acclaimed World War Z.  Despite the hype and the presence of Brad Pitt, it is almost disarmingly straight-forward.  A contagion is spreading, turning everyone into zombies, there is a cure somewhere and a man must go find it.  And he does.  And that’s pretty much it.

Director Marc Forster ensures that it’s quite a thrilling ride, opting for frantic, well-choreographed action sequences than flesh-ripping. By the end, though, it felt like a story that, while sincere, was ignorant of the fact that this movie has been made fairly continuously for the past few decades.  It doesn’t do something new with the idea of zombies, the filming technique is similar to the frantic style of 28 Days Later but on a larger and less gory scale.

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REVIEW: Super 8

Super 8
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Written by: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler and Riley Griffiths

Science fiction might be a genre that appears to always be looking ahead, embracing the latest 3D technology, CGI backgrounds or scientific discoveries; but at its core it has always looked at its influences and initial pioneers to give direction to stories that span light years, universes or complex human-political analogies away.

With the names J.J. Abrams and Steven Steven Spielberg attached to a summer monster movie, it appeared we’d be expecting the same expectations-breaking story: big blockbuster, big effects, big noises and big disappointment. Collaborations like Spielberg and Bay’s Transformers series didn’t give us much hope, but Abram’s recent works like Star Trek certainly did. A young gun with a visual track record and a producer with the know-how is a great comparison to Peter Jackson apprenticing Neil Bloomkamp with his District 9, which isn’t the only comparison Super 8 draws with the movie.

To put it briefly: instead of attempting to rewrite the genre as Abrams has done with TV, they flip the pages back, finding the core and simplicity in great story telling with a soft $50 million budget. Continue reading