BluRay/DVD Reviews

WORLD WAR Z

By • Oct 10th, 2013 •

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IMDB classifies WWZ as Action/Adventure/Horror. Well isn’t that interesting. 35 years ago, another zombie epic was just such a genre bender, that being George Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD. In fact I was there for the filming of some of that GONE WITH THE WIND of the horror genre, and George was worried about whether he’d gone too far afield by introducing those other elements into the narrow confines of what the public was used to getting when they forked over their cabbage to see a horror flick.

Well George needn’t have been too worried, even though, added to the gamble of the genre-stir, DAWN went out unrated – a daring move for the time. I remember going to see it at the Rivoli theater on Broadway, and DAWN’s meticulous producer, Richard Rubinstein, was standing outside counting how many paying customers were going in to see the film. No skimming on ticket sales was going to occur on his watch.

Brad Pitt produced (with a few others) WWZ, greatly adapted from the book by Max Brooks, and rumors leaked like urine from a damaged prostate about reshoots, vast financial overages, and, of course, about quality. This Summer, five of the tent-pole blockbusters bit the dust big time. THE LONE RANGER. PACIFIC RIM. WHITE HOUSE DOWN. AFTER EARTH. and RIPD.

But not WORLD WAR Z. Those zombie-lovers kept coming, and the pernicious advance word of mouth couldn’t stop them.

Now we have a combo DVD/BluRay pack, and we get to see not only the theatrical PG-13 version, but the Unrated version which is a whopping, chomping 7 minutes longer. And it’s better. Pitt is a rational presence in the midst of worldwide chaos and collapse, even though some major snafus are his doing (the cellphone incident is one of the brilliant moments of the year. Everyone yelled in the theater, and everyone yelled during the screening in my living room). The additions amount to more violence, much more blood, and most prominently, a visceral addition to a scene with David Morse.

Here’s hoping that some future release will contain the ‘Russia’ sequence that was filmed but eliminated and replaced by the excellent, more intimate third act that concludes both versions of the film on the BluRay. Perhaps it could be included in a ‘making of’ doc?

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