The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/3D Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13/Unrated
Feature running time: 115/122 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Daniella Kertesz, Fana Mokoena, David Morse
Directed by: Marc Forster
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Written by: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof based on the novel by Max Brooks
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 17, 2013
Former United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is called upon to help stop the chaotic pandemic that has gripped populations around the world. Lane fights to keep his family safe, while searching for an answer to the outbreak before it destroys all of civilization.
Based on the novel by Max Brooks World War Z wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. The trailer that I had seen didn’t reveal much in terms of the storyline and in watching the film that sort of remained the case meaning that there really isn’t much depth to the plot or characters. When we think of “zombie” films in general that might not really be a problem per se but in this case I found that while it is formulaic in some respects it branches out beyond the parameters of typical genre entries that feature the undead feeding on the living.
There is no real setup save for very brief introductions of main character Gerry (Pitt) and his family (wife and two young daughters) before it quickly escalates into the violent fervor brought on by an unexplained pandemic where hordes of those once among the living have been bitten by and turned into mindless zombies that seem to have one purpose, make more zombies. Spreading at an unimaginable rate it quickly consumes the world’s large cities leaving governments in shambles and only small pockets that consist of safe zones and organized efforts to mitigate the infection. Gerry and his family leave in the Philadelphia area and after the outbreak there we learn that he was once a United Nations Investigator and through those channels is able to get his family to safety. Unfortunately that comes at a price as he forced to leave his family being pressed back into service to lead a small mission to South Korea in an attempt to discover the origin of the outbreak and possibly a cure. Easier said than done…
From that point onward the story stays with Gerry as he follows the “breadcrumbs” in search of the source of the infection. Along the way he has brushes with the growing zombie populace and encounters those who like him seek to understand what has happened while risking their lives in furtherance finding a cure. World War Z is more of a thriller than a “horror/zombie” movie in my opinion. While the plot remains pretty simple the film employs intelligently crafted suspense as a tool to keep its edge. There are supporting elements of action that coincide with the suspense to create a congruent ebb/flow that occasionally impart a feeling of unevenness but the interplay works nonetheless.
Character development is pretty thin but there is a host of smaller roles that capably support the narrative. Brad Pitt’s lead is rock solid and anchors the film while unpinned by the remaining cast which consists of an eclectic mix of familiar actors. Any shortcomings associated with the script are forgivable as I found World War Z to be an engaging film experience that took the genre in an offbeat and entertaining direction that elevates it just slightly above your typical popcorn flick.
Both the rated and unrated versions contain intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
3D Presentation: 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Depth (Onscreen):
- Dimension (Beyond the screen):
- Color reproduction:
World War Z 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount HE featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.8 Mbps.
This film wasn’t shot natively in 3D but was converted in post production. The film was largely shot against green screens and the reproduction of the digital effects and wide angle background elements translates positively here. Depth of field is appreciable as evidenced by separation of objects and/or people layered in the foreground/background which creates a visual sense of virtual space. High definition dimensionality and apparent resolution is rarely questionable in close ups and brightly lit exterior sequences but it varies some in limited lighting. Comparing white/black levels, color and skin tone reproduction to the 2D presentation I found them to be essentially identical. There is a noticeable lack of 3D effects that transcend the boundaries of the screen which makes for a somewhat less involving experience especially during the action based segments. I will say that I didn’t find that this detracted from my enjoyment of the overall presentation which like the 2D version looks solid on Blu-ray. I didn’t notice any distracting instances of crosstalk or other video related anomalies. The end result is a satisfying but unremarkable 3D video presentation.
Incorporating elements of horror and action a film like this relies heavily on its soundtrack to elicit the intended effect upon the audience and this 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix does just that. This is an active sound design with extended dynamic range that positively renders the bombastic elements in the recording. The action based sequences transform the listening area into a three dimensional sound field that generates involving surround activity that mates perfectly with the events unfolding onscreen. Low frequency effects produce deep resonating bass that rumbles with tactile authority and occasionally pressurizes the room. A great example of this can be found at the 1:05:31 mark during a firefight in Israel. There is a sweeping four of five second low frequency burst that reaches down deep and literally shook my room. It sounded so good I played it back three or four times. The track as a whole sounds quite excellent in this regard. Dialogue is reproduced with lucid expression and exacting clarity that produced just the slightest hint of sibilance in the upper registers. This is a wonderfully involving and gratifying audio presentation that features high level sonic detail, spot on directional correlation and stirring bass extension. My advice is to crank this one up, sit back and enjoy.
2D Video Quality:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
World War Z comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 Mbps.
This film has an intentionally dark and singular chromatic visual style that doesn’t lend itself to vibrant colors and vivid high gloss video quality. There are instances where brighter elements are utilized and the boldly applied contrast allows them to pop visually. Otherwise onscreen images predominantly lean toward darker color schemes, and grittier textures that provide the look that the filmmakers use to drive the story’s components. This is done to good effect. Shadow delineation is good overall and revealing of visible details within dark backgrounds and low lighting. Stable contrast and deep blacks allow scenes containing mixed content to appear gradationally satisfying with crisp whites and dynamic highlights. Resolution is discerning as images are characterized by intricate and definitively rendered detail that gives the video appreciable dimension and delineated texture. This is the case in all but a few instances where definition softens and doesn’t retain the same level of lucidity.
- World War Z 3D Blu-ray (Theatrical Cut)
- World War Z 2D Blu-ray – Unrated version (plus the following bonus features):
- (HD) Origins – 8 minute featurette
- (HD) Looking to science – 7 minute featurette
- (HD) World War Z: Production ( 4 segments totaling 34 minutes)
- The journey begins
- Behind the wall
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Based on the novel by Max Brooks World War Z is an entertaining genre bender that eschews a deep plot and well developed characters in favor of palpable suspense and involving action that made for a solid movie watching experience. It comes to Blu-ray Disc in both 3D Combo and 2D releases. I found the 3D version to be acceptable but lacking in the kind of dimensionality/effects that often compliment films like this. The 2D version offers excellent high definition video quality that appears to faithfully render the film’s stylized visuals. The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is an engaging one that sounds terrific and makes for a rewarding surround sound listening experience. The supplemental package is middle of the road providing a glimpse behind the scenes at the production. If you’re a genre fan this one is easy to recommend otherwise toss it in your rental queue and take it for a spin on Blu-ray.
Here is the trailer:
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Hi Ralph, great review as always....we must be watching these movies on the same screen....LOL as I pretty much always agree with your A/V BD reviews and this one is no exception. Audio was great, I too would score it at 92-95/100 but the video (2D) it think you a right on the money at at 90/100.
Great! Thanks for chiming in Paul..
Nice, looking forward to this and the movie.
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I have Oblivion checked out now. haven't watched it yet . ofc course Tom Cruise is in it movie so it can go either way
But Morgan Freeman is also in it so that part should be fine. Imdb ratings are decent @7.0 and 6.2/10 at Rotten Tomato
so it might be alright.
Saw this 2D at the theater (wasn't showing 3D when we went), and we found it to be a great thrill ride--I guess, as they say, "ignorance IS bliss," as I hadn't read the book or anything that would have me biased. I found it very amusing that there was even a girl in her late teens sitting next to us arms wrapped around her knees feet up on her seat scared s**tless! The movie's a LOT of fun IMO. I will add we went in with NO expectations of any kind other than Brad Pitt is a great actor; I bet that had a great deal to do with my sense of satisfaction--time and money well spent at the cinema for us!
I was really looking forward to a higher 3D rating as even post-conversions of late are top notch--wait till you experience Pac Rim 3D! Still, being a 3D-nut, and your always-reliable review scoring it at 80 ("good"), I'll be getting that combo to see for myself! 2D-lovers should not hesitate; I felt it VERY involving without the added dimension (it was a good size screen with above-decent sound--not the best of either, mind you ). I still think 3D can make it more enjoyable (in a scary way!).
My recommendation: do not compare it to other zombie/epidemic/apocalypse/what-not movies (or the novels they might be based on), and you just may find it refreshingly original. I liked it!
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Great review Ralph! Does the "Alternate Cut" on the 2D disc contain any of the alternate ending that was originally screened for test audiences? In that cut the last 1/3 of the movie takes place in a large battle in Russia, rather than the slower paced ending of the theatrical. I'm buying it regardless, but it would be great to release the alternate ending sequence!
Unfortunately it does not. Sorry....
I guess that means we can expect a Director's Ultimate Cut at some point. Thanks for the review.
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I will likely pick the movie up when it gets released.
I hear the Theatrical cut is the preferred Director's cut of the film and that the Unrated version just adds more blood and gore to take away the PG-13 rating...plus the Unrated version is only like 7 minutes longer
The version i saw in theatres was 2d since i read about the 3d conversion...no need to rush out and buy it (same day as gta v). How is the unrated version? Most unrated versions of movies are horrible compared to the ones you see in theatres. An exception is the previous riddick movie.
I watched both and would say that I liked them equally. The unrated extended cut added nothing intrinsic to the storyline. You should be fine with either...
Be sure to listen for the LFE at the time marker I mentioned in my review. Lots of fun...!
|World War Z Blu Ray 3d Blu Ray Dvd Digital Copy|