At The Movies-World War Z

The movie gives us what we want

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Whew, the most expensive zombie flick of all time turns out to be a good one. Our teen reviewer several years ago said of “Shaun of the Dead” — “It isn’t a good zombie movie; it is a good movie with zombies in it.”

I could echo that statement about “World War Z,” except to say that it is a good action flick set in the onset of the zombie apocalypse.

The zombies are fast zombies, which makes them infinitely more dangerous than the traditional shufflers. Brad Pitt is a heroic U.N. secret operative. Who knew that the U.N. had secret agents?

Some of the early scenes, which involve close up encounters with loads of zombies, have the same manic feel of terrifying chaos as such recent films as “Taken.” The action is very quick and frightening. Director Mark Forster (“Quantum of Solace,” 2008) showed excellent pacing. It isn’t easy to scare people who have seen hundreds of movies. I was on the edge of my seat through the action sequences.

Any film, in my mind, has to have characters that we care about. Otherwise, we just watch the zombies munch on humans and say things like “Woah, that was gross.”

“World War Z” has Brad Pitt, perhaps the most bankable movie star in the world today. Pitt is spot on as the retired agent recalled to duty by the zombie outbreak. He is a daddy with little daughters who does his level best to save them, and the world, from catastrophe. Pitt is the film.

The other actors are little known, even if competent. American/French actress Mireille Enos (best known for TV roles in “The Killing” and “Big Love”) is not a household name. She is perfect as Pitt’s wife who we see only occasionally. She stays behind as her husband travels the world in search of hope.

Fans were on tenterhooks waiting for the film’s opening. The movie had a troubled production with a total rewrite and re-film of the last 40 minutes or so. This caused the budget to explode to $200 million (some estimates go much higher.) But all was well in the end.

This Brad Pitt action/horror vehicle delivers what we want from the film. The movie adheres to the novel of the same name by Max Brooks primarily in vision rather than detail. It does not expand the accepted cannon of zombies. They do not for instance, talk, show signs of intelligence or fall in love as has happened in other zombie flicks. They just want to devour folks.

“World War Z” scored an impressive $112 million worldwide while opening in the No. 2 slot. The three and a half saw blade action/ horror film is rated a mild PG-13. There are no gross-out shots of people eating, no naked people and no bad words. It is fast-paced, fun and ends with as much hope as can be expected a few months into the zombie apocalypse.

Man of Steel

Effects, action were main focus

Katie Schouten

Teen reviewer

“It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!”

The most well-known superhero makes a new entrance 75 years from its original creation. Only this time, the movie title contains no trace of the word Superman. But does that present anonymity? Of course not. I’ve seen more T-shirts, capes and even razor commercials preceding the release of “Man of Steel” than any other movie. But how does that compare at the box office? Surprisingly “Man of Steel” was farther down the list than I would have expected, placing at No. 18.

“Man of Steel” follows the basic Superman plotline story: Krypton is about to be destroyed so Jor-El sends his son to Earth, where he is found by a couple in Kansas who raise him, naming him Clark Kent. However, we find Clark Kent, not as a reporter for the Daily Planet, but as a laborer in various climates and situations. Also differing from the 1978 version of “Superman” is the villain — this time it’s General Zod rather than Lex Luthor. But this is a difference only from that particular movie; as Zod is in both comics and other Superman movies.

The movie brings in an excellent choice of actors. Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Michael Shannon as General Zod and Henry Cavill as Superman himself. I felt like they all portrayed their characters well, bringing out individual personalities in the limited screen time that they were allowed.

The special effects and action were the main focus of the movie. The movie was action packed, from the destruction of Krypton to Superman’s face-off with General Zod. In fact, there was almost too much action. There was never a dull moment. At times it became a little bit much.

Don’t misinterpret what I am saying: I love a good action flick. But, it can get a bit old when the characters don’t even have time to stand up again before being attacked for another 10 minutes. It’s not gory violence; it’s just hit after hit after hit. I did like the special effects however. Lots of space craft and Superman flying around.

“Man of Steel” was advertised as the blockbuster of the summer. I think it is definitely worth going to go see, especially if you are a fan of superheros.

I did enjoy it. It won’t be my favorite superhero movie, but I am definitely interested in seeing it again.

A whole new Superman

Anthony Tantimonaco

Teen reviewer

From director Zack Snyder, the man behind “300” and “Watchmen,” brings us the whole new, incomparable “Man of Steel.”

“Man of Steel” follows the story of a young itinerant worker who is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race.

“Man of Steel” is a lot like every other film Zack Snyder has directed — a lot of action and tons of CGI. In fact, during most of the fight scenes, Superman’s cape was CGI.

Unlike “300,” the “Man of Steel” is not so over packed on the action. It reminded me a lot of the 2011 “Green Lantern” movie, some action scenes here and there, a story build up and then one epic fight scene at the end. The only difference between these two (besides the heroes) is that “Man of Steel” is much more interesting.

Fans of the original “Superman” may wonder how this remake will compare to the original. I would normally tell you that it’s better or worse, but in truth it is impossible to compare one to the other. “Man of Steel” introduces a whole new Superman, different costume, different backstory, different weaknesses — the list goes on.

If you have seen the trailer you might be thinking to yourself, wait that guy’s not Lex Luthor, well that’s because he’s not. Zack Snyder decides to go in the same direction as “Green Lantern” and “Batman Begins,” by using an enemy besides the hero’s arch nemesis.

Instead Snyder brings in the powerful General Zod for what leads to an epic battle that will wow everyone in the audience.

The cast for this movie could not have been picked more perfectly. Amy Adams plays the hardworking, headstrong, pain in the editor’s neck Lois Lane, and let me tell you she is the best by far. Michael Shannon portrays General Zod in a better way than Terence Stamp in “Superman II.” His facial expressions, the body language, his voice, all help the audience see how powerful and haunted General Zod is.

Now Russell Crowe was born to play the role of Jor-El (Superman’s father). It is by far some of his best acting.

When it comes to Henry Cavill, who plays Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman, all I know for sure is that he portrays Superman better than Brandon Routh in “Superman Returns.”

The visual and special effects in this movie are just spectacular; the action scenes are especially outstanding. In the original Superman films, most fight scenes looked strange or awkward. “Man of Steel” uses CGI in the best way, and the result is some of the best, real looking fights and flying since “The Avengers” final fight scene in 2012.

Would I call “Man of Steel” the No. 1 movie in the world, no, but currently it is the No. 1 movie out in theatres.

This movie is a must see for all fans of the DC Universe, heck even fans of Marvel would like this movie. The last thing is that if you are expecting a dark or darker movie than “The Dark Knight” trilogy, then you would be wrong. “Man of Steel” is a whole different hero, and a much different storyline.

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