Anniversary Week: My Fave Five: Year 1 Reviews

This is it, happy anniversary Drew’s Reviews!  That’s right, one year ago today I started this blog, posting reviews for several summer blockbusters (two of which are on this list).  Now over 70 reviews later, I have come a long way in my writing and have noticed much improvement.  So for my first Fave Five list, I decided to focus on the reviews I have written over the last year that have marked an accomplishment in my writing or has left an impact on it.  I hope to start doing “My Fave Five” features semi-frequently.  Put simply, it is a list of my five favorite movies on a particular topic.  With that out of the way, let’s get started.

Man of Steel movie poster5) Man of Steel

I’m not exactly sure why I like my Man of Steel review so much.  It has just stuck with me.  This was one of my original six reviews I had written to kick off this blog.  As I stated at the beginning of the review, I am not a huge fan of Superman.  Maybe that is why it has become one of my favorite reviews, because despite my dislike for the character, I was still able to keep an open mind about the movie and stay objective.  I was able to prove to myself I can review a movie on its merits rather than my feelings about the character.  Up until recently, Man of Steel was the longest review I had written, so that was another reason why it stuck with me so strongly

4) I, FrankensteinI, Frankenstein movie poster

I, Frankenstein is the only lightning review on this list.  Just a heads up, it’s not a very good movie, but that’s beside the point.  I like this review because I believe I was able to completely portray my feelings towards the movie in under 200 words.  Sometimes when I am writing a lightning review, I feel there is more I could add, but not enough to really make it a full review.  But for this review, I didn’t have that feeling and thought everything I had to say was present.

How to Train Your Dragon movie poster3) How to Train Your Dragon

Oh, man, How to Train Your Dragon.  Such a great movie.  If you have not seen it yet, go out and do so immediately.  But the fact that this is such a great movie is not why it’s on this list (since that’s not what this list is about).  I’ve included it because this was the first movie I reviewed on a recommendation and was very satisfied with the way the review turned out.  Needless to say, my friend who recommended it to me was satisfied with it, too.  There were also a few stylistic things I did differently which I felt improved the readability of the review.

2) World War ZWorld War Z movie poster

World War Z was another one of my original six reviews (I should really come up with a cool and catchy name for those).   I had no idea what this movie was about, other than zombies and that it was adapted from a book series, when I went to go see it in theaters.  Normally I stay pretty up to date with films that are coming out, but I had zero information.  Like Man of Steel, this is another of my reviews that has stuck with me because I demonstrated to myself that I was able to write reviews no matter the circumstances.  In this case, going into a movie cold turkey without any clue about it and still churning out a pretty solid review.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie poster1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier

When I was thinking about which movies to include on this Fave Five list, I knew without a doubt my review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier would be number one.  I found this was one of the easiest reviews for me to write.  Everything I wanted to say just came to me in a way I can’t describe.  After this, that became a more common occurrence and I felt I crossed a threshold in my writing.  Not only that, I found myself having better content in my reviews, in particular reviews of new releases.  To me, there can be no other review at the top of this list besides Captain America: The Winter Soldier.


Today has been all about favorites.  I reviewed my favorite Star Wars movie, Return of the Jedi, and now I examined my favorite reviews of Drew’s Reviews’ year one.  Tomorrow the Star Wars reviews enter into the prequel trilogy and later there will be a special review (two reviews in one day? Whaa?).  It’s been a great year and I look forward to what the next one brings!

World War Z Review

The third film I posted as a new blogger was World War Z.  All I knew about this film going into the theater was that the “Z” pretty much stood for “Zombie” and it was based off a book.  I didn’t read the book(s) so I can’t comment on the film as an adaptation but I’ve heard that it varies a lot from its source material.  Anyway, for not knowing much about the film, I enjoyed it, so I guess that worked in my favor. Have a read for yourself.


World War Z movie posterSynopsis
When a disease turning the infected into zombies erupts across the world, Geoffrey Lane (Brad Pitt) is forced to travel the world looking for a cure in ensure his family is protected from the outbreak.

Review
I walked into the theater not knowing exactly what to expect from World War Z… except for zombies.  Lots and lots of zombies. But sometimes, that is the best way to approach a movie because what I got was a very entertaining movie that kept me on the edge of my seat.

World War Z throws you right into the action right away. There was no build up, no background to what might of happened, it just hits the ground running. This is great because the viewer in immediately pulled in and engrossed in the film, but it did have a side effect, however. Because the action started within the first ten or fifteen minutes, the non-action part proceeding the opening sequence was much longer, and duller, than other action breaks throughout the movie.

The action sequences were pretty intense and fairly diverse. There was one action scene that happened in an apartment stairwell without any light, except from the light from a flare, that was pretty jarring. I understand it was done that way for the atmosphere, but it was still pretty annoying that I couldn’t see anything. Having the camera move around is (usually) alright, but adding the darkness made it a real pain to follow what was happening. Other than that, the camera did a fair job of framing the action and allowing everything to be seen.

These zombies were of the fast and aggressive variety. I know some people who are zombie purists and like their zombies moving slow, but being fast really added a lot to the film. When the zombies are slow, it seems like the characters lose their common sense, leading to some dumb mistake that gets them eaten/killed/turned by the zombies. The sheer amount of zombies often seen in movies, regardless of their speed, is overwhelming enough, but when they can be on top of you in the blink of an eye, they become much more terrifying and dangerous. This danger was felt all through the film, even during the quieter moments.

My favorite part about World War Z was the atmosphere and tension it was able to create. I lost count of how many times I noticed myself tensing up and had to relax. The atmosphere was very much like the video game Dead Space, where you know something is going to jump out, but you’re not sure of when or where. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my brother jump several times. This particular breed of zombie is attracted to sound and so when the characters were trying to sneak around, I was holding my breath. So even if it wasn’t an action sequence, the film was constantly keeping me on the edge of my seat and never really became dull.

Not everything was so tense. There was comedic relief laced throughout the movie. And the comedy didn’t feel forced, but organic, as comedy should feel.

I was initially expecting a different ending that what was given. It reminded me of another zombie movie ending that I won’t name to not give it away. Once the film reached its climax, but before I saw the very last scene, I felt like it should have ended a bit differently. However, after I thought about how I would have preferred it to end and think about how they could have done it within the context of the film, the ending makes the most sense for this movie.

The tension in World War Z made this movie for me. With no wait before starting the action, basically being thrown into the zombie outbreak almost immediately, great action scenes, as well as quiet scenes that were just as exciting, I was perpetually on the edge of my seat.

Rating
4/5

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Marc Forster – Director
Mathew Michael Carnahan – Screenplay / Screen Story
Drew Goddard – Screenplay
Damon Lindelof – Screenplay
J. Michael Straczynski – Screen Story
Marco Beltrami – Composer

Brad Pitt – Gerry Lane
Mireille Enos – Karin Lane
Daniella Kertesz – Segen
James Badge Dale – Captain Speke
Ludi Boeken – Jurgen Warmbrunn
Fana Mokoena – Thierry Umutoni
Elyes Gabel – Andrew Fassbach
Sterling Jerins – Constance Lane
Abigail Hargrove – Rachel Lane
Fabrizio Zacharee Guido – Tomas
Michael Huisman – Ellis