World War Z appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The Blu-ray appeared to replicate the source image nicely.
Sharpness remained solid. Only a smidgen of mild softness ever impacted on wide shots, as the majority of the movie demonstrated positive and definition. Jagged edges and shimmering failed to occur, and I witnessed no signs of edge enhancement. Print flaws weren’t a factor; the movie always remained clean and fresh.
Like most modern action movies, Z went with a stylized palette that favored orange and teal. Actually, we got reds, ambers and yellows in there, too, but the emphasis on less-than-natural hues remained. These could get annoying – I’m really sick of orange and teal - but they were reproduced well within stylistic confines. Blacks appeared deep and dark, while shadows displayed good clarity and smoothness. Overall, I liked this consistently positive presentation.
With its action orientation, the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Z also worked well. The movie boasted a wide and involving soundfield. This showed up during scenes both loud and quiet. During the former, music offered nice stereo presence, and various environmental elements displayed quality localization and involvement.
The bigger sequences added more pizzazz to the package. These used all the channels in a satisfying manner, as the action scenes created a lot of useful material. From start to finish, the mix used the speakers in a way that gave real life to the proceedings.
In addition, audio quality was strong. Music appeared vivid and full, with crisp highs and rich lows. Speech was concise and natural; no issues affected the lines. Effects appeared to be accurate and lively. Those elements lacked distortion and they boasted nice low-end during their louder moments. Overall, I felt pleased with the mix.
Despite the film’s high profile, we don’t find a ton of extras here. Probably the main attraction comes from the presence of the movie’s unrated version (2:03:03). The 1:55:53 theatrical cut appears only via the included DVD Copy.
When compared directly, I start to think the “Unrated Cut” should be retitled the “Version With Stuff Chopped Out to Get Us a ‘PG-13’”. Virtually no additional narrative material appears here, as all the added snippets show up during action sequences.
But we don’t get “R”-rated gore, either. The extra action tends to echo what we see in the theatrical cut; we simply get more of it. Granted, we do find a little added gore – like shots of a character who removes his own teeth, or images of blood spurting from an amputated arm – but I don’t think any of these elements on their own would escalate the rating above “PG-13”. If fans expect Romero-style graphic nastiness, they’ll not find it here.
Because the longer version does virtually nothing to alter the narrative, I don’t think it works better – or worse – than the theatrical cut. It might be a little more intense given the added action beats, but it doesn’t change things in a notable manner. Again, it’s not even significantly more graphic than the “PG-13”; it simply delivers more of the same style of material. It’s fun to see as an alternative, but it doesn’t change the film in a substantial way.
A few featurettes follow. Origins goes for eight minutes, 21 seconds and includes comments from producers Jeremy Kleiner and Dede Gardner, director Marc Forster, writer J. Michael Straczynski, and actors Mireille Enos. We learn about the source novel and its adaptation for the screen, how Forster came to the project, story/character areas, Brad Pitt’s involvement, and cast/performances. “Origins” lacks a lot of depth, but it throws out a decent set of notes.
Looking to Science lasts seven minutes, 28 seconds and offers material from Gardner, Kleiner, Straczynski, Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! book editor Otto Penzler, evolutionary biologist David Hughes, science writer Carl Zimmer and visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar. We get a quick history of zombies in popular culture as well as research and natural influences for the movie’s zombies. Like “Origins”, “Science” is too short, but it also gives us interesting information.
Under WWZ: Production, four featurettes fill a total of 36 minutes, 18 seconds. We find remarks from Zimmer, Forster, Gardner, Enos, Farrar, Kleiner, Hughes, location manager Michael Harm, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Simon Crane, VFX supervisor Matt Johnson, stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood, military advisor Freddie Joe Farnsworth, weapons master Simon Atherton, military location advisor Andy Buckley, costume designer Mayes C. Rubeo, and actors Fana Mokoena, David Andrews, James Badge Dale, David Morse, Ludi Boeken, Daniella Kertesz, Peter Capaldi and Ruth Negga. The programs cover sets and locations, stunts and various effects, story/character areas, cast and performances, and some scientific connections.
Too much of “Production” just regurgitates the film’s narrative, but we find a reasonable number of useful elements along the way. Though this doesn’t become a great examination of the film, it works fairly well much of the time.
As mentioned earlier, the package also includes a DVD Copy of Z. This presents the movie’s theatrical cut and lacks any extras other than some previews.
While I think World War Z sputters at times, it usually provides good action and excitement. The flick offers a fun twist on the zombie genre and keeps us entertained. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture and audio but lacks a strong roster of bonus features. I’d like a bigger package of supplements, but the Blu-ray brings home the movie itself in a satisfying manner.