Opposite Ends of the World

It wouldn’t be Summer without at least one movie about the end of days, would it?  Well this Summer there are two movies out that were released relatively close to one another that have to deal with the apocalypse.  Two movies that while dealing with the end of the world, couldn’t be further opposite from one another.  “World War Z” and “This Is The End.”

Since “This Is The End” was released first, lets review that shall we.  The film takes place during the rapture.  When the good go to heaven, the bad die and go to hell, and some stay behind until they face their sins.  The film is set in Los Angeles and stars Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and a slew of other stars playing the only type of characters they only know how to play or play all the time: themselves.  I love the idea already.  I don’t understand how this wasn’t done a million times before by other people, but regardless they made it work.

Anyway, the end of days comes and these A list actors are trapped in James Franco’s home with limited food, beverages and supplies to help them survive.  They bicker, they fight, they starve, and have some horrible apocalypse type things happen to them.  It’s as simple as that.  Do they survive?  Do their friendships remain intact?  You’ll have to see to find out.

Overall, it’s a funny movie.  The idea of any actor’s playing themselves in a situation like this is immediately going to get my attention.  Rogen and Co. haven’t been my favorite tribe of actors since they overstayed their welcome around 2009 with turds like “Observe and Report” and “Funny People ,” but this film was kind of a redemption piece for them.  Well, for now at least.

The one thing I wish I could have seen more of was more insults amongst the cast about projects they’ve done whether good or bad.  Sure Jonah Hill acts like he’s a smug asshole since his Oscar nod, but I wanted more of that.  There’s a brief scene when some stuff comes up, but that’s it.  These guys have done some good and some bad movies, and I don’t know if it’s because of the studios or not that prevented this, but I wanted to see more insults about some of their bodies of work.  Otherwise, it’s a very funny movie I recommend seeing.

Overall Score: 9 out of 10

“World War Z” on the other hand is an apocalypse story that has little to no humor whatsoever.  It’s dark, sometimes a little frightening, and very action packed.  The film stars Brad Pitt as a former NATO agent who is suddenly called back into action after the zombie apocalypse occurs.  The infection began somewhere overseas, which is most of the film’s story of trying to find the point of origin, and has now ravaged most of the United States.

The story takes place in several countries around the world (hence the title) to places like Korea, Israel, and The United Kingdom.  In addition to finding the point of origin, Pitt’s character Gerry must keep his family protected and use what knowledge he can about the disease in order to find a cure.  Along the way, there are many sequences involving plane and helicopter crashes, thousands of rabid zombies clawing atop one another or running in the streets, and several tense moments of people being cornered by the flesh eating creatures.

Like “This Is The End,” “World War Z” is very entertaining.  It’s got a lot of elements of a summer blockbuster like suspense, action sequences and a mega star, but it doesn’t feel like CG garbage that sometimes these movies turn out to be.  I heard some controversy about the film before seeing it, how 40 minutes had to be cut and re-shot months before it’s release, but it honestly helps more than it hinders.  From what I understood of the original ending, it was just way over the top that could have killed the film’s momentum and enjoyment.

What’s also good is that the movie being rated PG-13, it isn’t too scary that an average 9 or 10 year old wouldn’t be afraid of it.  It has more appeal to a younger audience that I would have probably enjoyed seeing if this came out when I was a kid.  It’s an alternative to things like “The Walking Dead” which is something that if I was a parent, I wouldn’t let my kid watch if they were around the age I just mentioned.  Overall, it’s not the best movie of the summer, but it’s a fun ride.

Overall score: 8 out of 10

So this summer has had two movies where the apocalypse has been done right in different ways.  Hopefully other summer end of the world movies like “Pacific Rim” and “The World’s End” can have similar success.  We’ll have to see in the coming weeks, won’t we?