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And "Overlord" nearly perfect in assembling those pieces of a Nazi zombie horror movies into one single story. The plot is simple, action-packed and has it all: lots of fighting, shootings, machine guns and flamethrowers. The characters are schematic, almost one-dimensional, because it's not WWII drama, and that's enough. The SFX are great, there's a lot of blood and guts here, exactly what one can expect from a film which involves Nazis, experiments with (un)dead, and covert military operation.
However, there's some minor but annoying mistakes in presentation of some important plot elements, which hard to left unnoticed. Perhaps the most striking example of such retroactive anti-militaristic message is when Cpl. Ford decides to stop Nazis once and for all near the end of the film: his attitude looks a bit anachronistic in 1940s and such views for an U.S. soldier were much more credible rather after Vietnam War than during the WWII. There's also a very implausible fight between two main characters before the final onslaught, which looks ridiculous within the context of the upcoming Overlord operation.
But it all can easily be put aside, because "Overlord" is the Nazispoltation at its best: dark, bloody, action-driven horror about zombie soldiers trying to take over the world. Take it for what it is, and have fun.
From what i just watched, its not the "fun, original, scary, gory, inventive thrill-ride, maximum shock value, insane" film its been reviewed to be. Definitely NOT scary or gore filled, and with the $38 million budget you'd have expected A LOT more!
The opening 5-10 minutes the reviews have been raving about was ok, its not an opening that would warrant a cinema visit, it ain't no Saving Private Ryan, Edge Of Tomorrow, etc battle scene, as it's over in a flash, roughly 1 or 2 minutes of action, pretty much whats in the trailer and the rest is characters chatting! Then it quickly slows to its meandering pace, with been-there-done-that scenes with added cheese and cliche characters, which start to wear your hopes for a fun big budget B-movie way he f down. I just became bored and just hoped for an outstanding action filled and creative finale to win me over. But NO, the ending is just standard gun play, explosions and one fight that's over way too soon and that's your lot! I would have been satisfied if it had maybe matched an exciting Expendable's type finaly as it was a similar premise.
It's a film that never takes its idea's far enough, never too crazy or too gory but just a very controlled and safe 18 certificate B-movie. And it's a movie that mostly relies on the stupidity/naivety of its lead character to make the plot move forward. If you're after a subtle b-movie then this may be for you
I was really looking forward to this because i'd read really good things, and i missed Slaughterhouse Rulez cus of this.
An episode of the Walking Dead is more exciting, gripping, tense and fun.
Check it out and make up your own mind up but i've given you a heads up. I didn't expect the grindhouse style of Planet Terror with Overlord but Planet Terror was a great fun big budget B-movie!!
So once the horror part of the movie began I noticed it was again ripped off, this time from "Return To Castle Wolfenstein". Very little of it was even slightly surprising, since I played the game all the way through 15 yrs ago.
I found it to be unoriginal, unrealistic and predictable. I guess it's just me. 2 stars at best.
Overlord is exactly the kind of film you'd expect to see in the early 80's in the naughtier section of the video store. A WWII-set, Science-Fiction blood binge made for midnight viewings... or at least, that was the intention. Overlord, the actual film, has trouble expressing itself in this way. At times it takes itself too seriously. Other times, it goes for the gross out moment, but never takes it far enough. Overlord seems to be afraid of it's own shadow. It should've been more outrageous, more shameless and more hard-R that it is here. A worth while effort, and far from a cheap cinematic affair, but not satisfying.
I make that opening claim because if you hadn't seen the trailer, you wouldn't know of the dual-genre nature of Overlord. The genre shift to full-blown 'zombies-but-not-quite' action comes after 75 minutes of truly brilliant wartime drama with some moderate scares. The opening scenes of the paratroopers entrance to the war-torn French countryside is a particular highlight for its chaotic, intense and disorientating depiction of what it must've been like for those who did the deed for real in WW2.
The horror element begins to build early on but is never an indication of the upcoming genre shift (if you've not seen the trailer, at least) until the point (From Dusk to Dawn style) where it's made clear that we're not in Kansas anymore. The only bummer I can think of is the film falls into the trap of a predictable final 30 minutes. With all the enjoyment had before then, it's so disappointing to feel let down at the last hurdle.
The soundtrack is immense, the cinematography is brooding without being dark (a style which works for both of the film's genres), and the CGI special effects are affectingly convincing. Don't expect great things from the script (which includes several awful one-liner comebacks), but I think this film will go down as one of the great zombie films of recent years, and may even be noted for its even better turn as a war film.
Best quote: "What is this?!" - "Our greatest achievement. With it, we create super-Nazis; a thousand year army and it's thousand year soldiers."
The story is not great either with no likable characters no real plot just a lot of disjointed scenes thrown together. Makes you feel like they didn't quite know how to finish their war movie so just threw in a few "zombies" at the end. These days it seems the trailers are better than the actual movies themselves.
We have a small group of survived "101" US Paras during the night before "D-Day" (June 6 1944), which they trying to take out (destroy) a "building" (no further details from the movie!!!) that is important for the air-bombing success! (If you understood something, let me know! "An important building against the allies' air-strike"... Totally childish. Not even a special weapon's artillery battery, that would make A PERFECT SENSE to the plot). So, after the plain crash, a small group of survivors trying to continue the mission, while a battalion of Nazis is all around the area, but the survivors don't have problem to... argue in the middle of the silent woods (and no Nazi running towards that noise), stepping on land mine (and no Nazi running to see why a mine explode, while enemy planes with paras are flying over their heads!), etc. The American troops arrived to a French village FULL OF GERMAN PATROLS (I counted over 20-30 troops patrolling the village streets), but the brave Americans made it to find refuge into a French house... the Nazis didn't arrested them... but THEY DID ARRESTED the French house's owner (a French girl)!!!!!! The Germans SPOTTED the ...girl, but not the 5-6 full-armed (and NOISY) American Paratroopers! Then, after a while (and when Nazis let free the girl), a German SS Major arrives to the girl's house, obviously for sexual reasons (wanted to rape her). The Americans ATTACKED HIM... was a FIGHT between them... EVEN SHOTS (!!!)... but no German arrived to the house they left their commander!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
...After a while and when the US Corporal send a trooper for... scouting (in the full of Nazis village's streets!!!!), the trooper ENTERED into a German truck and he... entered that way into the SUPER-DUPER ULTRA GUARDED facility (that wanted to destroy), he managed to go to the DEEPEST LEVEL of the facility and saw all what were happening there... and he DID IT OUT, ESCAPED, to give report back!!!!!!!!!!
...Okay, I give up. Like I wrote... not even a 5 years old wouldn't write a SO RIDICULOUS script! Except the uniforms, the landscape, the screens - that looks SO PERFECTLY like France of 1944... everything else of this movie is horrible!
First things first: don't you dare miss this one! I never expected to be as entertained and constantly at edge as I felt throughout this film. J.J. Abrams has a tremendous production capability, and Overlord proves it. It incorporates every genre that you can remember of in an almost seamlessly process. I guess I'll start with the beginning since the first 20-30 minutes provide one of the best opening sequences of the last few years.
Overlord is definitely a war movie, and its foundations are actually based on true stories from WWII. Obviously, being J.J. Abrams a sci-fi master, he stretches those stories a bit so we can have a brilliant rollercoaster of genres. Mystery, thriller, horror, sci-fi, drama, comedy, war, action, ... I mean, every genre that you can think of (well, I guess musical can be excluded) is present in this film, some more than others.
Usually, that is not a good sign because it's extremely hard to balance two/three tones or genres, let alone a whole bunch of them. That said, Julius Avery is one hell of a director! He and his writers were able to mix everything up and still make a cohesive and even claustrophobic movie since it's pretty much one-location after that opening act. Let's go genre by genre ...
War: the best depiction of what a war looks and SOUNDS like since Dunkirk. I watched this on IMAX, and the sound design is unbelievable. I could feel every bullet flying through, and the CGI is eyegasmic. That opening scene with the military flying over the "battlefield" is visually jaw-dropping, and the score elevates the tension by being extremely powerful. Chills all over my body.
Sci-fi/Mystery/Thriller: even though the premise pretty much explains what the Nazis are doing in their medical experiments, the way that Mark L. Smith and Billy Ray structure the film's narrative and write the dialogues is remarkable. Every exposition scene feels natural and rich from a storytelling perspective. It doesn't improve the mystery itself, but it sure helps the audience to navigate through the story.
Horror: it relies on predictable yet effective jump scares, but the "monsters" are very well "designed." With a mix of CGI and makeup, every single scene involving these human experiments is nail-biting great. Whether that's a chasing or fight sequence, or merely a suspense moment where we can't really see the entire human body, the horror vibe is excellently implemented.
Comedy: such a heavy and bloody R-rated flick, needs some sort of relief. Comedy isn't precisely a predominant genre, but John Magaro's character carries an important role. You might be thinking "bah, he is just a bland comic relief character with no decent development," but you're wrong. Tibbet is extremely well-developed! He simply has a funny personality, and he does banter a lot, but throughout the movie, he keeps evolving as a character and ultimately surprises us in the third act. I also love Iain De Caestecker (Chase), and I congratulate him on finally getting a role in a big film!
Drama: Jovan Adepo (Boyce), Wyatt Russell (Ford) and Mathilde Ollivier (Chloe) are what I would call the movie's protagonists. They are the ones that carry most of the story. Adepo is the lead, and he is fantastic, as well as his two counterparts. However, it's due to the amazing characters' scripts that they are able to shine. Every single character in the film (well, except the Nazis, obviously) has a script meant for the audience to care about them.
Every death has an impact, either on the audience or the other characters. There's a ton of ethical dilemmas throughout their mission, and these three are always arguing with each other since everyone thinks differently. Their dialogues are very captivating, and they undoubtedly improve the screenplay. I rarely blinked due to the high level of entertainment and excitement. Story and character-wise, this is one of 2018's best. Pure entertainment AND well-written characters? Count me in!
However, it doesn't end up here. Technically, this movie is impressive and magnificent. I genuinely had my heart pumping hard after that opening sequence (am I repeating myself too much?). The score is intensely sumptuous, the cinematography is impeccable, and the visual effects are out of this world. The action stunts (chases and fights) are so realistic that you can feel every punch, kick, bullet and explosion like you were there.
Julius Avery works the camera in such a mind-blowing way. Even though some scenes require massive CGI, he still produces some one-take wonders. From Boyce jumping from the plane to him running away from explosions going off closer and closer, Avery sure knows his craft of filmmaking. I wanted to give this film an A+ so much, but I can't. I have one and one only minor issue that I can't just ignore.
I wrote above that it mixes each genre ALMOST perfectly ... Midway through the second act, I noticed that this movie wasn't going to escape the fact that it tries to tackle too many genres and tonally, it lacks a bit of balance. Going from such an intense opening act to a more slow-paced and dramatic story is a big downstep entertainment-wise. Even when the action returns, it's a totally different type of war action. Throughout the film, I felt like wanting a bit of "that" when there was too much of "this" and a bit of "this" when there was too much of "that."
Nevertheless, Overlord is one of my favorite movies of 2018, and it's going to make my life hard at the end of the year, organizing my Top10. It's a brilliantly structured story filled with remarkably well-developed characters and a phenomenal cast, led by Jovan Adepo. Julius Avery provides a captivating and intense rollercoaster of genres and tones, delivering a film with very different levels of entertainment due to the many styles present. His filmmaking craft is mind-blowing, and J.J. Abrams' production is visually stunning, at least. Watch it on IMAX so you can feel how powerful and intense the sound design is. You'll be captivated from the first to the last second. Enjoy it!