Starring Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbaek
Directed by Julius Avery
Sometimes there’s not a a whole lot to get behind plot-wise when it comes to cranking out a war-flick: two fighting nations, a plethora of armament waiting to turn bodies and structures into fragments, and a general sense of historical ramifications. Not to say that I don’t absolutely love war films, which I do, but I’ll admit that there have been some stinkers over the years which will remain nameless to protect the innocent (or cash-grabbers). When I first saw the first previews for Julius Avery’s horror/war mash up, Overlord I’ll admit a hint of trepidation – would this be another run of the mill parlor trick with smoke and mirrors, or would we have something substantial here? My answer? Read on, ya diseased lab-experiments, as this one’s been recently unleashed on the home theater masses.
I’ll try not to bore all of you (like I normally do) with my endless plot-rambling with the movie, because if you’re one of the throngs that went to eyeball this one at the theaters in a mildly successful run (the reaction looked better than the end-numbers, trust me), then you already know the details. Set against the backdrop of the D-Day allied invasion in 1944, the film locks its sights on a wet-behind-the-ears squadron that’s set to parachute into enemy territory, led by the gruff Sgt. Rensin ( Bokeem Woodbine). After a fire on the plane the soldiers are forced into making an unscheduled jump into land that’s a bit more hostile than they could have imagined, and they’re faced with the prospect of battling a foe that’s more powerful than a Sherman Tank on steroids. Seems to be that the Nazis have been experimenting behind closed doors, creating a band of super-soldiers that simply exhibit the kind of behavior and tactics that would make a stark-raving lunatic beam with pride.
So, the movie basically goes into the whole “good guys vs. bad guys” territory, and that’s not a bad thing by any stretch – with balls-to-the-wall action and plenty of gore to make horror fans happy, Overlord in my useless opinion is an absolute gem that’ll sit proudly in my collection for quite a while. I’ve read countless articles about the film and one thing remains constant, if you’ve always hankered for that “Wolfenstein” tribute, look no further – however, let’s slice into the technical specs of this beauty and see what spills out. Visually, the movie looks beautiful, and with an overabundance of night shots the use of darkness enhances the colors that splash across the screen once there’s a little light shone upon the situation. I would have loved to have seen a little grain incorporated into this WWII-based production, but I’m in no condition to complain as the overall look of the film is top-notch, especially on Blu-ray (and let’s not even mention the 4K version – WHOA). Audio-wise, I kept having to adjust my sound bar as some of the dialogue was coming off a bit muffled, then when something blew up I had to keep checking the back wall of my living room to see if it was still there – surely a problem on my end, but for audiophiles, this one’s a keeper!
As far as special features are concerned, some might be disappointed to see only one addition to the Blu/DVD combo pack, called “The Horrors Of War”. but it’s nicely cut into a six-pack of featurettes that include the following:
– Creation: A delve into all of the inner-workings of the production, including the training that the cast had to go through, and spotlights on Julius Avery’s direction and the stellar production value brought to the table by the one and only, J.J. Abrams.
– Death Above: A look at the film’s opening sequence.
– Death On The Ground: A 9 minute gaze into the importance of the movie’s opening act, the Wafner character and how some of the prosthetics brought the dead to life.
– Death Below: Focusing on the collision of war and horror, this 6 minute quickie takes you behind the enemy lines to investigate the sets and various shooting locations.
– Death No More: Creature and practical effects have the spotlight here, along with weapon maintenance and the cohesion between sets.
– Brothers In Arms: This 5 minute focus shines the accolades upon both Avery and Abrams’ contributions to the production.
At the end of this great conflict, I can offer up only this: Overlord is a fantastic addition to not only the war-aficionado’s home-viewing collection, but any horror fan looking to spend some time deep in the battle-zone in zombified air – it’s available now, so what are you waiting for? Get your rotting mitts on this one ASAP!
- The Horrors of War Featurettes
– Death Above
– Death on the Ground
– Death Below
– Death No More
– Brothers in Arms