Year Released: 2019
Distributor: Critics Company
Running Time: 10 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: 13+
Related Films/Series: N/A
For Fans Of: Chase, The Terminator, Ghost in the Shell, The Matrix, Firefly, Total Recall, Logan
-Z: The Beginning is streaming on YouTube.
-Special thanks to Ben Richardson for introducing me to these filmmakers.
-Z: The Beginning is the longest film that The Critics have created at the time of this review.
-Much like their other films, Z: The Beginning was made with smartphones.
-Z: The Beginning is the most viewed film from the Critics as it surpassed the 6-digit threshold in views on YouTube.
We meet again, Critics! I reviewed Chase recently and I even saw their microfilm projects on YouTube. One other video I saw was a teaser for future projects and they had professional cameras in that one on display and used to film parts of that video package. The sci-fi bent of The Critics continues as they have released their most popular and longest film ever.
Also, I’m aware that this film has a similar name to something Amazon Studios made with Catherine Zeta-Jones, but I swear it’s a completely different film. I feel obligated to do this especially after my Hop review. Now without further ado…
Z: The Beginning deals with a dystopian Nigeria. in the year 2020, war and chaos breaks out in the Giant of Africa. Explosions occur and cities are laid to waste in this disaster. Fast forward twenty-seven years, and there’s a cyborg who wakes up in this post-apocalyptic environment. He has no memory, but he is known as Project Z. He finds out that he’s wanted by a secret organization who send their hired hands to take him out. Z finds a friend who’s willing to help him out, but he gets caught up in this conspiracy.
This sci-fi short certainly ups the production over here. The CGI was better integrated and the post-apocalyptic backgrounds meshed surprisingly well even though I knew it used green screens. I seriously wondered how they pulled it all off without a budget, and I applaud them for it. Much like Chase, the fight scenes were well-done even if it didn’t involve superpowers as much as that particular film. The music incorporates some cinematic fare, but also a bunch of hip-hop which actually worked. The plot was easy to follow while still containing an air of mystery going on. I really wanted to know what was going to happen or who all the key players were in this particular conspiracy in the plot.
Z: The Beginning does suffer from different aspects. For starters, the ending was set up to be sequel bait. The Critics LOVE their cliffhangers from what I’ve seen in their filmography and it does leave it wide open (I seriously hope for a sequel or expanded film). Much like Chase, I thought the acting was pretty stiff. I wished the actors would emote much more than just the fight scenes. Besides the Z character, I don’t know the names of the other characters which made it confusing to me as to who is whom and what they do with their allegiances. Despite the plot being easy to follow, it certainly is derivative of so many sci-fi movies and series, let’s be honest. I wouldn’t call it a rip-off, but more originality wouldn’t hurt for the setting and storytelling.
This short film The Critics released is another feather in their caps. Z: The Beginning was a fun watch from beginning to end. There are thrilling fight scenes and the production looks so much better than most student films and even indie films I’ve seen made by adults. I do wish they would improve on the acting and originality with the plot. If The Critics are capable of making something like this with smartphones, then I can’t wait to see what they can accomplish with actual cameras and improved editing software.
Adjustable Rating System:
Add 1 point if you like sci-fi or action movies.
Subtract 1-3 points if you want something with better acting.
-Creative videography and effects
-Good action scenes
-The plot is easy to follow
-Derivative elements of other sci-fi films
-Sequel baiting with the ending
Final Score: 8/10 points
Content Warning: Z: The Beginning is fine for teens and up. There is a body count in this film and one character briefly uses strong language. The opening scene can be disturbing in it’s own right with multiple scenes of destruction.
All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. Z: The Beginning is property of The Critics Company. The screenshot is from YouTube and is property of The Critics Company.