I am a huge fan of the Max Brooks’ novel World War Z. It’s a great read, made up of interviews of people who survived the events of the Zombie Apocalypse. It was a brutal look at the world, if indeed the dead had arisen to reclaim the World as their own.
When I first started hearing a movie was going to be made based on this novel, I was skeptical. the novel felt more of a set piece for a TV mini-series. The format just didn’t feel like it would play out well on the big screen. Then I started to see the first trailers.
What I noticed is that it looked nothing like the book. Fast zombies, lots of action sequences that were definitely not in the novel. It looked like it lost the interview style pace of the book. It left a bad taste in my mouth as it did with many fans of the book.
We also have to remember that this was a movie that was plagued with issues during production. Real guns being kept on set which got them in trouble in Hungary. The writers not being able to come up with a good ending so others were brought in to fix it. It felt like this movie may not get finished.
Fast forward to June 21st and it’s time for World War Z to be launched in theatres. A movie I finally decided to see and just cast away any notion of the book itself and see if this movie can stand on it’s own as a good zombie flick.
The story is simple. Gerry Lane is called back into action with the military when an epidemic breaks out turning the human population into these raging zombies. His family gets to have refuge on an aircraft carrier while Gerry is out globetrotting looking for answers and hopefully a cure to end this.
This movie is pretty much action from the get go and doesn’t let up much through out the movie. The action is intense and at times horrifying. With every good zombie movie there should be jumps and scares throughout and World War Z does not disappoint in that department. There were plenty of times that the audience were jumping and letting out screams. This is a good sign when you’re sitting watching a zombie movie.
One thing to note about the film is the omission of gore and blood. This goes to say that gore and blood doesn’t make a movie scary and one can have a decent zombie flick without the gory mess. They wanted to have as little blood as possible to keep this a PG-13 rating, though the novel is definitely an R rated gorefest.
The director Mark Forster, known for Machine Gun Preacher, Quantum of Solace, The Kiterunner, hits all the right notes in an all out action zombie flick. Forster paces the action almost perfectly and sets up some pretty intense moments. He is able to intertwine some emotional moments as well throughout the movie. Some work nicely, others at times fall a little flat, but that doesn’t deter from the enjoyment of watching the Zombie Apocalypse go down. The director gets decent performances out of his actors, though I think the best acting in the movie is done but the secondary performers.
This is Brad Pitt’s vehicle. He stars as Gerry Lane. An ex military man who gets thrown into this battle to seek out answers as to why this is happening. Lane left the military to be a family man and lead out his life as such. He fights tooth and nail not to go back, but in the end they make him an offer he can’t refuse.
Pitt is good in the action scenes but in some of the more heavier emotional scenes he came off a little amateurish. He didn’t have that emotional punch to drive those scenes home and at times felt like he was phoning some of those lines in. Though when push came to shove in the action he was right there hitting all the right notes and making those scenes seem believable. If there is one thing World War Z taught me is that if you are going to survive some death defying situation have Pitt with you, that man survives events that no one ever should, but this is where the land of make believe comes into play. It’s a movie, and when you’re in that playground, anything is plausible.
Mireille Enos from The Killing, plays Pitt’s wife Karen. She does a good job ofr what time she has on screen. Her role is a very emotional role and Enos portrays a protective mother and a wife who’s one an emotional roller coaster not knowing if her husband is going to come out of this alive. Enos is a strong actress and shows it in this movie.
The other supporting players were top notch such as Ludi Boeken, Fana Mokoena, David Morse, who plays the creepiest, craziest military prisoner I have seen in a while. A good job at casting for these roles, because this is one movie where I felt the supporting cast carried the picture.
After the movie was over, there were some scenes that stuck with me that ended up not going anywhere. I’m not going to spoil anything but there were a few scenes that seemed like they were going to be building blocks for things to come later on but were totally forgotten throughout the movie. I don’t know if they were to play out later and were cut when re-writes came, but it felt like the writers were going to be taking these building points somewhere but didn’t. In that aspect part of the movie does fall a little flat in that regards.
Overall World War Z, though after seeing the movie Z would have been a cool title, is a decent summer, popcorn flick zombie movie. It’s intense, terrifying at times, and it a good fun romp. Is it deep and insightful? Nope. It’s a movie that you can sit back, get ready for some action and just have fun. Isn’t this why we go to the movies anyways? To have fun and to escape the real world for a couple of house and get taking on a ride no matter how far fetched it may be.
I give this movie 4 stars out of 5. I know, I know it sounds crazy. But like Han Solo once said. It may not look like much but it’s got it where it counts kid. ‘Till next time my friends.