Dir: Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Quantum of Solace)
Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Fana Mokoena and David Morse
Synopsis: United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.
*Review Note: This is a non-spoiler review as always.*
Well, it’s finally here. The anticipated adaptation of Max Brooks famous zombie book World War Z. With its very troubled production, Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster not talking to one another, going way over budget, and bringing writers to fix the third act after the movie had been done filming, the movie is out and surprisingly…isn’t too bad.
The film, which Pitt also produced, is designed to be less a horror movie and instead is a globe-spanning, international thriller, with zombies in it. Unlike other zombies movies where the cast is some just some familiar faces that we may or may not see again, this one has Brad Pitt front and center and along with other well known familiar faces thrown in as one off characters. Now, before I go more into the review I do want to say this. As much as we love Brooks’ book (which if you haven’t read you really should) the movie is nothing like the book. Sure there are some moments where the movie throws book readers a bone but the movie really is its own thing. So if you’re a fan of the book, put away you’re expectations and just enjoy for what the movie is. A good fun ride.
Gerry Lane (Pitt) is bought in by his former employer of the U.N to search of an answer to how to stop the plague of zombies that has taken over the world. And if you’re worried that the film would take to long to get to the action you’d be mistaken. After establishing some moments with his family the action starts almost right away. The scale of the zombie outbreak in the city Gerry and his family are in make the familiar zombie take over feel a bit fresh, even while we quickly realize that this film will not be offering up much blood, which didn’t really bother me but will probably bother most zombie (or gore-fanatics’).
Eventually, Gerry and his family make it to the safety of a military fleet at sea, but his old boss wants him back on the job. Sure, his wife and kids are safe with the fleet but Pitt doesn’t want to leave his family but is pushed to and makes his sub-plot with his family a bit more important. Although Mireille Enos (The Killing) who plays Pitt’s wife doesn’t really do much besides wait around with their children.
Now the much talked about third act that was re-worked by Damon Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus, Star Trek Into Darkness) and Drew Goddard (Lost, The Cabin in the Woods) is hit and miss. This part is where most of the tension is but some will see it as dumb, generic, or dare I say even fun. You can also tell if you pay close attention to the rest of the movie that this part was done by different writers but it shouldn’t take you out of the movie.
Now the zombies. This will divide audience since every time a zombie movie comes out everybody seems to complain about them. We’ve seen in the ads the CGI fast movie zombies, there are a lot of them, but we do get some slow moving zombies for brief periods. Although one of the troubles the production had was the design of them, which you can sometimes tell when we get close up shots. As for the CGI zombies it does get a bit clucky at times but when you see the mountains of undead swarm like human-sized insects it kind of works.
Zombie fans (or horror fans) will probably also see the occasional element of pops up, although some are out of the blue. But largely, World War Z is less a zombie movie than it is an intense thriller that just happens to have zombies all over the place. The film’s final moments hint at the possibility of a sequel which honestly I won’t mind seeing, especially if it goes the actual way of the book.
All in all, World War Z has its hit and misses (more hits for me personally) and if you’re a fan of the book and are able to put the book aside (which you should to make the viewing better) you will possibly enjoy the movie.
World War Z
4 out of 5