World War Z, 2013, USA/UK/Malta
Director: Marc Foster
Stars: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos & James Badge Dale
''Movement is life''
'World War Z' was film that drew eerily parallels to the infamous Zombie lore Flight 575, in that it seemed dead on arrival. During its production the film seemed to run into problem after problem such as backlash from fans for not sticking closely enough to the source material, being released with a PG-13 rating and having an overload on the CGI. Despite the low expectations and early negative reception, could the biggest Zombie film of all time deliver ?
Retired United Nations employee, Gerry Lane and his family are thrust into a world wide epidemic after an unknown virus spreads throughout society. Lane must go back to his old profession in order to find out the cause of the virus and more importantly a cure.
For me ‘World War Z’ was probably the most interesting summer blockbuster (well winter in my neck of the woods) to come out in a long time. I would never voluntary go to a cinemas to see films like ‘Fast and Furious 6’ or even ‘Man of Steel’ but for some reason I felt the need to see ‘World War Z’. Going in, all I really wanted was to have a good time as I was not expecting high art in anyway, and for the most ‘World War Z’ delivered on that. While it has many imperfections, when the film is at its best, it’s a fun ride.
I’m still struggling to think weather or not ‘World War Z’s positives out way its negatives. On one hand, the films action sequences are generally very good, plenty of tense, exciting and thrilling moments throughout that I really enjoyed. But on the other hand, there are plenty of talky moments that really slowed down the pace of the film and bored me. I guess that is this film in a nutshell, for all the good it does, it can do a hell of a lot worse.
I think everyone is aware of how a zombie film works by now, I mean we get dozens upon a dozens of zombie films on a yearly basis, as well other forms of media like ‘The Walking Dead’, I think everyone has the formula down pat. Zombie = bad, people run from zombies, if people get attacked by zombies there fucked. One of the most irritating aspects of ‘World War Z’ is that it seems to believe that this is peoples first ever Zombie film, while there may be non- horror film fans who are attracted to the film due to Pitt’s involvement I am very they are aware of these things work. ‘Z’ is a film that features several long sequences that go into the scientific elements of the virus; this should be a no no for a blockbuster in which audience members simply want to see Pitt kill some Zambies! Although the film eventually takes a different route in attempting to solve the epidemic problem, it still doesn’t excuse the seemingly endless scenes of talk.
Another issue with this film is that it doesn’t really live up to its big billing, for a film that should be the biggest zombie film of all time it really doesn’t capture the scope of being a worldwide zombie war. Hell, ‘Dawn of the Dead’ felt like it was taking place on a bigger scale and that was set in a damn mall! In my opinion, this film needed to go all out in its approach, doing some mind blowing things and make audiences genuinely feel like this was a world overrun by the living dead, we get little instances of this, but it’s far from enough.
Now for my biggest complaint, The ending, I won’t go into specific plot details but I have to say that the way in which ‘World War Z’ ends is absolutely awful! Rarely have I seen a film close on such a hollow and strange note. The scene leading up to the climax was actually very good and it got me excited for what was coming next, but then before I know it, it’s over. I know they are looking to create a trilogy here and might be hoping to save a little something for the sequels, but it’s just wrong to screw your audience out of a satisfying finale just so you can hook them in for next time.
As I alluded to above, the film does have its benefits like the entertaining action sequences. There were moments in the film I actually found quite tense and exciting. Scenes such as the hold up in the city at the beginning, and the plane and research center sequences are very good and have moments of almost genuine tension.
Being a large scale Zombie film, cast is of course secondary to spectacle. With that being said, Brad Pitt does a heck of a job in the lead role of Gerry Lane and is really the only redeeming character. Lane’s family, including wife played by Mireille Enos, are really unappealing, there is way too much time spent with them, and to be honest I really couldn’t have cared less about them. It would have been cool to have some notable names have an appearance throughout the film but that doesn’t happen and though the actors aren’t bad, most of them fail to leave an impact. The only person in addition to Pitt that I will even vaguely remember is David Morse, whom plays a crazed former CIA agent.
At the end of the day, ‘World War Z’ is not a film that is going to set the world on fire by any means, but I do think it’s better than what most were expecting. It’s a big, loud zombie vehicle that does its job just fine in giving audiences an entertaining and exciting ride. Sure, there a hell of a lot of issues that you can fault the film on, but I don’t think entertainment factor is one.