Action Movie Fanatix Review: World War Z

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Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Ludi Boeken, Matthew Fox, Fana Mokoena, Sterling Jerins, Abigail Hargrove

Director: Marc Forster

2013  |  116 Minutes  |  PG-13

“Mother Nature is a serial killer.  No one’s better.  More creative.” – Andrew Fassbach

World War Z is one of the rare times where I had actually read the book prior to the movie coming out.  I was curious how they would adapt the book, given its unconventional story telling.

Former United Nations investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) has been living a simple life with his family but when a mysterious virus turns much of the world’s population to mindless zombies he has no choice but to travel the world on a quest for answers.

The opening of the movie is really ruined by the trailers.  We know this movie is about zombies and that a big reveal moment is coming but part of the fun of zombie movies is waiting for that big first attack.  Waiting and waiting…  Well, if you saw any of the trailers or TV spots for World War Z you know that as soon as you seen Gerry in the car with his family that it’s coming.  In order for it to be properly intense we wouldn’t have known that this was where the shit hits the fan

In some ways World War Z is a new take on the genre and in some ways it is more of the same.  It’s not about being chased by zombies, though there is definitely some of that.  It’s also not about the humans who run amok in situations like this.  The movie is following a guy who is trying to find information and ultimately a cure for the virus that caused the zombie outbreak.  It’s kind of crazy that this hasn’t really been done much before.

It’s been too long since I had read the book for me to be able to remember all the little differences between the book and the movie so I can’t really comment on any of that.  I will say that, in some ways, it feels a little like how the book does, in that Gerry is going around interviewing people around the globe to find information.  I really liked that.

Brad Pitt gives me a little bit of a stoner vibe now a days.  I would sure think that a UN reporter/interviewer/researcher would cut his hair and maybe shave once in a while… or grow a full beard… not this scraggly “just haven’t taken the time to shave in the past month” stuff.  He’s a fine actor but he seemed a little off for this part.

The CGI zombies looked a little fakey.  Not horrible but it was SUPER easy to tell when CGI was used versus having actual people in makeup.  The zombie swarm concept was a good one though.

World War Z relies on individual moments of fear, often featuring children or old people and utilizing slow motion effects since it is pretty unlikely that Gerry is ever in any real danger.  And no one wants to see little kids or sick old people eaten alive by zombies.

Aside from that relatively minor complaint, the direction and storytelling are pretty solid.  The locations solidify the feeling that Gerry is traveling all over the world to get this thing figured out.  There are an awful lot of convenient twists and turns that keep Gerry and company alive.  The fact that I even took note of them really shows how evident they are.  For people that can’t overlook these types of things, World War Z should probably be avoided.  If you, like me, can overlook them then I’d say WWZ is worth the two hours it will cost you for a viewing.

Like I said, I can’t compare this to the book.  I loved the book and had a surprisingly good time with the movie.  I don’t feel like I can ask for a whole ton more than that.  If you decide to give World War Z a gander be prepared to suspend your disbelief A LOT.  There are some major plot “conveniences.”  Otherwise… enjoy!

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