Director: Marc Forster
Stars: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz
Released: 21st June 2013 (UK)
When a Zombie pandemic sweeps across the globe with no apparent way to stop it, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) must leave his family behind and attempt to track down the source of the outbreak, taking him on a journey across the world in a race against time.
Based on the novel by Max Brooks, the film was the subject of a tussle between studios for some time before being picked up by Mr Pitt’s production company Plan B. Installing Quantum of Solace director Marc Forster and with Pitt as the lead, a film adaptation of the novel had ‘Zombie Blockbuster’ written all over it with the formula having worked before with ‘I Am Legend’.
World War Z thrusts the viewer straight into the action, with its minimal background information it flips the precedent set by previous zombie films on its head – rather than explain what has happened to cause the outbreak, the journey of discovery is undertaken by both the characters and the audience in tandem.
By refraining from flashbacks and following a strict timeline the film is able to flow from scene to scene, but the political undertones of the source material are lost in the simplicity of the linear narrative. While this will not be missed by the majority, the watered down plot may leave fans of the novel feeling that the film has merely used the original material as a springboard to build a more ‘family- friendly’ blockbuster.
While the film received a ‘15’ rating in the UK, the PG-13 rating in the US means the action scenes are furious, but for a zombie film they are lacking in gore and while and over the top blood-fest isn’t what we want, it is surprisingly obvious. This unfortunately filters into the horror and tension elements of the film – a distinct lack of suspense could be attributed to the attempt to make it more accessible, rather than scare off the younger viewers that the films rating is clearly trying to entice.
Pitt’s performance is, as always, solid, with the rest of the cast play second string to Pitt’s character Gerry. A number of character flit in and out of the story, his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and later on Segen (Daniella Kertesz) provide the films emotional moments and they do a decent job of it, though again these scenes feel skimmed over and mean the film lacks any real depth of emotional attachment for the viewer to actually care whether or not anyone other than Gerry dies.
World War Z is a decent summer blockbuster, nothing more, nothing less. While it won’t be challenging for any awards, it’s an enjoyable action movie with some horror thrown in for good measure. However, its potential hasn’t really been reached and this is the films biggest flaw.
With a decent score by Muse’s Matt Bellamy and a strong performance from Pitt, the positives aspects of World War Z show that there’s still some life in the undead yet.
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