World War Z (2013)

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Despite feeling all too much like a video game and suffering from a lack of ferocity that has made the zombie sub-genre what it is today. “World War Z” is able to, for the majority, overcome its unbalanced nature and numerous setbacks to deliver heart-racing thrills, surprisingly tense sequences, and another masterful, yet effortless performance from Brad Pitt in this piece of blockbuster eye-candy that ultimately works. While those, like myself, looking for a faithful adaptation of the source material will predictably be disappointed. “World War Z” should accomplish what it set out to achieve with its family friendly rating, high-profile names like the aforementioned Brad Pitt and Max Brooks, in addition to a big-budget which is, appeasing die-hard zombie enthusiasts and appealing to the summer crowd without alienating one or the other. Although there is little structure to speak of and that the film itself is practically void of an ending, “World War Z” thrives.

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Gerry Lane (Pitt) is a former United Nations employee living in Philadelphia. As him and his family sit in traffic, reports of a rabies outbreak has spread. Soon, Gerry and his family are overrun in chaos and destruction as a pack of these infected humans begin destroying the city and infecting others. Managing to escape with the help of an old colleague, Gerry is thrust back into action and must assist a young virologist in creating a vaccine. Gerry is reluctant, but must proceed in order to secure the safety of his family. Some time after, the infected beings are aptly titled zombies, seeing as they crave flesh and are no longer living. Gerry must seek the help of various nations and shady characters in order to find a cure.

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Regardless of how successful “World War Z” performs at the box office or is critically received. In the end, one can’t shake the feeling that a supreme opportunity was wasted here. The film is undeniably fun to watch and offers enough fresh material to rise above the typical summer dribble. Nonetheless, an adaption of Max Brooks best-selling novel should have provided more of what makes the zombie sub-genre so compelling. Brooks consistently tackles this version of an apocalyptic plague with brains just as much as brawn and sadly, this adaptation of his innovative best seller really doesn’t offer an abundance of either. That being said, what “World War Z” utterly lacks in ingenuity, it more than makes up for with undead that are almost super-human, cool CGI, and a fluid story that feels like a video game based on mission-objectives.

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From the get-go, “World War Z” plants its foundation firmly in intellect and implies that it will further dissect and depict the scientific and physical aspects of this world-wide plague. However, this set-up tails off significantly into rumours, acts of god, and a series of foreseeable cliches. Although it isn’t enough to completely disparage the film, it is rather distracting and really undermines the intelligence of the viewer. The fact that the final draft of the film was edited and reshot significantly, enough to push back its release six months really is discouraging. Yet, considering all the notions that the film was slapped together and salvaged by numerous writers with varying inputs. “World War Z” contains the right amount of visceral characters, breathtaking action, and a plethora of undead beings to triumph.

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In all honesty, the number of supremely talented writers it took to adapt “World War Z” is astounding. Each one is talented, as well as experienced and their track records aren’t filled with lacklustre efforts either. With the likes of Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods), Damon Lindelof (Star Trek Into Darkness, Prometheus), J. Michael Straczynski (Thor), and Matthew Michael Carnahan (State of Play), tackling “World War Z” shouldn’t have been the hassle it turned out to be. Nevertheless, while it may have taken more collaborates than needed, the job got done, with a bit of flare I might add. Director Marc Foster, who prior to “World War Z’s” release was still honing his craft and searching for his masterpiece, in my opinion anyway, directs another slightly above average piece, but is still yet to find his true muse. While there is some impressive camera work and Foster undoubtedly knows what he is doing behind the lens, I feel he is yet to realize his full potential.

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As for “World War Z’s” cast, which features Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, and Daniella Kertesz. It’s easy to see how one can argue that their performances are what really saved the film instead of its extensive rewrites. As always, Brad Pitt brings his usual subtle dynamism and visceral style, while continuing to build a sterling reputation. James Badge Dale is still one of the most underrated and underused actors in the industry and his performance in “World War Z” just adds fuel to the fire. Daniella Kertesz does a phenomenal job supporting Pitt and seems to have caught everyone off guard. However, while Kertesz gives an outstanding portrayal, I feel that Mireille Enos really stole the show. She easily provides the most honest and terrified take on surviving the end of the world, especially fearing for her children. Everything about her performance is truly believable and endearing.

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Although “World War Z” is missing a vibrancy that results in achromatic visuals. Its fast-moving, large-scale battles with the undead and vast destruction of man-made creations save its colourlessness. The direction and storyline, while missing individualism is passable with some good sequences sprinkled here and there. “World War Z’s” performances are seemingly the only consistency throughout the film and while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, for a film with so much potential and original criteria to compare it to, its hard to get excited over typical cinematic qualities. All in all, “World War Z” succeeds and even though on the surface it’s rock solid, underneath its superficial traits, there is gooey inconsistencies and not much merit. So, take it for what it is, an enjoyable, brainless blockbuster that’s easy on the eyes and tons of fun.

World War Z: 7 out of 10.

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About Joseph@thecinemamonster

Aspiring writer who absolutely adores film and television. thecinemamonster.com

Posted on June 27, 2013, in Horror and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. Good review. I understand peoples’ problems with this one. I haven’t read the book, but I’m sure it has more character development. However, none of those problems even came to my mind during the film, so I was never bothered by any of them. I had loads of fun with this movie. I gave it a B+, which probably translates to about an 8/10.

    • I am roughly in the same area as you. I couldn’t completely block out the book while watching the film cause I have read it, but the differences between the two didn’t bother me while I was watching it. Afterwords, yeah it was frustrating that they didn’t fuse more of the book in but the film is still pretty good on its own.

      • Hey Joseph,

        I recently watched the new OZ with James Franco, and I had a similar problem as you. I couldn’t get the original story out of my head, to objectively judge the remake. I was constantly comparing and getting frustrated.

        So I get most people’s frustration with WWZ. Sadly, if they didn’t decide to make the movie based on the book, and made the movie as an original story with a different title, it probably could’ve avoided the high expectations.

      • Hey bud, yeah it’s a problem that most films that are rebooted, remade, and based on pieces of literature have. Unfortunately, it is near impossible to part ways with original material. However, I think World War Z handled it fairly well, which is why for the most part I enjoyed it.

      • The bigger problem that I find, is that sometimes, so much is changed from the source material, that it might’ve been more successful as a standalone, with no ties to the source. I haven’t read the book, but it seems like WWZ the movie, would’ve done better with that kind of a treatment.

        I was completely oblivious to the source, hype, production problems of WWZ from day one, maybe that’s why I enjoyed it a LOT more than most.

        Ah well, different strokes.

      • Completely agree. I feel that the only thing WWZ has in common with its source material is the title Lol. It probably would have been better as a stand alone, but oh well. Like you said essentially, to each his own.

      • It’s understandable that it’s hard separate it from the book. It probably would have been received better with a different title, but it also might not have made as much money. But who knows?

      • True true…well, what’s done is done…still a very decent flick.

    • Hey Garrett, you’re probably one of very few people I know who liked this as much as I did, which reflects in your rating.

      • Likewise, other than myself, you’re one of two bloggers that really really liked it. So that’s certainly awesome to hear!

  2. Your review reiterates a lot I’ve heard about the film. Just go into it wanting to have a fun time, nothing more. I still need to see it, though…. Damn schedule

    • I think my review is coming off a lot worse than I want it to. Yes, the film has flaws and didn’t stay as true to the book as much as I wanted it to. Regardless, I still enjoyed the film quite a bit. Like you said and I’ll reiterate again, it isn’t a brain buster or utterly complex. Shut your brain off and check it out, it is a fun blockbuster :). Clear that schedule!

  3. Good review, it was alright but it could have been much better 😦

  4. Great review; it’s good to see people enjoying the movie for what it is/taking the objective route. I’ve heard people moaning about a lack of gore, but I guess that’s what happens when you turn a horror book into an action film for the masses. That said, I’m gonna wait for this to come out on streaming because the trailer absolutely did nothing for me. I like my zombies like this http://thisisinfamous.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/28days.jpg

    • Thank you! I hear you, in order to enjoy the film you really need to set aside every notion one has about WWZ. It is a lot of fun, just not in the typical zombie-sub-genre way.

      Oh and Woooo…”28 Days Later.”

  5. Nice review, I ended up digging this one a lot more than I anticipated I would. The film is choppy and the lack of gore and scares was a bit of a let down. However, a strong performance by Pitt and some tension filed scenes lifted this film above mediocrity.

  6. Good review. 🙂 Agree with this review! Seems fair. I gave it 7/10 too.

  7. I felt the same. Great review man!

  1. Pingback: World War Z Review: Citizen Zeke | Rorschach Reviews

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