World War Z (2013)

Posted: September 21, 2013 in Movie Review
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World War Z

Directed By: Marc Foster

Starring: Brad Pitt, Mirielle Enos, Fana Mokoena, James Dale, David Morse, Daniella Kertesz, Matthew Fox

Subgenre: Zombies

Synopsis: A zombie pandemic is sweeping the globe, destroying cities and turning mankind into ravenous flesh eating monsters.  It’s up to retired UN investigator Gerry Lane to discover the cure for the zombie virus.

Thoughts: World War Z was one of the most anticipated zombie films ever.  It is based on the bestselling book of the same name by Max Brooks, and when word broke that it was being made into a movie, fans of the book and genre were foaming at the mouth.  Once the movie was in production, bad news was abundant.  Rewrites and terrible looking FX had diehard fans wringing their hands and declaring the movie a disaster before it was released.  Perhaps the worst sign for any movie is the delay of its release date, which is something that happened here as well.

I have to admit that I was one of the people turned off by the early trailers and news, so I passed on seeing it in the theatre, assuming it would be yet another box office bomb.  I was wrong.  World War Z pulled in well over half a billion dollars worldwide, making it an enormous financial success.  Box office results don’t always mean a good movie though, so I was still a little skeptical when I picked it up.

Shortly into the movie, I was impressed with the look of the zombies.  There was clearly a lot of work done to improve the earlier designs.  To be clear, these zombies fall into the infected and extremely fast moving category, similar to what we’ve seen in 28 Days Later.  As a matter of fact, this movie reminded of a prequel to those movies, seeing what happened before Cillian Murphy woke up.

World War Z is epic in nature, sporting a much bigger budget than any zombie movie before it.  Our hero Gerry travels the globe looking for a cure and it is obvious the amount of money that was put into it.  It plays more like an action movie than it does a zombie movie, not that that is a bad thing, it’s just that World War Z doesn’t feel like zombie movie.  It’s actually a pretty good movie, but wouldn’t crack my top 10 zombie movie list.

The cast is very diverse, which makes sense for a movie that travels the globe.  Of course the main attraction is Brad Pitt, who has flirted with the genre on a couple of occasions in Interview with a Vampire and Seven.  He does his job here, although his haircut is rather ridiculous.  One of my favorite roles was that of David Morse, who plays a very unhinged CIA agent that has went off the reservation so to speak.  I wish his role could have been a larger one.

It’s also no surprise that a movie with this large of a budget and expectations would have an accomplished Director.  While Marc Forster isn’t the biggest name on the block in Hollywood, he’s delivered some very good movies, such as Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland and Stranger than Fiction.  He also directed Quantum of Solace, the second Daniel Craig Bond flick, which wasn’t my favorite, but did show Forster could handle a big time budget and franchise.  He kept the action moving in World War Z and did a good job delivering a tense pandemic tale.

I mentioned that I liked the look of the zombies before, but I also liked the transformation from healthy human to infected.   The way the victims hunched their bodies and turned into savage animals in ten seconds was great.  It helped build the tension when someone was attacked.  The zombies as a whole moved differently than anything I’ve seen before.  They act almost as a collective, like ants, as they attempt to overcome any obstacles in their path.

I definitely recommend World War Z, but not really as a horror movie.  It has a broader appeal than a horror movie and is geared more for a general audience.  As a Hollywood blockbuster and action movie, I found it enjoyable, but this isn’t a movie that can sit side by side with Fulci or Romero’s best at all.

  1. CMrok93 says:

    A better movie than I expected, but that’s still not saying much considering my feelings were initially low for this. Good review.

  2. shnsjolin says:

    Thanks. My expectations were fairly low going in, and managed to enjoy it.

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