World War Z

The Z stands for “zombies,” of course, but World War Z is an action-thriller, not a horror flick. Like TV’s ridiculously popular The Walking Dead or 2009’s more-fun-than-funny Zombieland, it’s a watered-down depiction of the days and nights of the living dead — a zombie film for who people who can’t handle a “real” zombie film.

In other words, it’s a real summer crowd-pleaser, far from the trash heap as years of bad buzz have suggested. That said, it’s entertaining without approaching extraordinary.

Directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace), World War Z is based on Max Brooks’ 2006 novel of the same name. While that book — good, not great — was episodic in nature with oral accounts gleaned from across the globe, the movie opts to tell only one of its ostensible stories, and from a singular perspective: that of former UN investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt, who also serves as producer).

Gerry rather reluctantly leaves his wife (Mireille Enos, TV’s The Killing) and two daughters on a military aircraft while he trots around the globe, helping to pursue a cure to whatever virus has caused this pandemic. No matter his (thinly purposed) destination, super-fast zombies are present for a greet-and-eat. Repeat until the two-hour mark.

I give World War Z this: It wastes no time on setup. It doesn’t need any.

What it does need is — no pun intended — more meat. I understand a PG-13 rating represents the film’s best shot at recouping its reported $200 million-and-up budget, but the movie feels so neutered and toothless in its bloodlessness. Shouldn’t a depiction of a global catastrophe come equipped with a serrated edge?

And shouldn’t audiences be able to see all of it? It could be the fault of the completely unnecessary 3-D, which results in a darker screen, but comprehending any nighttime action sequence is difficult. Forster’s jittery camera and the Slap Chop style of editing only worsens the situation.

Although his hair proves a distraction, Pitt makes for a fine host on his travelogue of terror. Too bad Enos can’t be in the thick with him. She’s such a headstrong actress that it’s frustrating — demeaning, even — that her role in this World War amounts to moping on a cot. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
The Killing: The Complete First Season Blu-ray review    
The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray review     
Zombie Blu-ray review
Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide: Second Edition book review     
Zombieland film review      

Rod Lott

This material falls under the archives category because it was imported from our previous website. It will eventually be filtered into the proper category as time allows.



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