Review: World War Z

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World War Z is as an apocalyptic horror film showing how the world suffers through an invasion of zombies. Jumping from Philadelphia to South Korea to Israel to Wales, the movie tries its best to give you a true global feel during this worldwide threat. Starring Brad Pitt, World War Z looks to keep you on the edge of your seat for as long as you can stay on the ride.

The story begins with Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his family in Philadelphia. It is made clear that Gerry once worked in very dangerous places before deciding to quit his job to be home with the family; your first indication that he is a stand up guy. Smash cut to the family sitting in stopped traffic as an explosion happens. A wave of zombies begin attacking the crowds. At this point you don’t know what they are but everything is moving so fast and chaotic that you as the viewer just assume the worst. Then for a brief moment amidst the screams and carnage Gerry gets a good look at one of the people as they become a zombie. 12 seconds and you can see a full transformation. Before we know it our family has made it out of the city and on their way. While driving Gerry gets a call from his former co-worker at the UN named Thierry (Fana Mokoena). Yes I do find it odd that cell phones worked at this point and you should too. Thierry says that he can help Gerry and his family by getting a helicopter to pick them up. Through a series of events they get to the rendezvous point and fly off to a carrier ship in the middle of the Atlantic, safe and sound. Gerry is then recruited to come back to his old position in the UN and help find a cure for what is going on around the world. We are treated to soldiers relaying messages of major cities “going dark” worldwide. So he has to leave his family on the ship while he gallivants around the globe looking for any clues that might save humanity.

At this point is where the movie went off the rails for me. The globe hopping is a major part of the story in the book and in the movie, but in the movie we are treated to what seems like small set pieces that could be anywhere, with the exception of Israel. However, the largest problem with World War Z was its rating. At PG-13, this movie is as bland as it gets. There is little to no blood, guts, or real danger. Every zombie kill is off screen...EVERY ZOMBIE KILL!!! In a world were The Walking Dead TV show exists why does a big budget movie like World War Z reduces itself down to a movie that kids could watch? I never felt like I was watching a zombie apocalyptic movie, but rather a movie with some growling people just playing tag. At one point there is a zombie who the crowd was just outwardly laughing at. The movie became nothing more than a joke. Taking a beloved book and just treating it with little to no respect. I am not even upset that it wasn’t the “go around the world and get stories of the zombie apocalypse” style like the book. If World War Z wanted to go its own way then I am fine with that, but it couldn’t even please when doing that. The zombie genre has become over played in the last few years. In my honest opinion, I think World War Z might be the movie to kill the genre for the mainstream for a while. Its nothing more than a loud, vanilla, and frankly boring film. Had they decided give Pitt’s character a team of soldiers to follow him around and let them get picked off one by one in different locales then the movie would have had some stakes to it. However, you know Pitt isn’t going to die so there is no tension. Lastly, the largest mistake was casting Pitt at all. Not because he isn’t good here, he is, but rather because he is too famous. Due to his status the director feels the need to give him tons of screen time, and as a movie goer you expect to see him since its Brad Pitt. Cast a less famous person and have them go around and hear the stories of individuals during the zombie apocalypse. Little vignettes of zombie action would have been really fun to see. It would have been faithful to the book and the stakes would be higher for all those involved in the stories. Besides Brad Pitt there are no characters who are on the screen really more than 10 minutes anyway. All the acting is serviceable, but largely wasted due to the materials they are given. The CGI, which looked terrible in the trailers, was much cleaner and reasonable here. World War Z is the death knell of the zombie horror genre, or at least it should be. A big bloated summer blockbuster with absolutely nothing to say.

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