Written by Guillermo Troncoso.
A “virus” spreads across the world rapidly and it’s up to a retired United Nation employee to save the planet. Yes, it’s another zombie movie, but this time with Brad Pitt.
The film doesn’t waste any time in throwing you into the action. What begins as a usual morning in the Lane family quickly descends into chaos as the zombie pandemic takes over. The chaotic opening is handled quite well, quickly establishing the insanity and confusion that takes over a morning traffic jam. The panicked crowd that envelopes this scene of destruction establishes what will be the highlights throughout the movie.
As the story progresses, the film loses more and more of whatever internal logic it started off with. Unbelievable situations arise and characters make some seriously weird choices. More often than not you’ll be left staring at the screen asking, “Wait, really?” A big example is the way that Pitt’s character somehow becomes the only man doing anything to stop this epidemic. After a while it becomes pretty clear that the film doesn’t have much of a plot, just a bunch of set-pieces that don’t add up to much.
Speaking of set-pieces, there should be some kind of rule against movie trailers revealing way too much. The film’s money-shots are pretty much all spoiled in the darn trailers. That said, there are some exciting sequences that get the heart racing. The entire sequence in Israel is down-right awesome. The CG zombie crowds may not always look very convincing, but it is nevertheless exciting seeing thousands of undead tumble and scramble over each other as they chase humans through the tight alleys of Jerusalem. Also, the plane sequence is a stand out in terms of both great direction and impressive effects.
Brad Pitt is as usual quite solid. He doesn’t push himself by any means, but he delivers a decent performance that gets the job done. He might actually bring more to the table than his character actually deserves.
Looking at this as a zombie film, I couldn’t help but be disappointed. There just isn’t any real horror to be found here. This is clearly a film that goes for the action over the horror and it suffers because of it. Some more suspense would have worked wonders. The finale does attempt to give viewers some old-fashioned corridor-horror, but this final sequence goes on for way too long and, in comparison to the events preceding it, gets boring very quickly.
World War Z has gone for a PG-13 rating in the U.S. and it doesn’t help the film in the slightest. In fact, it detracts from crucial elements when it becomes painfully obvious what has been cut out to make the movie more accessible. Cutting away from showing an injury or kill may serve the censors and thus the potential box-office return, but it damages the impact of many key moments.
By no means is World War Z a terrible movie. Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland, Stranger Than Fiction, The Kite Runner) has proven that he can be a great director when he focuses on more down-to-earth dramas. His larger scale films (Quantum of Solace, Machine Gun Preacher) lack structure and originality. Unfortunately, this falls towards the latter. Still, there are some great moments scattered throughout the mediocrity that will blow audiences away.
THE REEL SCORE: 6/10