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More in Arts & Entertainment
World War Z (Paramount/Plan B/Skydance)
Jun 27, 2013 12:00 am
With the success of AMC's The Walking Dead, zombies are a pop culture thing beyond the horror genre. Sometimes they can be mixed with comedy like Shaun of the Dead, or mixed with romance like Warm Bodies. With the latest film World War Z, they're getting the action treatment with swarming, faster zombies. Based on the best selling novel by Max Brooks, the movie attempts to tell the story of an on-going zombie apocalypse from the point-of-view of an individual.
Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, an ex-UN investigator spending quality time with his wife Karen (Mireille Enos from AMC's The Killing) and their two daughters. All of an sudden, they find themselves in the middle of a city-wide panic when infected zombies come jolting across the city and begin biting unsuspecting victims. Able to escape, they retreat to a Navy ship with other survivors.
Lane is then assigned by his ex-superiors to traverse across the globe looking for the source of the outbreak. With the help of some military men, Lane tries to survive the zombie swarm and discover a solution to the epidemic. What he discovers may save humanity.
Anyone who's a fan of the original novel will most likely be offended by the adaptation. The book is basically a series of inter-connected short stories taking place years after the zombie war. With that said, the filmmakers intended to make a more interesting zombie film in the vein of The Walking Dead, but with more action-packed, big budget visuals. Zombie fans will most likely enjoy this movie for the zombie action and moments of genuine suspense, but casual viewers may have trouble adjusting to its structure.
The movie's directed by Marc Forster who headed-up the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace, which suffers the same problems of fast cutting and shaky editing. Even worse, this movie lacks any sign of character development. Within the first five minutes of the movie, you're thrust into the action without expecting it and you'll have trouble catching your breath. The only development you'll get out of this movie is with the main character. Though the script was developed by a couple of good writers, it can't agree on the right tone the movie was going for. It does have some good ideas, but not much was accomplished.
What saves this film from being utterly bad is the acting from its cast. Pitt carries the film with his own brand of charisma and believable emotion. There's also some good supporting roles, but the real stars of the film are the zombies. While most of the swarming zombies are obviously CG, there are plenty of actors in zombie makeup giving their all for the film's final act. Anyone looking for some good acting in a zombie film from the zombies themselves will be satisfied.
However those looking for some good bloody violence in their zombie films will be greatly disappointed. Because of its PG-13 rating, the film doesn't show much zombie bites and uses the fast-paced editing to cover the more gruesome sequences. Also, the movie is shown in 3D and uses the format well for the action-packed zombie scenes. Like Man of Steel, the 3D is pretty good, but it's best you choose your way of viewing wisely. Not every movie could work in 3D, but it's nice that filmmakers nowadays can put plenty of effort in how to shoot a great-looking 3D movie.
World War Z is a zombie fan's movie, but it doesn't achieve beyond that and becomes average. It's not great, but it's not entirely awful. One could agree that it could've been better yet it could've been worse too. Only recommended for the curious-minded, and fans of the undead.
THE MOVIE'S RATING: PG-13 (for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images)
THE CRITIC'S RATING: 2.5 Stars (Out of Four)