World War Z (2013)

World War ZRelease Date: June 21, 2013

Director: Marc Forster

Stars: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz

Runtime: 116 min

The zombie sub-genre is a successful one. (And The Walking Dead shows it’s wildly successful on television, as well.) We saw that with Warm Bodies earlier this year, that brought about a unique film to the the zombie sub-genre. World War Z is a more straight-forward zombie movie that doesn’t try to reinvent anything. Apparently movie-goers don’t tire of watching zombies or the world end, either, as this is the second zombie movie and umpteenth apocalyptic flick of 2013.

United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.

World War Z mashes genres of action, drama and horror together in this zombie feature that’s a little more in the vain of 2007’s I Am Legend  and less TV’s The Walking Dead. If your favourite part of any zombie movie is all of the blood, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The only blood presented are in the form of cuts and bites from the zombies, for the most part. Even when the zombies are shot, there’s hardly a realistic shot of blood – mostly because the majority of the zombies are CGI-animated. It is never, ever gory.

Half of the kills even happen off-screen. That could take half of the fun out of the movie for fans of people getting mauled by zombies. The movie is surprisingly human. That isn’t saying that the zombies themselves are human, even if some have senses of humour. Some tease their victims by clacking their teeth together like Pac Men. It’s funny, yet menacing. Anyway, the human part of this is in Brad Pitt’s character. He, Gerry Lane, is an average UN worker, who others think could play a critical role in stopping this epidemic. His motivations are driven by his family. He wants to find a cure, or at least something to save some of the human population, as quickly as he can so he can keep his family from turning into those monsters. I really like Brad Pitt’s honesty in his portrayal.

One might get the vibe from the trailer that all of of the zombies will be in the form of CGI. Thankfully, that is not the case and there are quite a few humans actually playing the zombies. This movie probably does hold the record for tallest CGI-zombie doggie pile. Generally, the visuals are decent. Some of the movie suffers from shaky cam, which just shouldn’t be present in a big budget movie – because, really, one would think they could pay for cinematographers without Parkinson’s disease. The majority of the scenes are in the dark, and a lot of the camerawork is generally busy. A few scenes, generally near the beginning at the start of the hectic epidemic, are eye sores. I don’t see how 3D visual effects would add anything to the movie; it might even make the movie more excruciating to the eyes.

The story’s a good one, as far as ‘find the cure’ movies go. This film is adapted from the book of the same name written by Max Brooks. I have not read the book, so I cannot comment on any similarities or big differences. All I can say is, it’s a story that plays well on the screen. I like that Drew Goddard has a hand in the screenplay; because he has talent. It’s a traditional ‘find the cure’ type of film, that doesn’t become complicated. If you do miss a few lines of critical dialogue, however, you might be out of the loop for a few minutes. Director Marc Forster brings his A-game, but he could be more aware that his movie suffers from shaky cam. It doesn’t add to the experience at all. Nor would the 3D; but this is the film industry, so they want to make money.

The make-up for the zombies is good, at least those who are human. I wouldn’t exactly call this a horror movie. You might jump once or twice, but not constantly. There is a constant tense and suspenseful atmosphere. You’ll appreciate how the screenplay keeps you guessing (but it’ll be less predictable if you haven’t read the book – I’d assume). The cast is good. James Badge Dale and David Morse are memorable in petite roles. Mireille Enos has been appearing on the small screen since 1994, but this is only her second movie role. Nonetheless, she performs well. Even if her character makes a few unfortunate decisions, that don’t exactly affect her.

The entire feature won’t stand out prominently in memory by the end of the year, but there’s one particular air plane scene that is good, intense fun; if not entirely realistic. This movie isn’t exactly a good horror movie, per se, but it does have scary aspects. It’s mostly just an effective actioner. I also like how it is character-driven and is never boring. For a big-budget action movie, the cinematography is too shaky. I wasn’t anticipating this heavily – so it’s a nice surprise.


11 thoughts on “World War Z (2013)

  1. Good review Dan. Could have been a lot better, but at least it was entertaining and fun for the most part. Just should have been pushed to an R-rating.

  2. I feel better about going to see this film now as I wanted to see it for the action but can’t stand zombie gore! I am no longer panicking 🙂 Thanks!

    1. I’m glad I can help! 🙂 Zombies might have drool and blood at the corners of their mouths at times, but it’s nothing bad; they definitely don’t feast on anyone lol!

      I hope you enjoy it 😀

  3. Hey Daniel,

    Awesome Review man. I’m glad you kept it very objective. I didn’t notice the shaky cam too much, but you’re right about the 3D. I saw it in 3D (simply because no other option was playing at the time) and it didn’t add much to the experience, except for the odd scene here or there.

    What is cool about 3D though that I noticed during the more mundane scenes, is that there’s more depth to the scenery, especially with the foreground / background shots. It feels like you’re there. I wouldn’t mind if 3D became just a more visual way of expeiencing movies, instead of whoring out the effects for ‘3D’ and having shit come at you.

    Love the review man. I gave it a somewhat similar rating, if not higher.

  4. I disagree with you, but only minorly. “doesn’t try to reinvent anything” – The whole thing is a completely different take on zombies, I have never seen anything like it. Ever. Second, you won’t remember it prominently by the end of the year? It is heart-pounding action by action by action sequencing with amazing visuals – scenery, the use of lights, CGI, going all over the world. Come on.

    I loved it, 89/100 for me. Incredibly impressive.

    1. It reminded me of I Am Legend in terms of tone, because I basically saw it as a find the cure movie. That’s why I don’t think it is aspiring to re-invent much.

      It’s memorable in most ways. But in the group of other 2013 releases, I don’t think it’ll stand out to me. I mean, it’s good – but I didn’t think it was as great as you think it was. But that’s just me.

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