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World War Z

World War Z

In Theatres: 
Jun 21, 2013
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 56 Minutes

Muse Frontman Matt Bellamy helped out with the score by contributing some additional tracks to World War Z.

The Walking Dead. Warm Bodies. Zombieland. Left For Dead. (Un)Living proof that the hottest topic in media right now is Zombies. Twilight brought in a massive fandom for Vampires and Werewolves. Now, we're just moving down the line of science fiction/horror creatures and lately, we've landed on zombies. Personally, I'm beginning to grow tired of the hype. Most zombie films are enjoyable when they are done with something new brought to the table. Lately, we've been getting a lot of that, with Warm Bodies showing that zombies can learn to feel and love. The latest movie to touch on the zombie craze is Marc Forster's World War Z and while it brings some new twists on the usual outbreak, it's not all brains.

After enjoying his newly found home life after a career of traveling continent to continent for the U.N, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is excited to drop his daughters off at school with his wife, Karin (Marielle Enos). Suddenly, Gerry and his family find themselves in the middle of a riot. People start biting each other and running rampant. Gerry is given an opportunity to give his family shelter and protection. In return, he must re-enlist in the U.N and travel across the globe, searching for what has caused this outbreak. With his family's protection being the biggest concern, Gerry agrees and makes his way to South Korea. But this virus wasn't limited to The United States: This is a worldwide epidemic, meaning wherever Gerry travels, he isn't alone.

Immediately, I have to give major points to Marc Forster and perhaps Max Brooks, author of the novel of the same name, for basing this story while the epidemic is just becoming an issue. Most movies and games love to pick a number of years into the apocalypse and base their story within. World War Z introduces the beginning of the outbreak and shows our characters learning information to try and save their world. It's refreshing to see something new done with the genre. This isn't the only new bit of twist Forster gives us, but we'll keep the rest under a tight lid for spoilers sake. The trailers have even been showing certain scenes over and over, convincing some viewers that World War Z might just be a Katamari game with a zombie disguise. This is a clever promotion tool, as I was well surprised at what was happening on screen. Walk into this sucker as clueless as you can. I'm sure it's only a matter of days until we get TV spots of major action sequences in play.

World War Z lives up to it's title, solely based on the actual scale. We see Gerry traveling to numerous countries to find what has happened to the majority of Earth's population and Forster isn't afraid to show how major the destruction has been to each country. Even on an action level, World War Z will impress a decent percentage of the audience. For the most part the CGI is handled well here. with a few exceptions but nothing on Olympus Has Fallen-territory. With the size of this movie and the action set pieces they've presented, a lot of people will go mad for World War Z.

And at first glance, I wouldn't blame them. It's presented in a Bourne Identity/I Am Legend fashion and even crams in some brains into the equation by trying to identify the virus as something more than just a bad case of rabies. This is thin territory to be crossing without diving into spoilers, but in short, the solution they give is an extremely risky concept that seems interesting and smart. Unfortunately, it creates more questions than answers. Walking out, I began discussing these areas with my father, a rabid zombie fan. When discussed at length, these areas become riddled with questions and unexplained gray areas. Even tracking back earlier into the film, there are examples of why their "thesis", if you will, is flawed. It's disappointing to realize, especially with how effective it felt in theaters.

Brad Pitt is quite a surprise in a movie like this. The surprise isn't his performance (as usual, he does great work) but more in his actual presence of a zombie movie. Granted, World War Z is wrapped with a nice little Tom Clancy bow on it in terms of presentation and makes more sense when the reel starts rolling, but the concept is what makes Pitt's presence a surprise to me. None the less, he carries the movie effectively and never loses the audience. Everyone else are expendable, although I'm impressed to see Mirelle Enos play toe-to-toe with the big dogs (recently with Josh Brolin in Gangster Squad, here with Brad Pitt), proving herself as a force to reckon with.

Our presentation of World War Z was in 3D, which I am normally an avid supporter of. I think 3D is done well more recently than it has been and enjoy seeing different filmmakers try their own twist on it. I don't think I've ever said it before, but here goes: The 3D displayed here is solely on a gimmick and money-based level. It's clear that everything was done post-filming and it comes off with very few benefits. One of the first action sequences is shot in a small, dark stairwell, with the only source of light being a flare being thrown around. 3D naturally makes the screen a good bit darker and this destroys the effectiveness of that whole scene. At no point was I aware of who was having what done to them until an exit door is opened and light is let in. In 2D, I'm sure this scene would come out a lot more intense and stressful. There is one sequence where the 3D is noticeable, and even impressive. In Korea, Gerry and a military unit discuss one of the first recorded zombie attacks in a room full of ash and debris. With the former floating through the air while the men discuss what went down, the 3D allows you to feel like you are in the room with Pitt and company. Sadly, this is a 3 minute sequence out of the 116 minute runtime. The 3D here just isn't worth any price of admission.

Sloppy 3D and a few plot holes can't stop World War Z from being a damn effective thriller that showcases another great performance from Brad Pitt, a massive scope of destruction and some great action sequences that will stick with audiences for a good while. 

Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
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Paul Arca's picture

So excited to see the movie. I'll take your advice though and skip viewing it in 3D. =) Thanks for the heads up!