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World War Z Review: An Enjoyable Zombie Outbreak

by on March 3, 2014
 

World War Z is a zombie apocalyptic story loosely based off the book by the same name. I have not read the book, so this review is coming from someone who hasn’t read the original source material.  As someone who has seen it all when it comes to zombies, World War Z is yet another zombie flick that you’ve probably seen a hundred times before. The movie does set itself apart to a degree, though. The globe-trotting adventure is fun to watch, but unfortunately, the film indeed suffers from its drawbacks. With CGI that could have benefited from improvement, and a few characters you don’t really care about, I believed the movie had some good elements, but suffers a bit in terms of execution.

Premise/Direction

Zombies are persistent in World War Z. Not even buses can keep them back!

The movie stars a former U.N. employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt). Prior to the outbreak, you see Gerry play an everyday dad — making breakfast for his two daughters, and essentially enjoying the life he’s living. After this quaint introduction, the outbreak starts. His family soon ends up stuck in traffic for an unknown reason, only to later discover that the city is in chaos with people violently attacking bystanders. That’s when the movie really starts. Called back into action, his goal is to find a cure and put an end to this apparent zombie pandemic. Gerry and his family are soon transported via helicopter onto a giant navy vessel. If Gerry doesn’t help find a cure, he and his family will get thrown off the vessel and will have to fend for themselves. Reluctantly, Gerry agrees and chaos follows him.

Writing

 

Though World War Z’s writing does its job, it’s not super imaginative by any means. It’s a zombie outbreak movie, and it does what it has to do at times. It plays it safe to a degree, but you still care about Gerry and the people that travel alongside him as you see him globe-trotting to familiar regions such as Israel and South Korea. I’m a fan of any movie that contains globetrotting, so naturally, I was intrigued throughout the film and enjoyed seeing different location, cultures, and landmarks. If a zombie outbreak ever did become a reality, this movie illustrates how everyone will react, and do. There’s looting going on, and people are attacking other people.

While not super deep in character development, World War Z’s writing was reminiscent of The Walking Dead if it had more action. The best part about this is its pacing. I never felt bored, or wanted to look at my watch. Though you have the character introductory in the beginning, about ten minutes after that things get exciting and there’s quickly chaos in the streets. I didn’t, however, really care for the scenes that take place in South Korea. Nothing really happened there and the movie didn’t really provide the protagonist and incentive for being there. Because Gerry’s time was pretty much wasted, viewers time altogether felt wasted as well, even if the plot twist near the end made the movie far more satisfying than otherwise.

Acting

 

The Lane family in the midst of a zombie invasion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Brad Pitt’s established himself as a great actor and can make the worst movies more tolerable. That thankfully doesn’t change in World War Z. He makes a good protagonist in Gerry that you care about, and you want to see him survive this entire thing. Apart from him, though, there aren’t that many notable supporting characters. Fortunately, they all do play their parts well and nothing really felt forced when they delivered their lines. World War Z may deliver the action, but it doesn’t really deliver in terms of characters, especially when it comes to Gerry’s own family. Brad Pitt’s relationship with his wife is unfortunately nothing to care about and while she’s there in the beginning of the movie, she’s ultimately cut off during the rest. There’s no growth within their relationship and I wanted to see more scenes of how his wife was holding up without him, and how she’s dealing with the claustrophobia of being confined to a navy vessel. But that never happens, and she ends up being very forgettable.

Cinematography/Score

An aerial shot depicting zombie chaos over Jerusalem, Israel.

The CGI is frequently used throughout the film, yet I can’t help but wish there were fewer CGI zombies and more “real” zombies. All of the zombies in The Walking Dead look cool, and each one looks original. In World War Z, you have so many hundreds of them running around on screen that, in essence, they’re all quite generic. In a zombie movie, you want the zombies to look a little different, but that doesn’t happen here. Nevertheless, the zombies are quite antagonistic. Their noises are vicious, and when you have hundreds of them running full sprint towards you, things get crazy.

The best part of the film definitely takes place in Jerusalem. Its scenes were well shot and intense, and the plot starts to escalate once Gerry arrives. The sight of zombies frantically climbing on top of each other to reach the top of Jerusalem’s wall was impressive and well presented, but like other scenes before it, it’s disappointing that some of these scenes were already been shown within the trailer. If you want to watch this movie, and haven’t seen the trailer yet, I’d advise you to refrain from doing so. The score doesn’t lend itself to helping the movie in any way either. I can’t even remember the soundtrack entirely and it hardly left a lasting impression on me, nor did it improve the film much at all.

 

Conclusion

In the end, World War Z is a good zombie apocalypse movie. If you’re expecting deep character development, you’re going to be disappointed, but the action is frantic and exciting. The actors/actresses do a really good job playing their characters. The CGI could have been improved – as the zombies look generic and similar. Fortunately, the zombies make up for it in numbers and being antagonistic. I watched the film once, but I think one time is enough for me and don’t see myself purchasing it by any means. If you’re like me and love zombie flicks, you will find enjoyment within World War Z. Though it’s not as memorable as 1978′s Dawn of the Dead, nothing really is.

Details
 
Plot SynopsisA zombie outbreak has spread globally. It is up to Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) to find a cure before this thing takes out the entire population.
Release DateJune 21, 2013
Running Time116 minutes
Positives
Very well paced, Brad Pitt performed well in his role.
Negatives
The CGI could have been improved, and there could have been more variety in terms of zombies. The writing could have been improved, too.
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Bottom Line
 
If you like zombie films, you'll definitely find enjoyment in World War Z. Don't expect much of a story, however. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't follow the source material, so if you're a fan of the book, you'll be disappointed with the film.

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