PG Cooper: World War Z Review

Posted: June 23, 2013 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

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At the beginning of the year, if I were asked to rank the summer films from most anticipated to least, World War Z would definitely have fallen into the bottom half. Why such little interest. Well, quite a few reasons. For one, there’s zombie shit everywhere these days and the genres starting to get stale. The trailer featured some horrible CG and in general just looked generic. In the director’s chair is Marc Forster who’s only experience with blockbusters was Quantum of Solace, a film he handled quite clumsily. And as the icing on the cake, the film was allegedly plagued with behind-the-scenes difficulties in many different ways. Still, World War Z was met with some solid reviews and there was interest among my friends so I ended up seeing it anyway.

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is a former U.N. employee who left his position in order to spend more time with his family. However one morning Gerry finds his city under siege from a group of zombies who begin spreading an infection throughout the population. Gerry and his family attempt to escape the city, but soon learn the outbreak is affecting the whole world. It isn’t long before Gerry is called upon by former U.N. colleagues to attempt to discover and control the outbreak, setting Gerry on an adventure spanning the globe.

The first thing that struck me about World War Z was the immediacy of the film. We spend maybe five minutes with Gerry and his family before the outbreak begins. The film establishes everything it needs to about the main character before he’s thrown into a brutal situation. This gives the film a sense of urgency and Forster is also smart enough to break up the moments of action with quieter scenes. I admired and liked this approach a lot, but I also feel it something of a determent to the film. Even though the film is only two hours, it does begin to run out of steam in the third act. Still, I give the film credit for investing me early on.

While I found Marc Forster’s style was intrusive in Quantum of Solace, it works quite well here. The frantic shaky cam works because it lends to the hysteria and disarray the characters have found themselves in. Forster also crafts some solid set-pieces in the forms of a few chases, a shoot-out, and a tense cat-and-mouse game in the third act. Some of these scenes are hurt by some not-so-great CG, but for the most part the scenes work. Outside of the CG, the production values are pretty solid. The make-up effects are solid, but more importantly the various locations all feel real and do give the film an epic feel. I also really dug the score.

Ultimately, where the film fumbles most is with its script. There isn’t much personality to the characters and the dialogue is pretty blunt. I also feel that while the film does have a few moderately clever twists on zombies, this is for the most part more of the same. The ending also feels anticlimactic and while it does open the doors for sequels in a fairly interesting way, it still feels like a letdown.

Overall, World War Z is a much better film than I ever would have expected. Granted, I still don’t think it’s a very good film, but there is a lot more good here than expected. Most importantly, there are a number of fun set pieces and there what really made the film. However, the script doesn’t really bring much new to the table. If you love zombie movies, you’ll likely find some enjoyment out of this. However the lack of character or original ideas makes this hard to recommend to anyone else. As someone who does enjoy zombie films (for the most part), I will say I had a decent time with World War Z.

C+

Comments
  1. I agree PG, this movie was better than I expected, but still not that great. The script is definitely the issue. :(

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