Gerry Lane (Bradd Pitt) was a nice dad man who used to have a super important job at the United Nations. Gerry Lane liked making a breakfast of waffles for his wife and two daughters every day because he’s a nice man. One day a zombie virus broke out and Gerry Lane was told to go and save the world or his family would be left for the zombies, so Gerry Lane decided to visit all the countries in the world and save humanity.
Kid-friendly, bloodless and politically diluted, World War Z is about to hit screens after its lengthy and highly publicized “troubled” production. Rewrites, reshoots, the director of Quantum of Solace and Brad Pitt with silly long hair; it’s understandable that people were apprehensive of the movie. As far as disaster films go though, World War Z is pretty solid.
You read correctly: disaster, not zombie. Sure, the primary antagonist is neither an asteroid nor global warming, but the sheer scale of zombie apocalypsing is insane and very disaster movie-like. The waves of the walking dead ravenously piling over one and other, brutally destroying all in their path is not unlike the tsunamis wiping out NYC in The Day After Tomorrow – it’s just there’s a little more chomping. As we follow Gerry on his worldwide travelogue of the zombie outbreak we bear witness to some truly epic and intense set-piece action that definitely makes up for the film’s blaring flaws elsewhere.
Whilst the third act rewrites have drawn much attention and spawned many tweets that feature their posters wanting to teabag Damon Lindelof it is the first two thirds of the film where most of the problems lie. Early in the film a doctor from Casualty states that “movement is life,” a sentiment director Marc Forster takes a little too much to heart as the film initially rushes from one scene to another with characters mumbling incoherent exposition as quickly and quietly as they can. If I was cool I’d quip something along the lines of this style being as dead but animated as the film’s zombies.
On his speedy country-crawl Gerry also has a nasty habit of leaving everyone behind (mostly because they die – oh, inconsiderate zombies) which means that, aside from a badass Israeli soldier or his family – who are all but dropped from the narrative within 30 minutes – we have no one to root for other than Gerry, who tiresomely dodges death more times than South Park’s Kenny McCormick. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a bit of Brad Pitt but even Roland Emmerich’s films have more to offer in the way of interesting and sympathetic characters.
Because I don’t want to continue writing many paragraphs where I shame the film when it’s actually very enjoyable I will put my remaining negative thoughts in a bullet point list:
- Why do the lights in all corridors suddenly flicker after the outbreak? Because zombies are eating people now everyone’s light bulbs suddenly decide to balls-up?
- There’s a Matthew Fox cameo that only lasts for 3 frames.
- There are 6 different times where the film unnecessarily makes you jump.
- Seriously, it doesn’t add anything to the film; it just makes you wee yourself a bit and look like a moron.
- Bryan Cranston is nowhere to be seen.
- Silly, pointless jumpy stuff *grumble grumble grumble*
- Gerry Lane’s daughter has asthma. This adds nothing to anything other than that she is a stereotype and I don’t like her.
- The film plays itself so straight that when you laugh at something that’s actually pretty funny you feel dirty and awkward.
- The 3D is sub-par.
- Brad Pitt doesn’t look good with that long hair.
It seems that not many people are hugely excited for World War Z but you should be… kind of. The plot is tedious, the score is dramatic and the action is spectacular; what more could people want in a summertime zombie horde film? It’s a totally enjoyable dumb piece of action cinema. Way better than that Danny Boyle schlock.
World War Z is released in sub-par 3D and cool 2D nationwide on June 21st.