Actors: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox
Synopsis: Brad Pitt stars in "race against time" zombie thrillride that is loosely based on the highly regarded novel by Max Brooks.
Those who are familiar with the story of World War Z, written by Max Brooks, know that it serves as a recollection of the entire war against the zombie apocalypse starting with “patient zero” all the way until its near conclusion some 17 years after the initial outbreak, told through a series of interviews. It’s been herald as one of the greatest zombie stories and praised (and criticized) for the bravery in it’s social commentary (most notably showing a glaring weakness in the US). So when it was announced that a film was going to be made about it, the general horror audience cheered. The excitement grew when it was confirmed that it was going to be big budget and have megastar Brad Pitt taking the lead role.
Well let’s start by getting all that out of your head, aside from the budget and Pitt. With the exception of the title, Pitt’s character being a UN employee, and the existence of zombies there is very little else that has connections to the source material. So much so that it’s not really fair to call it World War Z, unless all the wanted to do was secure the title. However, with that being said that doesn’t mean the film is bad by any means. Instead of the recollection, this film takes the “race against time” route and follows Pitt as he travels the world looking for clues and possibly the cure for the zombie infection. There are other dilemmas in place as well but in the interest of not spoiling the whole story, I’ll let you find them out on your own.
Before the film was released there were some setbacks and the requirement of reshoots for certain scenes. It not only pushed the film back but those keeping score at home, were starting to get worried about the final product. Anytime there is a delay or reshoots, that doesn’t bode well for what we’re going to be delivered come “game day”. Then when the trailer came out and the noticeable use of CGI zombies, the collective groan could be heard across the entire internet. Our magic 8-balls were all saying “Outlook: Not So Good”. I’m here to report that after seeing the final product, those concerns shouldn’t exist in you anymore. I can’t tell where the reshoots would have happened but they must have been an improvement because I couldn’t see any lingering issues with any particular scene or and the CGI zombies aren’t nearly as bad as they come off in the trailer. The trailers scenes are out of context and are normally the result of the camera panning away from ground zero to show the total carnage in play. While it’s obvious that they are computer generated, they aerial shots are done with in good taste and make sense in context of the film. It’s not the ideal situation but with what they were going for, the CG works here.
For a PG-13 horror film this wasn’t bad at all. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a great film and it pales in comparison to the source material but it was definitely entertaining. It was also nice to see the departure from the standard formula of putting different personalities in tight quarters and letting their social differences be the point of the film. However, when comparing to other “infection” films, World War Z does make itself predictable at times but its predictability is part of why this film is a fun 2 hour experience. Hardcore, elitist horror fans will hate it for a magnitude of reasons but in reality this is an easy, conventional action thriller with zombies as the catalyst.