by Ken B.
When story after story piped out of Hollywood about the troubled big budget adaptation of the zombie novel by Max Brooks (son of Mel), critics and fans nervously wondered what kind of a calamity the final project might be.
And then it came out. It was actually pretty good, they said.
I agree. Marc Forster’s World War Z is a fast moving and exciting film, using up each of its 116 minutes for increasingly absurd but certainly not uninteresting entertainment. It follows a sudden and global outbreak of rabies-triggered zombie-itis. Cities fall in hours as those bitten turn almost instantly. Gerry (Brad Pitt) and his family experience this first hand, navigating through the Philadelphia as the epidemic tears through the streets.
Gerry’s a former UN employee who recently quit in the interest of becoming a stay at home dad. He uses his former connections to get his family on a warship, filled with military personnel. He’s then informed that he needs to be of some use if he’s going to be here – find Patient Zero of the disease, and therefore a gateway for the cure. So he does, bouncing around the world for answers whilst witnessing the collapse of the world, all whilst trying to keep contact with his wife (Mirielle Enos).
It’s all very engaging, as big action set pieces occur in settings from a huge wall in Jerusalem in which Gerry recruits a local soldier only known as Segen (Daniella Kertesz), to the hallways of a W.H.O. clinic in Wales, where Peter Capaldi plays a doctor. (Yes, Peter Capaldi plays a doctor for W.H.O. If that was intentional, what a wonderful idea.)
However, for all of its interesting moments and style, this movie isn’t perfect. The biggest complaint at hand with World War Z is how sloppily the conclusion is plotted. Apparently there was another one scripted, but this was scrapped for the current one, which is riddled with far-fetched events and in a generally unsatisfying manner. It’s understandable to be suspicious for a claim of “far-fetched events” being a negative aspect in a summer blockbuster about zombies, but suffice it to say that the matters in question are not a) disclosable without spoiling the end of the film and b) not related to the science of the undead. Another issue is a constantly shaking camera, especially at the start. This was most likely done for two reasons: Add “tension” and keep the violence obscured for a PG-13, in order to make more money. I dislike both justifications for doing so, mainly because of my dislike for the shaky cam in the first place.
World War Z still reigns triumphant as a fully fleshed and eerie thriller. Cinematography and logical sins notwithstanding, this is a solid evening’s entertainment, perhaps even carrying a steady rewatchability factor as disposable but competent fun. This is a recommendable and more or less engaging event, a cut above the average blockbuster.