World War Z

I understood going in to see this movie that this adaptation would be taking a departure from Max Brooks’ highly respected zombie novel, so I tried to leave that disappointment at home and simply appreciate the movie for what it had to offer. Will just chalk that up to a wasted opportunity.

(SPOILER ALERT FROM HERE ON) That being said, World War Z was better than expected and I was optimistic at the opening scene as Brad Pitt and family are stuck in city traffic when all hell breaks loose around them. Since I’m not a big fan of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) monsters, and the trailers were full of them, I was waiting to be disappointed by the excessive use of it in this movie that would’ve made the cinematic experience less scary. And let’s face it, CGI has just become the modern day “claymation” in a way. Once you see an artificially generated monster on screen, they all become almost cartoon-like and it steals from the horror, in my opinion. However, I was impressed by the smart use of CGI in this film, especially in the traffic jam sequence, because you couldn’t tell where the zombies were coming from as they blended in from behind the panicked civilians. Very creepy. They also did a good job of using CGI to capture the massive scale of the outbreak on the ground with some amazing shots from above.

There were several other instances of well executed action-filled sequences that I believe would satisfy anyone looking to just be scared shitless by fast moving zombies out to devour our beloved characters on the run. And to accomplish all this with a PG-13 rating and no blood just shows that a zombie movie need not rely on endless shots of gore to still be scary and entertaining. World War Z accomplishes this, for the most part.

Unfortunately, this movie was a lot of big-budget special effects surrounding a mediocre script that had me wondering if our beloved main character, played by Brad Pitt, could do no wrong. On numerous occasions, Pitt’s character seemed to defy the impossible and was either blessed by the hand of God or was just the luckiest man alive in this movie, because when everyone else was dying around him (including a SEAL team assigned to protect him at one point) Mr. Pitt just could not die. If it had been just one instance, I could have let it go, but his miraculous escapes came off as a little insulting to my intelligence and far-fetched (yes, even for a zombie movie).

First, there’s the cut-scene escape in a borrowed RV from the downtown traffic jam when it appears there is no way he could have got that big vehicle around all that city chaos. Suddenly, the scene switches to Brad and family on an open road heading away from the city. How the hell did they manage that?

Second, the fortuitous escape on a commercial airliner from the city of Jerusalem when the city is overrun, followed by Brad’s incredible survival on the same airplane as it crashes after surviving the on-board explosion of a hand grenade the cuts the plane in half, causing the crash. Add the fact, that the only other survivor of the plane crash, except a zombie or two, just happens to be the young female soldier that he was traveling with, then you’ve cause to throw out the bullshit flag. I wonder what the odds of surviving all that are?

Third, near the end of the movie Mr. Pitt injects himself with an unknown virus selected at random from a box of biological hazards in an attempt to “camouflage” himself from a zombie. Since he has no idea what virus to look for, he not only selects one that doesn’t kill him, but it also happens to be the very virus that disguises himself from the zombies (heavy sigh).

In a nutshell, World War Z is loaded with entertaining action which I believe serves to distract from a very disappointing story line loaded with head-shaking, what-the-fuck-was-that moments.

Is is worth seeing? Sure (now that it’s on DVD). Worth remembering? Not really. I’ve seen much better zombie films that did a lot more with a lot less money. World War Z is just one of those movies that proves that you can have the huge budget but without a strong script, all you have is a fancy firework display type zombie film that just doesn’t leave an impression after it’s over.



Looking for another zombie film to watch? Check out my running list of zombie films, titled: “Zombie Films That Just Won’t Die!”

So what did you all think of World War Z? Is it worth making a sequel?

Comments? I love to read them

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