Movie Review: World War Z [2013]

World War Z [2013]

World War Z [2013]
Director: Marc Forster
Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard and Damon Lindelof (screenplay), Matthew Michael Carnahan & J. Michael Straczynski (screen story), Max Brooks (novel)
Genre: Action/Drama/Horror
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale
Running Time: 116 minutes

World War Z seemed to be doomed from the start. With production delays, a burgeoning budget and multiple script rewrites, Marc Forster’s film struggled to get off the ground. In fact, it took a good 5+ years of development before the final product came together. Surprisingly, even with these miscues, the film isn’t half bad, though it does fall into some familiar traps.

Brad Pitt stars as Gerry Lane, a former UN employee who, after the zombie outbreak hits, is called upon by The Powers That Be to help investigate the source of the virus. Forced to leave his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and two daughters behind, Gerry embarks on the desperate journey that takes him all over the world in order to (hopefully) save mankind.

World War Z [2013]

World War Z crams a lot into its two hour running time, as Gerry and company travel to South Korea, Israel and Wales. With so much globe-trotting, the film never really finds its footing, instead opting to use these jaunts as action set pieces with increasingly unrealistic outcomes. Some characters are seemingly invincible, surviving disasters that would swiftly kill “real” people. Many in the film also act like complete tools (i.e. forgetting to shut off a cell phone while sneaking past a group of zombies), and they are often getting into cheap predicaments meant to rivet the suspense.

Outside of Brad Pitt’s Gerry, none of the characters receive any real development, and they are merely there to fill the screen. Pitt deserves a lot of credit, however, as he is more than capable of shouldering the load. His portrayal of the near-perfect hero works well, and he helps keep the film entertaining even during its slower moments.

World War Z [2013]

World War Z is rated PG-13, and this raises some issues. I don’t have a problem with a film getting this rating, but WWZ so desperately wants to show the usual zombie gore and violence that it seems frustrated in not being able to do so. Zombies are shot in the head, impaled and otherwise brutally massacred, but all of this happens off screen. We know it happens, but the frequent cuts away from the action are distracting.

Now, that’s not to say World War Z is a bad film. In fact, it is quite entertaining, and it moves along at a very crisp pace. It’s just that it is also a remarkably generic zombie movie, one that has been done better in the past. In short, it’s pretty much what I expected from a summer blockbuster of this nature, for better or for worse.


21 thoughts on “Movie Review: World War Z [2013]

  1. Paul Bowler says:

    I have heard mixed reviews about World War Z, which did put me off going to see it initially. I did go to see it eventually and it was a lot better than I expected it to be. Its not a perfect Zombie film, its very generic, but it still had a few exciting moments.

  2. Fogs' Movie Reviews says:

    LOL. I sometimes play a game called “Guess the score” before I click through to read your posts. I nailed this one on the head. 😀

    Too bad I don’t get any prizes or anything. 😦

    This movie was pretty lackluster, I’ve already forgotten most of it.

  3. Morgan R. Lewis says:

    Been seeing a lot of middling reviews for this, which really didn’t surprise me much.

    I’m starting to think the shine has worn off on the zombie genre once again; that maybe it’s time for Hollywood to step back for a while. What do you think?

    • Eric @ The Warning Sign says:

      Yeah, I completely agree. I’m all “zombied out” in all forms of media. There are just so many zombie films, books, games, etc. that it takes something truly special to stand out anymore. Sadly, World War Z does not do that.

  4. The Heretic says:

    Good review.

    Like the book version, I will probably skip this. Would rather watch Pacific Rim if I am going to spend the money to see. That is just my preference.

    BTW. Got to see the Evil Dead remake. To me it was MEH! It was like they took parts of the two movies, but left out what made it “Evil Dead”. Could’ve done with a different name rather than being called Evil Dead.

    • Eric @ The Warning Sign says:

      Thanks. I’ve heard the film deviates quite a bit from the book, and not for the better.

      Bummer to hear that you didn’t like Evil Dead. Having that name attached to the film is a bit of a burden, but I think it works well on its own. I can definitely understand why a lot of people didn’t care for it though.

      • The Heretic says:

        I think if it would’ve been called something like “Possession to Kill Hipsters” I would have been more positive about it.

  5. matthewretman says:

    Pretty interesting review, but it seems like your evaluation follows through with the majority of opinions that I’ve received on this film. I’ll probably have to pass this one up since it doesn’t have any gems in its plot, because honestly–a typical action-packed zombie movie isn’t anything that I need to view in my spare time. Other than Brad Pitt, would I be making a mistake?

    • Eric @ The Warning Sign says:

      Hi, thanks for the comment! Honestly, you’re not missing much by skipping this. The film doesn’t bring anything new to the table, and there is little in the way of a strong plot or character development. It’s a solid action ride, but that’s about it.

  6. sanclementejedi says:

    I was bummed that the zombie cat I saw in that promo poster floating around the interwebs was not in the film. For all its flaws this was a fairly entertaining thriller. It just was not much of a zombie film.

  7. The Blog of Big Ideas says:

    When you have a film go through several rewrites and multiple edits, it’s bound to be fraught with problems. It’s kind of impressive that it has been getting decent enough reviews, as it definitely feels like it could have turned out a lot worse. I’m still a little surprised Pitt decided to do this, since he hasn’t since Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and these types of films seemed to be behind him. I think he’s one of those actors that has improved with age and experience. He’s a lot more capable and layered than he was at the beginning of his career. Too bad I can’t say the same about Angelina Jolie, whose best work came mostly in her first few years of notoriety.

    • Eric @ The Warning Sign says:

      I agree that Pitt has only gotten better with age. I honestly had no expectations for this film either, but it’s mostly through his sheer will that this is entertaining at all. It’s hardly anything groundbreaking — in fact, it’s mostly forgettable — but it’s still a serviceable summer thriller.

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