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World War Z (2013 film)

a zombie film directed by Marc Forster based on the novel of the same name by Max Brooks

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The Dawn of the War Against The Undead

  • Jun 22, 2013
The zombie virus have already attacked the world in an unstoppable force with one wave after the other. Well, not in the manner that one may think. The zombie plague have attacked the annals of pop culture; the virus have attacked humanity in the form of movies, books, comics and graphic novels, TV series and even in the form of Halloween decorations. It seems like the zombie plague had replaced vampires, ghosts, and werewolves as the leading element in the horror genre.

Be that as it may, the zombie genre have already suffered from silly ‘zomedies’ and so I was quite happy when I heard that the novel written by Max Brooks “World War Z” was being adapted to the big screen. I am very weary of the so-called zomedies and watered-down TV series that I wanted something a little more fresh. “World War Z” may not exactly be what I wanted to see...But hey, it is a summer blockbuster meant to entertain.

                   A scene from "World War Z."

The film begins quietly enough as we see former U.N. employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) spending time with his wife Karin (Mirielle Enos) and their two children (Abigail Hargrove and Sterling Jerins) as they are on their way out to the city. Suddenly, hordes upon hordes of zombies put the streets of Philadelphia into mayhem and panic, and Gerry must takes steps to insure his family’s survival. The family is then picked up by U.N. forces sent by Gerry’s former colleague, Thierry (Fana Mokoena) and given refuge at a U.N. ship. Here, Gerry must join the effort in finding a cure for the pandemic so that his family can be made safe.

Honestly, it can easily be said that the film version of “World War Z” lacks a lot of things from the novel and is very different from the source material. Being a PG-13 film released in the summer, I understood that the film was meant to entertain. Due to storytelling purposes and maybe budget constraints, the film does not exactly deliver in all its potentials and becomes a little 'standardized'. The film feels more like a prequel to Danny Boyle‘s “28 Days Later” with all the rabid-fast-moving CGI zombies and if you asked me, I would even say that the film was a little shoddy. It managed to generate moderate suspense, but the characters here felt very basic. It was a little hard to feel for them, let alone become invested in the story. This results in a somewhat lacking experience that the ‘emotions’ in the intended dramatic scenes fails to get a ‘rise’ when needed, and its emotional impact never becomes realized.

                  A scene from "World War Z."

                 Mireille Enos as Karin Lane and Sterling Jerins as Constance Lane in "World War Z."

The screenplay of the film focuses on Gerry Lane, as he goes to different parts of the world to find the answer. There is light social commentary here as the viewer is taken for a ride to see just how the world may deal with such a crisis. I appreciated that it was subtle and not heavy-handed as in the recent films by George Romero. Different concepts were introduced, as the film’s script just breezes on by that it never felt like an almost 2 hour film. I am not sure, but I did feel that this film would’ve benefited if it was longer and paid more attention to certain points. The zombies defined the threat, but they were a little smarter than your usual shambling ones. 'Rage' zombies have always been smarter than the 'classic' zombie but it wasn't fully developed in the script (how and what). The virus presented the problem and certain things were introduced that made this film a little different than your usual zombie flick, and finding the solution then becomes the film’s crucial point.

There were things that I liked in the film. I kind of liked the way the Gerry Lane character was developed with his keen attention to detail and his powers of observation. Brad Pitt was the only one who really sold his role. The supporting characters looked and played their part, but their delivery just did not reach that significant point in its narrative. But what it lacked in depth, the script manages to surpass this as it made the strongest character the central focus. I am sure readers of the book could easily read into what it lacked in characterization, as the film moves fast and gets vital points across without really waiting for things to sink in.

                   David Morse as Ex-CIA Agent and Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane in "World War Z."

                   Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane and Daniella Kertesz as Segen in "World War Z."

The large set pieces were rendered competently, and director Marc Forster did create something that looked like the zombie apocalypse. You could feel the sense of urgency in its premise, as each zombie wave posed a threat to a number of different places. This is an action movie wrapped around elements of a horror movie. I do have mixed feelings about the way certain things were shot, that as ambitious as the shots were, there were times that the action became a little hard to follow. The cinematography and sound effects were effective though in presenting a zombie apocalypse. I saw this in 3D and it looked very flat and unnecessary. I could imagine that it would’ve better in standard 35 mm.

The film had some good points of action and suspense and I liked most of the action set pieces. However, the scenes were merely ‘breezed’ upon that they did not reach their fullest potential. "Moving quick and getting points across without giving time to sink in" may allow the script to get many points across, but it also makes for flat emotions, and this sets up no emotional impact. The weakest point of the film was undoubtedly the climax. The film was taking place in such a large scale, that I felt that the finale had the mark of ‘rewrite’ on it. Compared to the rest of the film, the quality of the ending made the rest of the film appear to be better than it was. The finale was just so derivative and ludicrous. It was almost as if the writing was struggling to wrap things up that it was just so tawdry. It was just so tacky that I wondered just how such a thing was allowed to be included in the film.

                         Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane in "World War Z."

For a PG-13 film, it succeeds as a summer blockbuster. It did feel that it was a little too watered down with the absence of gore and its core narrative felt a little safe, but it made good with its intentions. It was clearly made with the younger viewers in mind, and so the narrative never gets to its fullest potential. I know that it sounds like an excuse for filmmakers not take risks and be lazy, but it is just the way things are often (as with Marvel‘s recent super-hero movies). I really wanted to like this film but the writing and especially the climax presented a problem for me, as I thought it was just a little anti-cilmactic and to put it bluntly, it was empty and soulless. “World War Z” is not creative as a whole, but certain things about it made it enjoyable that it gets a Light Recommendation but a RENTAL would suffice. The aggressive fast-moving zombies here weren’t the focus, but rather just the problem that the search for its solution became its core premise. It barely scratched the surface of its premise meant to be a "World War Z" [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

                      Mireille Enos as Karin Lane, Sterling Jerins as Constance Lane, Abigail Hargrove as Rachel Lane and Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane in "World War Z."

Poster art for "World War Z." Poster art for "World War Z."
Short on Suspense, Gore and Pay-Off....Simply A Zombie Action Summer Blockbuster Short on Suspense, Gore and Pay-Off....Simply A Zombie Action Summer Blockbuster

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July 14, 2013
The trailer kinda killed it for me, I will check it out on DVD.
July 14, 2013
my expectations were high for this one, and so, I was a little disappointed
June 25, 2013
I thought it was great. I've always wanted to see a zombie movie like this, and now I finally get to see it.
June 25, 2013
I hear yah...I am still conflicted on this. There were things I liked about it but I stil think it could've been so much better. I really enjoyed the first hour of the film up to the scenes in Israel. Aside from the characters, the screenplay tried to do so much that it didn't actually hit that 'peak' where it could've been much more thrilling and even more exciting. I guess I expected a lot from this flick, and deep down it could've benefitted if it was made into 2 movies: one movie for the homefront and the U.S. allies and then with Pitt's character going for the solution in the second movie with a lot more stops. But of course they could've made it more closer to the book...

I feel that "it almost did it" and it just scratched the surface unfortunately. I really did not like that ending. But who knows? I am sure I'll see it again as a rental, maybe my feelings will change.
June 23, 2013
Very detailed review on a popular movie to be!
June 23, 2013
thank you, sir.
June 24, 2013
You are very welcome.
More World War Z (2013 film) reviews
review by . June 24, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
The summer of 2013 has not been a good one for movies. Again and again I’ve been treated to mediocre blockbusters from the dreadful Iron Man 3, to the disappointing Star Trek: Into Darkness, and “meh” Man of Steel. When the best movie I’ve seen all summer was the underrated sci fi Tom Cruise movie, Oblivion (which wasn’t all that great either) you know it’s a bad summer for movies. Nothing even came close to wowing me.       World War …
review by . June 20, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
By Joan Alperin Schwartz   Nothing scares me more than zombies and that's why I can't get enough of them. I've seen every George Romero film as well as '28 Days Later' many, many times. Plus I own the first two seasons of 'The Walking Dead'.   Needless to say, I was really looking forward to 'World War Z' and I'm happy to report, I was not disappointed...                         …
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Cast: Brad Pitt
Director: Marc Forster
Genre: Action
Release Date: June 21, 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Studio: Skydance Productions,, GK Films,
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