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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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In a summer of disappointment, World War Z delivers.

  • Jun 24, 2013
Rating:
+5
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 Z on the other hand delivered exactly what I’ve always wanted from a zombie movie. Typically there are two types of zombie films. There’s the Romero formula where a handful of survivors barricade themselves in a bunker of some kind (be it a house, a mall, an underground facility, etc) and attempt to wait out the storm, or the 28 Day Later/The Walking Dead story set a month or so after the war is already lost as the hero’s fight to survive in the post-apocalyptic world. People like to complain that zombie movies have been played out but if you really think about it when it comes to bigger budgeted zombie movies almost every single one has followed one of these two formulas. As much as I love zombie movies, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see a big, epic, war of the zombies. That NEVER happens.  I cannot think of one example of a decently budgeted zombie movie where we get to see the infection spread in real time and the world’s government’s attempts to fight it.
 
As a fellow fan of the books, both World War Z and the equally fun Zombie Survival Guide, I understand the skepticism of many fans towards this movie.  No, it’s not a faithful adaption. Yes, the only similarities are the title, the character names, and a few situations.  I get it. We fans are the hardest people in the world to please, and there’s nothing we like less than an unfaithful adaption of a book we love. If that’s going to be your hang up, I understand, and this is not the movie for you. However, if you are willing to overlook this fact, and watch this as its own standalone movie, then what awaits you is easily the best movie of the summer and one of the best zombie movies of all time. Besides Romero’s original trilogy, no other zombie film I’ve seen can touch World War Z. It is the most epic, most intense, most nerve racking and scariest zombie film I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen them all. No, it’s not nearly as smart as the original Dawn of the Dead or Day of the Dead, and isn’t quite as scary as Night of the Living Dead, but the shear scope of this film overshadows, at times,  even Romero’s best efforts. I was legitimately scared by this film. That hasn’t happened since I saw Night of the Living Dead for the first time. Zombies DON’T scare me. They just don’t. But World War Z managed to do just that.
 
















The movie waste no time putting us right in the middle of the action. Apart from the opening or the PS3 game The Last of Us I don’t think I’ve ever been as impressed with an opening to a movie like this. Twenty minutes into it Philadelphia is a blasted ruin, New Jersey is in chaos, the President is dead, and the military forced to fight the plague from the safety of their Atlantic fleet. From there on we get to witness Brad Pitt as he zips around the world from Pennsylvania, to South Korea, to Israel in an attempt to find the origins, and hopefully a cure, for the plague. Everywhere he goes the pace of the film is kept fast, tense, and in your face. Sure its gets kind of predictable as time goes by; Pitt goes to location A, zombies attack, he escapes, goes to location B, zombies attack, he escapes, etc, etc, etc. This would have really been better as a miniseries as it feels sort of episodic in nature and tries to cram a lot of locations and scenarios into its two hour run time, but frankly I felt they did this really well. Though the locations may change the tone and pacing are very consistent for the first three fourths of the movie, and Pitt being the great actor he is holds the film together even as his adventure spans the globe. It never felt choppy or disjointed, or like this was supposed to be a much longer story that was crammed into one shorter film. It all flowed surprisingly well and the fast pace kept my attention better than any action blockbuster this year. The formula is broken at the end when the film changes from non-stop action to slow, scary, suspense, but again though, I thought they did this remarkably well.
 
I want to also give major kudos to those who made the decision to make the zombies the way they are. Besides Return of the Living Dead, this film has the most unstoppable zombies of any zombie film ever. Sometimes a bite takes ten seconds to turn someone, sometimes it takes a day. This allows for the outbreak to be extremely fast as we see in the opening but also allows for infected individuals to go undetected for long periods of time, only to turn when inside a safe zone. This, combined with the fact that only head shots bring them down and that they are able to climb over walls like a swarm of ants (not to mention they have magical jumping skills) makes these easily the scariest zombies ever put to film. Let’s face it, making zombies a realistic threat to humanities survival isn’t easy, but this movie makes the scenario frighteningly real. The speed with which the infection spreads and the ferocity of the zombies themselves makes for some very intense sequences.



 















As for negatives, this movie does push the boundary on what we as an audience can be expected to believe. I can accept that zombies are impervious to pain, don’t ever get tired, can climb on top of each other, etc. What I don’t buy is when they fall off a huge freaking wall and don’t break every bone in their bodies. It also gets really ridiculous the things Brad Pitt survives. He survives more potently fatal situations then Superman, and comes away with barely a scratch.  It’s a little silly that way, but what action movie isn’t?
 
So if you are a fan of zombie movies, or just want a really fun action adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat for two hours, I can’t recommend World War Z enough. If you’ve been dying to see an epic globe spanning zombie film like I have, there is no way you can miss this.

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June 25, 2013
I was very conflicted with this film. This had some elements that I liked (especially about the zombies) but what really ruined it for me was that it struggled to deliver on the dramatic scenes and the characters were pretty basic. I also felt that the writing was disjointed, and that I feel was the film's biggest flaw. As with you, I liked the zombies here, and the way they seemed to be smarter. I am with you, seems like this is a disappointing summer, and the only worthwhile film for me was MAN OF STEEL. Nice review.
June 25, 2013
Can't argue about characters, they didn't get the attention they should have. But to be honest, if I wanted a character driven zombie story I'd go back and watch Day of the Dead. This film met my long time desire to see a war movie about zombies, something that to my mind has never happened before, and so I was just gitty with satisfaction walking out of the theater.
June 25, 2013
that's good. Sometimes that is all that matters, we need to enjoy what we watch. I guess my expectations for this movie was high.
 
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More World War Z (2013 film) reviews
review by . June 22, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Short on Suspense, Gore and Pay-Off....Simply A Zombie Action Summer Blockbuster
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.      …
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...                         …
About the reviewer
Jonathan J.D. Lane ()
Ranked #119
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more
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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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