Oh, Hollywood. You saw the zombie apocalypse coming didn't you? Not a literal apocalypse of course, just 16 dozen different zombie books, graphic novels, games and TV shows taking over the world like the plague, and you just had to have your piece of the pie, didn't you?
World War Z is based on the 2006 novel by Max Brooks. The novel garnered some quite positive reviews, praised for its international and political scope. It also caught the eye of producer and star Brad Pitt, who after a long struggle with studios, directors, producers and other Hollywood zombies, managed to put together a half decent movie with director Marc Forster.
Half decent? Well, WWZ certainly isn't a bad movie. You've got the long-time Oscar-deserving Pitt playing Gerry Lane, a likable, good-looking family man who retired as a UN investigator to spend more time around his wife and daughters. This is all about to change obviously, because after the now seemingly mandatory news-footage-montage introduction, Gerry is called back by the UN in exchange for his family's safety on their big boat.
It sounds good enough, but the problem is that WWZ's political/international context is nowhere to be found so we're left pretty much to 28 Days Later with blockbuster pretentiousness. Sure, Gerry travels around the world and makes a few long distance phone calls, but there's never anything remotely compelling enough to warrant his travels and whenever the plot does manage to come close to something it quickly sets it aside in the interest of keeping this summer blockbuster light, family friendly and internationally marketable.
After Quantum of Solace there was much uncertainty about Forster's ability to direct action and after WWZ, guess what? There still is. Granted, it's never boring, but when the other elements that should've made the film aren't there it should be more than "never boring". Paramount's marketing certainly didn't help; if you've seen the trailers then you've seen the whole plot and LITERALLY every single action set piece, in chronological order too. You know when you see a trailer and think "they put all the good parts in"? Well, this time they put the whole movie in. The more hardcore genre fans might also want to look elsewhere if they're seeking gory zombie kills; there isn't much of that either as its PG-13 rating might suggest.
Brad Pitt is really the film's only strength. Much like Tom Cruise, Brad's got enough talent to singlehandedly pull you through a not-so-great movie without you hating him for it. And at almost age 50 you can't really blame him for wanting to star in his own big blockbuster franchise for the first time in his career when he could've played any superhero he wanted years ago. "Franchise" of course, if permitted by the audience, because this is one movie that desperately wants to have sequels.
World War Z
Action / Adventure
World War Z
Action / Adventure
Life for former United Nations investigator Gerry Lane and his family seems content. Suddenly, the world is plagued by a mysterious infection turning whole human populations into rampaging mindless zombies. After barely escaping the chaos, Lane is persuaded to go on a mission to investigate this disease. What follows is a perilous trek around the world where Lane must brave horrific dangers and long odds to find answers before human civilization falls.
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September 3, 2013 at 10:32 am