25 Jun 2013

'World War Z' Review

Director: Marc Forster
Writers: Drew Goddard, Matthew Carnahan
Stars: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz

So as I was saying in my last review (which was Detention of the Dead) zombie movies have really lost their touch and impact and have almost completely fallen off the radar, because there is simply nothing more to do with them, and because anytime they do make one it goes straight to DVD and is mostly shit. Well World War Z tells us there is still a chance yet folks, and that the sub-genre isn't as dead as the flesh-eaters within them; and to be honest, after wasting my time watching Detention of the Dead, it couldn't have arrived in a better time.

United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself. World War Z is doing for zombie flicks what Scream did for slashers, and what critics are saying You're Next is doing for home-invasion thrillers.

The Good: World War Z at times has everything I have ever wanted in a zombie film which most others actually failed to achieve, being an extremely intense and pulse-pounding experience that is nothing short of sheer epic entertainment. Never before have zombie chase scenes been edge-of-the-seat material, and that sort of feeling is hard to establish in this sub-genre especially. The zombie chase scenes are spectacular, visually and as an experience overall, I genuinely don't think I have ever found a zombie film as intense as this, and although the zombies look more I Am Legend and less 28 Days Later, they still manage to generate scares from frequent pop-up moments. As far as zombie hordes go, this group has to be the most effective and quite frankly, the best. The fast-pace action should suit well with modern zombie fans as it did with me, and as for the Romero respecters, they should avoid this as it will do nothing but remind them of what the zombie genre used to be, and let's face it, sub-genres grow and develop for better and for worse, and in this case, for the better. Unlucky Romero fans, Future - 1 Past - 0.

As unlikely candidate for a zombie lead, Brad Pitt proved to be an impressive and strong involvement for the film, and proved that he can in fact tackle any genre without breaking a sweat. His strong performance enhanced the emotional impact on the film, and his relationship with his family creates a depth to the fast-paced, action-packed zombie pile-up that many can appreciate, and although there isn't as much family involvement, its basically about the lengths a father will go to to keep his family alive, even if it means practically travelling the world, almost getting eaten alive numerous times, trying to find a cure. It's that simple...not. Along with all the heart-racing action, there is a deep and involving story here that really makes you think "What if...", and if a story can involve you like that, then it's good enough for me.

The Bad: Along with every great movie experience comes its frequent flaws, and although World War Z is filled to the brim with fast-paced excitement, it also forms itself a little formula, that at times feels more like passing through different levels of a game, rather than a logical film experience. Feeling like you're watching a game unravel before your very eyes may not be a completely bad thing, but who ever enjoyed watching someone else play the game instead of you, seriously? Exactly. Another thing that bugged me was the frequent dumb character decisions, I mean there were a few moments were I really thought the characters were asking to die, and without giving anything too important away, let's just say that if you know that noise attracts the zombies, then why oh why would you shoot a gun, knowing it's going to attract all nearby zombies? Please, if I knew better, I would think you wanted to die.

My last problem is the zombie presentation, and why they decided to animate most of the zombie action. I understand that they had to in a lot of instances but why animate a single zombie diving in for a quick bite on the arm? It's pointless, and it would have been much more authentic if they just slapped a bit of make-up on a few extras; and never forget that the last time animated zombies hit our screens it didn't exactly go down well (*cough cough I Am Legend). Well, it could have been worse. 

VERDICT: World War Z may contain frequent dumb character decisions and feel a bit like a game and less like a film, but there is no denying that this is an energetic, heart-racing, intense zombie experience that doesn't fall short on scares or originality. Perhaps the best zombie film in years.

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