World War Z

Released: 2013

Directed by Marc Forster

It’s been interesting to see the critical response to World War Z from the Horror community over the past two years. Some complain that it does Max Brooks’ book a disservice, but, to be fair, the film is a rather loose adaptation of the book that shares more with the World War Z brand than it does with the story. In that sense, such complaints are not warranted.

More importantly, this film is cited as a boring and unimaginative zombie flick. This is all wrong! It would be like saying Die Hard is an international crime film or that House of the Dead was concerned with cinematography. Sure, these elements are there, but they aren’t what defines the film. Die Hard is about a down-on-his-luck, badass New York cop, House of the Dead was a complete nonsensical shitfest, and World War Z spends its time wishing its protagonist was as captivating as John McClane. World War Z not a so-called zombie flick; it’s an action/adventure film with zombies. The zombies can be substituted with pretty much any worldly beast (werewolves, mutant spiders, etc.) and the film will have the same effect. This cannot be said for more legitimate ‘zombie flicks’ like Night of the Living Dead though. </rant>

As an action film, it is slightly above mediocre. The visuals are excellent and well executed, usually not over-the-top. I am particularly fond of the bits in Korea and Jerusalem. The supporting cast, i.e., anyone other than Brad Pitt, is believable and well played. Elyes Gabel’s portrayal of a naive, yet brilliant, young doctor/scientist is a short-lived standout performance.

The major hangup is Brad Pitt’s character. I’ve not seen Se7en in a few years, but I can tell you much more about Detective Mills than I can about this generic ex-UN Investigator, having watched World War Z just two weeks ago. The character is simply not memorable and I suspect that’s because the audience doesn’t have too much of an emotional connection to him. The familiarity of Brad Pitt is central to keeping this film afloat, since the audience at least has the his face to go on. If this one didn’t star a well established actor, then it would have crashed soon after taking off.

Rating: 5/10

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