In Review: World War Z

by Vicki Cole on 11/06/2013


When an unknown global pandemic threatens to wipe out humankind, former United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) must leave his family behind in search of the source of the infection, and to ultimately find a cure.

While the debate rages on as to just how much of a departure World War Z is from Max Brooks’ book of the same name, there is no doubt that director Marc Forster presents a bold take on the zombie apocalypse genre. Here, the living dead sweep cities like plagues of insects, resulting in some epic visuals. This, teamed with action set pieces results in a, for the most part, enjoyable, fast paced and tense experience.

Pitt is surrounded by a host of mostly unknown actors, clearly indicating that he is the star of the film. Characters fade by the wayside over the course of two hours and it is Pitt alone who is given any form of character development or any real material to work with, albeit being the safe, conventional ‘hero.’

Director Forster uses locations to excellent effect and teamed with visual effects, a palpable sense of peril is created. This is most notable in the Israel section of the film, in which the zombies swarm to attack a walled city.

Despite such merits, World War Z finds itself bogged down by a lacklustre script, which even an actor of the calibre of Pitt struggles to redeem. Then there is the issue of the cringeworthy, not so subtle nod, to a certain cola brand. Trust me, you’ll know it when you see it.

World War Z’s ultimate flaw was the decision to opt for a more ‘family friendly’ action thriller approach, devoid of any traditional horror and gore. The zombies are never really given a face, they are merely a collective, so we never truly see the brutality of the infection. There is only one occasion when we see a close-up of an infected person, which is ridiculously overplayed.

World War Z had the potential to create a bold and truly epic vision of global collapse, instead, it retreats into the safety of blockbuster thrills.

Vicki has awarded World War Z three Torches of Truth

three torches

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