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Thursday, 27 June 2013

World War Z: Pitt v/s Zombies

Director: Marc Forster
Screenplay: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof
Story: Matthew Michael Carnahan, J. Michael Straczynski (based on "World War Z" by Max Brooks)
Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox
Running Time: 116 minutes
Music: Marco Beltrami

World War Z is a whole lotta fun, with a good mix of thrills and action. It's a Brad Pitt driven zombie flick which is essentially on hyper-drive mode throughout most of it's running time. The film endured it's fair share of production hassles, including a couple of script re-writes and addition shoots. It's based on a book of the same name but apparently shares very little other than the name itself (I haven't read the book, so will not comment on it's likeness). World War Z is certainly not without it's flaws, but the positive seems to outweigh the negative, making this a solid entry into the post-apocalyptic as well as zombie film genres.

Z-z-z-zombies !

World War Z is the story of Gerry Lane (Pitt), a retired United Nations employee living with his wife and two kids in Philadelphia, who has to travel the world to try to find out the origin and possible cure for a zombie-like pandemic which has spread across the world. What instantly strikes you about the movie is its pace, wasting no time to dive right into the action. There are some stunning scenes in a traffic laden Philly suburb which kick things off with a bang.

Zombies re-enacting scenes from Holi

The high octane intro results in (conveniently) less time dedicated to background stories or explanations. As a positive consequence, there is no muddled scientific jargon, and leaves the audience with as much information as the movie characters. However, there is also hardly any character depth or development, and you would be forgiven if you didn't really care about them much. However, Forster smartly sidesteps these complications with the break-neck and gripping speed of the film.

Now this is a PG-13 film. Yes, a PG-13 Zombie horror film. Which means there is hardly any blood/gore in World War Z. This was obviously done with a view to make up the hefty $190 million budget, but it tends to diminish the overall zombie effect. While it is admirable that the movie did provide it's fair share of thrills and chills without too much blood and gore, it wouldn't have been out of place.

I can haz blood?

You can generally go two ways with zombies, either they are the slow walking, dumbasses, or the fast-moving killing machines and Forster successfully chooses the later. The zombies are pretty damn scary and relentless. They know they are already dead, and put their bodies on the line to get that next bite. Most of the movie's strongest scenes involve them and that is a big positive in World War Z. 

The acting (Brad Pitt) is pretty top notch. I've been a pretty big Brad Pitt fan, and he tends to diversify his roles and never really fails to deliver (even if the film sometime does); and this trend continues. Pitt as Gerry Lane delivers an assured performance, whether it is as a consoling father, or in a Mission Impossible-esque stealth mode. The rest of the cast have relatively smaller roles and feature unknown faces. Daniella Kertesz does a solid job as a Israeli soldier Segen.

Yep, its cool for guys to say he's hot and not have their sexuality questioned

The film cannot help itself on occasion and falls into the action movie cliche category, with the "one-man-against-the-world" feel. Situations conveniently arise and sufficient lucky breaks help our hero in his quest. Ironically, in one scene, a researcher reminds Lane he's not the only one with a family in this ongoing tragedy, but the film tends to treat him like he is. The ending is pretty smart, but feels a bit underwhelming as opposed to the beginning. (with lots of indications of possible sequel)

Thats right, they climbed an inverted truck and hijacked a chopper

Overall, World War Z is an enjoyable watch. It packs enough punch for an action flick, and has enough spooks for a thriller. While it does seem light on the drama, the sci-fi aspect or the "believability" of the story line, the film embraces its limitations and does well on the back of a solid Brad Pitt.


Cool Quotes:

  1. Gerry Lane: If you can fight, fight. Be prepared for anything. Our war has just begun.
  2. Andrew Fassbach: Mother Nature is a serial killer. She wants to get caught, she leaves bread crumbs, she leaves clues... Mother nature knows how to disguise her weakness as strength.


  1. Good review. The book is a good read and it doesn't focus on one character as such. It's less about the zombies and more about how governments and people respond to the pandemic.

  2. ^Thanks!
    Ah, that sounds interesting, ill try getting my hands on it if I can.