World War Z

World War Z

Director: Mark Forster

Rating: 3.5/5

World War Z is the sophisticated man’s zombie film, the fine malt whiskey to the rest of the genre’s pre-mixed orange and vodkas. Based on the 2006 Max Brooks novel of same name, production companies have been scrambling for the film rights ever since the book was published, with Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment the eventual winner.

Unlike many apocalyptic films, the plot isn’t focused on the characters protecting themselves in a dangerous wasteland while the government gets their shit together – the film is about the government getting their shit together. Our hero, Gerry Lane (a still badass and banging Brad Pitt), is a former UN war-zone worker who travels the world trying to discover how it all started and how it can be ended – all while rocking the perfect I’m-a-cool-surfy-guy-but-also-a-responsible-dad hairstyle.

There’s a lot of cool stuff going on here. For one, it’s reasonably realistic – a lot of things go tits up for Gerry and there are some lovely down-to-earth moments showing the reality of a zombie apocalypse (a particular favourite involves Gerry, fearing he’s contaminated, leaning over a tall building, ready to jump if he starts to turn). Although there’s nothing too original about the zombies themselves (apart from that they’re Olympic-quality runners, which causes problems), they’re suitably disgusting, and have a tendency to crawl onto each other to form massive smelly formations that (1) look AMAZING, and (2) make you soil yourself.

However, I did find the family plotline underdeveloped, to the point where Gerry’s wife and children waiting for him in safety became simply annoying. If you’re going to chuck in the “I’m doing this for my kids” motive, make the kids likeable. And it has to be said that the film’s ending is just a little bit too convenient. However, because Gerry has had such a rough deal throughout the film it’s almost (ALMOST) acceptable. Generally, this is a high class film whether or not you’re into zombies, but be warned: it bears very little resemblance to the original novel, so only watch it if you’re emotionally prepared to treat it like a separate entity.
This article first appeared in Issue 14, 2013.
Posted 6:05pm Sunday 7th July 2013 by Rosie Howells.