World War Z (Review)

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WORLD WAR Z

Marc Forster, director of (Stranger Than Fiction, Monster’s Ball) released one of the most anticipated films of the year. “World War Z” stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a UN employee who is sent in search of a cure for an infection that has turned much of the world’s population into zombies. Mireille Enos (Gangster Squad) plays “Karin” Gerry’s wife. We are also introduced to Daniella Kertesz who plays “Segen”. I believe this is her first feature film. There are a few appearances from other familiar faces like James Badge Dale (The Pacific mini-series) and David Morse (Green Mile, Disturbia).

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The opening scene of the film gives us an introduction to The Lane family, although it’s really a nothing scene that doesn’t give any insight into their family dynamic. It’s less than 10 minutes in and we get the most action packed and frantic scene of the film. Stuck in traffic on the streets of New York, there is a zombie outbreak. Some of the chasing and escape scenes in this part were pretty impressive. As was the makeup of the zombies who were in the early stages of decaying. The Lane family holds up in an apartment complex with another family. Gerry contacts the UN, I think? or it may have just been a contact he knew from the UN. For some reason the guy is already on a navy ship? Any who, It turns out Gerry has experience in dealing with government threats and high pressure situations. They (not really sure who?) choose him to lead the charge to find a cure for the infection that is spreading at a rapid pace.

Right from the beginning of the film there is little to no connection or background of the family. The crucial element was always going to be on Pitt’s character because he is the main focal point but we get so very few details about his life. He is apparently some sort of expert but it’s never explained how or why? What was his actual job? Did he work for the UN? Was he a researcher? Nothing was ever clarified some flashbacks would have helped. The dialogue in the film is all very bland and doesn’t progress the story at all. Nothing of any importance is ever said. There is no emotional connection to anyone in the film. Ideas are borrowed or directly stolen from other films. The line at the end about “The War goes on and we continue to fight” or something to that extent, is a blatant rip-off of Terminator. The science aspect was pretty embarrassing too. You would think the UN would send teams of researchers to different countries, in the hopes of finding a cure wouldn’t you? Instead we get Gerry and one other young scientist who is babbling algorithms for most of his scenes. Seriously? and of course the young scientist (who knows every detail) gets killed and this leaves Gerry to carry out the entire operation? (Yeah that’s realistic). The one guy who knows what’s going on would be guarded like Fort Knox! come on…

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I quiet enjoyed the scene at the military complex. It actually contained some decent acting and tension in the action sequences. James Badge Dale was impressive in his small role and actually gave us some insight into the situation. After Gerry survives the attack on the complex and another catastrophe (via aeroplane), he then all of a sudden, without warning is at a medical and research facility. He never makes it evident through any dialogue with Segen or the UN that he has a plan. How does he know where the centre is? Does he just stumble across it by good fortune? We don’t know the answers to any of these questions.

I could see Gerry injecting himself with some sort of antidote in the hopes of finding the cure (or of course killing himself). Frankly I think the story would have been less predictable and more enjoyable if he actually died… but of course he doesn’t. I think every character at some point in this film takes the dumbest possible action to attempt to achieve something.

The acting from everyone was passable, honestly they probably did all they could with how the characters were written. Daniella was probably the standout Segen was the only non cliché character and had more than just one dimension to her. Brad was okay, the biggest issue was the lack of development of Gerry. The suspense in the opening apartment scene fell flat on its face. We get lots of rapid camera work, too much fluorescent lighting and heavy sound effects. If something jumped out at you, you wouldn’t have even known it.

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I liked the big walls that are built to keep the zombies out. Even though it was entirely CGI generated this sequence looked great. It was ruined pretty quickly though because everyone in the film is told that noise attracts the zombies. So what do the people on the inside of the big walls do? Play music and sirens go off and they sing and dance and talk on a megaphone?? Seriously… this is really bad. If your going to write this in the script go the whole nine yards. Have someone fire a bazooka or something! It’s so illogical and dumb you can’t possibly take it seriously. Don’t even get me started on the lack of blood and gore effects in the film. First of all Zombies don’t bleed black. They don’t even kill many people throughout the film, they just spend a lot of time making constipated noises and running around. Honestly some of it felt comedic to me, I know that wasn’t the intention but I’m sure I wasn’t the only person thinking that.

There were some things to like about the film I thought some of the action wasn’t bad, the performances were all that they could be and the score was decent too. The biggest issues are all in the script, the pacing and the action sequences (or lack of). This is a perfect example of how to ruin Zombie films by making them “Hollywood” and family friendly. This should have been a PG release. It was marketed as a horror/sci-fi film when really, it’s just a family fun film with virtually no blood and gore. Hollywood needs to leave zombie films to the independent film market because they actually know how to make a successful one. This was 170 million dollars of disappointment.

My rating for “World War Z” is 5/10

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