World War Z

First it was vampires being overexposed in films and now it’s the turn of zombies. Still I was excited when I heard Max Brooks’ novel World War Z was coming to the big screen, as well as confused as how they would be able to distill this multi-narrative book that spans across the whole world. Will Brad Pitt’s star power be a help or a hinderance?

Former UN negotiator Gerry (Brad Pitt) finds himself and his family unexpectedly in the middle of a zombie outbreak. Due to his former job they are rescued and taken to a U.S Navy vessel. But Gerry’s rescue comes at a price. The US want him to help find a cure in return for his families protection. Soon Gerry’s mission takes him to South Korea, Jerusalem and Wales  in order to help save the world and fight the zombie plague.

Anyone who has seen the trailers for World War Z would know that this isn’t a faithful adaptation of Max Brooks’ novel. Instead of having a worldwide perspective of the plague with different voices showing how each country is dealing with the outbreak we have Brad Pitt saving the world. One of the interesting aspects of the book was seeing how each country dealt with the outbreak and what extreme measures they would go to in order to help save their people-and whether they were successful or not. I know it wouldn’t be realistic to make a completely faithful adaptation of Brooks’ novel but I don’t understand why they couldn’t have had multiple protagonists like in Contagion. By reducing us to one protagonist the movie becomes another generic Zombie film.

Besides Gerry, most of the other characters don’t get much development. The most interesting was a female Israeli soldier who joins Gerry for the second part of his trip. Michelle Enos as Gerry’s wife is unfortunately underwritten. I would have also liked to have seen much of Peter Capaldi, who plays a scientist in the film’s climatic scenes.

There are some positives about the film. The acting isn’t terrible. There are some tension-filled scenes when the zombies attack and although I prefer my zombies to walk slowly rather than run, the way these Zombie’s moved was effective.

I was wondering if I would have had a different opinion of the film if I hadn’t read the book. However these doubts were quickly put aside when my mum, who was watching the film with me, said at the end “Brad should be ashamed he made that film.” While I wouldn’t say that this was the worst Brad Pitt film I’d ever seen (that accolade would have to go to the bore-fest that was Legends of the Fall), I won’t be watching the inevitable sequel when that is unleashed on the world.

Rating 2/5 – despite the good source material World War Z fails to live up to expectation

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “World War Z

  1. theipc

    I’ve still never had the desire to pull the trigger on this one,,,,

  2. Good review Lauren. Having read the book, I was disappointed by this. It was still an exciting piece of action, but given how rich and promising the source material was, it can’t help but feel a bit like a waste.

    • I think thats the problem with it. It was just a generic zombie film and didn’t really have much in common with the book. A tv mini series would have been better.

  3. I did enjoy this one and liked the different take on how the zombies moved but it sounds like there was a lot more potential in the book.

  4. You’re so right about how it should have been like Contagion! That would have been the perfect template. Also did you know Peter Capaldi’s character is called ‘WHO Doctor’ in the credits?!

    • Glad you agree about Contagion. No I did not realise Capaldi was credited as WHO Doctor! That is awsome! I wonder if that was intentional or some weird coinidence.

  5. I haven’t read the books but it would be interesting to do a multi narrative point of view as a TV mini-series. I guess to pull off these special effects they needed a big movie budget. For the movie, I think they made a good decision to write it around their star actor / main character. Great review!

    • I think you’re right that its difficult to have multi narratives in a movie-although Contagion did it really well. I think if it wasn’t meant to be adapted from the book then maybe I wouldn’t have been so opposed to it, but having read the book I guess I can’t help but think what could have been.

  6. Cool review Lauren, you’re one of the few people I know through film blogging who actually read the book for this film. I thought the film was alright and better than the way the trailers made out, that being said, it wasn’t as effective as I had hoped. The zombies weren’t that cool or threatening and likeyou I prefer mine to walk, plus eveyone besides Gerry and the female soldier were completely expendable and underutilized.

    • Thanks. The book is really good so I think this film was probably always going to disapoint me. Perhaps if the charcaters were better it might have been more engaging but like you said the supporting cast were barley expendable extras. And yes, walking zombies rule! 🙂

  7. I have nominated you for the Liebster Award.

  8. I really enjoyed the book, this film is a huge let down, they only kept the title and forgot about the rest!
    If you like spoof, this one is priceless:

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