A zombie flick going heavy on the action and lightly touching with the horror elements of the zombie genre. This film is faced paced swiftly moving from location to location, plot point to plot point with intense scenes filled with multitudes of zombies at every corner. Without Going fully Tarantino on us the film has some graphic scenes on violence and can get pretty bloody, a common feature in any zombie oriented film of course, and as I mentioned it does lean into horror elements at times when people need to hide from the undead and this can lead to some of the film's higher tension moments. The effects on the zombies really do manage to make them scary allowing for the dips into horror due to the zombie's being very detailed and intimidating. With all of this World War Z tries to conjure up what would happen in the event of a zombie apocalypse in grim detail and realism.
This next part is liable to sound pretty dumb however allow me to explain: the main problem with this zombie film is that it is about zombies. What I mean isn't that it would be better without zombies however the media is so extensively over saturated with zombies that shooting up the undead just doesn't cut it anymore. If you consider things that fall into (or at least near) the zombie genre the ones that stand out above the rest for being unique and interesting are those that do not focus on the zombies themselves but instead people, for example the classic "28 days later" or parodies like "Shaun of the Dead" or even in other media, "the last of us" is essentially in the zombie genre however dives into much more complex subjects then World War Z.
Overall this film is not bad, it is a very standard and unoriginal zombie film that you may want to watch just for some high quality zombie killing action however don't expect anything more from it. Honestly if you are a fan of the zombie theme check out "28 days later" or even "Stake Land" (with zombie-like vampires) for much more interesting uses of the undead in film.
The world is coming to an end, “zombies” are taking over the Earth and only retired U.N. Investigator Gerry Lane can save the day. He is reluctant to help at first but after his friend and former colleague Thierry (Fana Mokoena; Hotel Rwanda) gets his wife Karin and their two daughters to the safety of a naval ship off the Atlantic coast of the United States, he reluctantly agrees to investigate possible links in South Korea, where the word “zombie” was first referred to in a message from a military base.
Can Gerry find a solution and save mankind from the millions of undead terrorising the world's major cities?
Gerry Lane – Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly; Fight Club; Se7en)
Karin Lane - Mireille Enos (Gangster Squad; TV's The Killing and Big Love)
WHO Doctors – Peter Capaldi (In the Loop; Dangerous Liaisons; Bean) & Pierfrancesco Favino (Angels & Demons; Night at the Museum; The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian)
Directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace; Monster's Ball; Finding Neverland)
Written by Matthew Michael Carnahan (Lions for Lambs), Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods), Damon Lindelof (Star Trek Into Darkness) & J. Michael Straczynski (Thor)
Based on the novel “World War Z” by Max Brooks.
''Ratings and Reception''
Currently World War Z sits at 7.0 / 10 on IMDb from 371,632 users, which agrees with my rating. BTW I always rate first before adding my score to IMDb...
Rotten Tomatoes are a little less generous than me with a rating of 68%.
The UK rating is a 15 which is actually quite tame, I preferred when horror was an 18 so you didn't get a screening full of talkative kids disrupting your enjoyment of the film.
''What Did I Think of the Film?''
I was working at the City Chambers just off George Square when the Philadelphia scenes were being filmed, and it was a nightmare to get into from one day to the next, as I had to take a different route to work every day due to the filming. As such I've been waiting almost a year to see what took up so much of my day for around a month! I was rather disappointed that all the time spent filming in the city amounted to about three minutes of footage in the end, the producers certainly got their money's worth out of Glasgow...
I had heard all the talk about problems with scripts and re-shoots, so was expecting this to just be thrown together at the last minute but Marc Forster has managed to keep it together well; possibly as he keeps all the different scenes in the film separate from one another. You'll see in my main cast list that I've referred to the WHO doctors, and they are not even in it until about an hour into the film, this is because the key players, other than Brad Pitt, are nowhere to be seen for a long period of time. Mireille Enos, who plays Pitt's wife Karin, and their two children Constance (Sterling Jerins; TV's Deception) and Rachel (debutante Abigail Hargrove) are really only in the film to give Pitt's character a memory to cling to as he tries to save the world. This was quite a hard role to give someone on their debut as without any real back story the girls and their mother have to try and create characters that you care whether Gerry ever gets to see them again; I felt that all three managed this well, and allowed you to want them to stay safe despite barely knowing a thing about them. The doctor's at the World Health Organisation are definitely the stars of the show, however. Especially Glasgow's own Peter Capaldi, I've never seen a guy play a role so like Jeremy Irons in all my life. I honestly thought I was seeing things, it was like watching the unknown third Mantle brother in action. *Watch Dead Ringers if you don't know what I mean!* Wonderful!
One character who plays an important role in the film is IDF soldier 'Segen' (played by Israeli TV actress Daniella Kertesz), she is yet another one who doesn't get involved until well into the story. Kertesz gives Pitt a well needed female character to play off, to help him portray a man fighting to get back to his wife and kids; a great job in her first film and has led to her getting a part in British horror AfterDeath.
I have to give Pitt a lot of credit here, I've always had time for him as an actor after Se7en, Fight Club and Inglourious Basterds, but wasn't sure how well he could manage this role. In short, he vastly exceeded my expectations and makes me look forward to 12 Years a Slave when it is released in January! He even surpassed his role in Happy Feet 2 as Will the Krill, now that takes some doing!
Whilst I was disappointed in the lack of screen time that our fair city was given due to the nature of the story, I really enjoyed the use of different locations around the UK, Malta and Hungary to represent Israel, South Korea and the United States. The use of David Morse (TV's St. Elsewhere) as an ex-CIA operative held in an abandoned jail was marvelous, his little speech to Gerry really set the wheels in motion for the film, and his explanation of how North Korea had handled the problem was very clever, and something you could imagine Kim Jung-un thinking about should this pandemic ever occur!
Go and see this film to get a bit of a change from the regular zombie films, I wouldn't call it a zombie film if it weren't referred to in the title though. If you like films about pandemics, like 28 Days Later, Black Death or Outbreak, then you'll enjoy the events unfolding in World War Z.
Don’t bother if you're only going to see people getting munched on by zombies, this isn't that sort of film. It's about the effects of a pandemic on the world and how society changes in a heartbeat to adapt to the situation. There isn't anything I would even call a 'cheap scare' thrown in there, the film is totally about the story and doesn't rely on gore whatsoever.
7/10 – this took me by surprise, there is very little horror experience amongst the director, writers or cast so I thought I'd be getting a stale hotchpotch of horror cliches as the more mainstream writers fumbled in the dark; instead I found a witty, clever drama and thriller set amidst the background of an apocalyptic event. A nice surprise, and made me not regret the extremely high Friday afternoon price that I paid to see it.
I'm not entirely sure why the director and production company see a trilogy from this, given the amount of problems that besieged the film and how far over budget it eventually went, you'd think they'd be happy to accept a decent return on their $200 million investment and call it quits!
You can buy this on Amazon for £3 on DVD or £5 on BluRay, a reasonable price for a fairly decent film and to fund Scottish film it is probably worth the purchase!
**This review can also be found under my real name at TVandFilmReview.com**