When a deadly virus spreads across the globe turning its hosts into flesh-eating zombies, it’s up to Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt – Fight Club) to seek answers. Given a task force to aid him in the fight against the virus, begins a journey that takes him around the world, tracing the origins of the virus and seeking a cure before its too late for mankind.
There has been a lot of talk about how World War Z (that’s Zee not Zed) was plagued with shooting and script problems that threatened to derail the entire project. Usually this kind of turmoil translates to a poor movie-going experience but World War Z manages to still come out as a success. Only a few films have managed this before (The Wolfman being a good example) so it’s nice to see that despite its troubles, World War Z still packs a punch.
Damon Lindelof and co. came onboard to salvage what they could mid-way through production of the movie. As a result, World War Z feels like two distinctly different films in terms of tone but somehow it all gels together well to form a very satisfying story that travels the world and feels genuinely global.
The first part of the film has a more ‘Hollywood’ vibe with big spectacle being the order of the day. It starts with very impressive set-pieces that establish all of the characters well. The unfolding epidemic at hand is given its due scale and horror and the chaos of a civilised society crumbling before our very eyes feels real and unsettling in a good way.
The ‘infected’ people, or zombies if you will, change style slightly throughout the film, perhaps due to reshoots and a diminishing budget, but it’s no less impactful. At the start, the zombies look like the infected in I Am Legend and move around a little too cartoony. The CGI is heavy here but it allows for some breathtaking spectacle, especially when the city is overrun (showcasing just how quickly the virus spreads). Another highlight is the big set-piece in Israel and features some frightening moments that leave you at the edge of your seat. This first ‘chapter’ of the film culminates in an aeroplane action sequence that’s excellently played out.
Then comes the second ‘chapter’ of this film and with it a more localised and budget-friendly setting. Taking place in Cardiff, it concentrates its efforts in face to face confrontation. But rather than show its flaws, the second part of World War Z actually reaffirms the films quality. The laboratory setting brings this back to an old school zombie setting that anyone familiar with the Resident Evil games will appreciate.
Here, we delve more into the make-up side of things with actual actors playing zombies as opposed to thousands of CGI generated walking dead. This is good, classic horror fare that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. Pitt really does well here to to sell the severity of the situation and is given good support from the like of Peter Capaldi and Pierfrancesco Favino.
Speaking of Brad Pitt, he really is excellent in World War Z. Playing his character with genuine emotion, common sense and believability, Pitt makes World War Z a big success. We are with him at every step of this journey and it’s nice to see him lead a big blockbuster once again.
His family dynamic is handled well with Mireille Enos giving a good performance (even if it’s a little far-fetched to buy that she is married to Brad Pitt). James Badge Dale shows up to steal his scenes yet again, this time as a soldier who’s trying to hold down a research outpost. Daniella Kertesz seriously impresses as a female soldier who accompanies Gerry to seek a cure too. Her chemistry with Brad Pitt is also well handled.
World War Z proves the haters wrong and comes in as a very entertaining slice of blockbuster-fun. With suspense, action and horror all dutifully covered, it’s one of this summers must-see movies. It does set up a few avenues that could have done with more exploration but ultimately, World War Z is deserving of your time and money.