Saturday, June 22, 2013

REVIEW: ‘World War Z’ decent zombie movie – but book is better

As a zombie movie, ‘World War Z’ succeeds where a lot of other movies have failed.

It’s a big budget extravaganza that has great special effects – and a truly breathtaking 3D monster scene – that manages to entertain a fickle audience.

Let’s face it, zombies are all the rage right now – so coming up with something new is hard.

‘World War Z’ isn’t exactly new – but it is solid.

Brad Pitt does a decent turn as Gerry Lane, serving as the purported heart of the movie. Lane is a normal man with a “secret” past that must do extraordinary things to see that the human race survives. This role is right up Pitt’s ally – even though he doesn’t do anything particularly spectacular with it.

Mireille Enos actually is the strongest actor in the bunch for this film – and she’s the actual heart of the film for me. She's not on the screen enough, though.

As a Matthew Fox fan, though, I was severely disappointed in his lack of screen time. I'm guessing
he had a lot more to do in the original ending -- which was scrapped.

Anyone that knows the history of ‘World War Z’ knows that the flick was plagued with production problems. It was supposed to come out last year – but the ending didn’t work – so new writers were brought on to “fix” the problem and a lot of reshoots were filmed.

Historically, when that happens, a movie tends to bomb at the box office and creatively.

If you weren’t aware of the production problems, you probably wouldn’t notice the decided shift about two-thirds of the way through the film. Even though I noticed it, it did not ruin the film for me.
The film was ruined for me, though.

I am a huge fan of the book. When I heard they were going to turn it into a film, I had doubts that it was possible. Essentially, the literary ‘World War Z’ is a series of vignettes that look back at the history of the zombie war.

It’s also got a heavy message about sacrifice and the human race – and exactly who is expendable.

The film version of ‘World War Z’ ignores pretty much all of that – and it’s the worse for it.

If ‘World War Z’ were just a zombie flick, I probably would have enjoyed it a great deal. Since it’s based on a book I love, though, it’s kind of a failure.

My other complaint about the film is that it is rated PG-13. As a horror movie freak, one of the
reasons I love zombie movies is because of the gore. Because of the rating, true gore hounds (like myself) aren’t really going to be satisfied.

In the end, ‘World War Z’ is one of the better zombie flicks I’ve seen in recent years. It’s nowhere near as good – or weighty – as the book, though.

What do you think? Did ‘World War Z’ delight, or disappoint?


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