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World War Z Review: Anticlimactic Zombie Fare

WWZ review
WWZ review

World War Z, directed by Marc Forster, is the latest film to tackle the zombie apocalypse craze that has swept over the galaxy. It’s loosely based on Max Brooks’ 2006 World War Z novel, and stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, who is a former UN specialist with a knack for dealing with chaotic situations.

The entire plot focuses on Lane and his family as they each deal with the extinction event that is threatening all of humanity. The movie wastes no time introducing the undead, and within 5-minutes the action begins and all hell breaks loose. This may sound like the ideal opening, but it left me wanting to know more about the Lane’s and the zombie virus outbreak.

There’s zero character development in the opening, so from the start the film never really gives you a reason to give a damn about Gerry Lane and his family, or anyone else in the film for that matter. It’s as if someone flicked a switch that resulted in the world’s population being infected and turning into ravenous flesh eating rage monsters, and the Lanes just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time, which results in them getting mixed up in the recovery effort.

Meet the Lanes, just don't expect to learn much about them
Meet the Lanes, just don’t expect to learn much about them

The reason Pitt and his movie family get involved in the fight against the undead is because he’s a former UN investigator, and they need him to track down patient zero to find a cure for the virus causing humans to die and be reanimated. This fact gets conveniently explained in a 2 second conversation Lane has with one of his forgettable children, and that’s the extent of his supposedly illustrious back story. With that knowledge in hand the audience is left to buy into the fact that a former UN official is the only hope for saving the entire world against an unknown biological threat. It felt like too much of a stretch with the lack of character development that went into Gerry Lane, which only added to the anticlimactic feel of this movie.

Everything about Lane’s quest felt predictable, and not once did it ever feel like he was in actual peril. Zombie films of any nature should have you on the edge of your seat at all times while waiting for the next scare, or stressful scene to take place, but WWZ never even managed to get me to flinch. There were no money shots per se. Not a single scene stood out as being especially scary or nerve wracking. In fact, any of the harrowing action scenes have all been included in the trailers for the film, so don’t expect to see any additional unseen action footage if you’ve watched any of the official previews.

STAGE DIVE!
STAGE DIVE!

Sometimes a lack of character development, or even a solid narrative can be overlooked in movies like WWZ if it features high-octane action, and brutally gory violence. World War Z sports the former, but its shaky cam effect makes nearly every single high-velocity scene seem like a blender full of zombie and human parts on the highest speed setting. None of the actual frenetic chase scenes, or escapes, can truly be experienced without losing track of the action due to the wonky cinematography, and the fact that the zombies move at break neck speeds in massive hordes of undead flesh that resemble flowing water. At times the swarming horde looks more like an ocean of poo colored hot dogs than a pack of blood thirsty zombies that are meant to instill fear in the viewer.

What’s even worse is that there’s hardly any gore in World War Z, which seems ludicrous when you consider the genre of the film. There’s more graphic violence in an episode of The Walking Dead than the entirety of WWZ’s 2 hour run time, which is a by-product of its PG-13 rating. Here’s another adult property stripped of its teeth due to the fact that someone in a suit decided that their studio could make X-amount of more dollars if it weren’t rated R. Boo to that.

Perfect visual summary of how WWZ's action scenes make you feel
Perfect visual summary of how WWZ’s action scenes make you feel

Zombie movies should make the viewer feel uncomfortable due to the demonic savagery taking place, and never once does WWZ showcase this. A zombie bite in this film is more akin to a love bite than the flesh tearing action that takes place in AMC’s zombie drama, so its gore quotient is minimal at best.

In the end the one highlight of WWZ is Mr. Pitt, but that’s probably not enough to warrant a big screen viewing. Like Cruise, he can still carry an average film and make it watchable, but his latest project isn’t must-see fare. The lack of any true character development and back story leaves WWZ feeling predictable and anticlimactic, and its shaky-cam action scenes turn the zombie apocalypse into an incoherent mess for your eyes to decipher. It’s not an awful film by any means, but it also doesn’t even come close to standing up to the other summer blockbusters of 2013.

If you’ve been waiting for an amazing experience at the movies this summer go for Man of Steel and leave World War Z for a future home movie rental, or purchase.

World War Z TRAILER 2 (2013) – Brad Pitt Movie HD

[schema type=”review” name=”World War Z | Review Summary” description=”The Awesome: Brad Pitt can still carry a film, Concept | The Not so Awesome: Lack of character development, Shaky-cam action scenes, Predictable” rev_name=”World War Z” rev_body=”If you’ve been waiting for an amazing experience at the movies this summer go for Man of Steel and leave World War Z for a future home movie rental or purchase. It’s OK, but the lack of character development and predictable nature of the narrative will leave you feeling empty.” author=”Matt Heywood” pubdate=”2013-07-08″ user_review=”7″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”10″ ]

*The author paid for his own ticket and watched the 2D version of the film

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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.