Monday, June 24, 2013

World War Z

Year: 2013
Director: Marc Forster
Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, Fana Mokoena

Plot: When a zombie epidemic turns the world's population into the undead, former UN investigator Gerry Lane is forced to go back to his old job to find the cause.

Review: When one thinks of zombies, Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead comes to mind. If you've seen the trailers to this film, the zombies are running, so they ought to be like the ones in 28 Days Later, right? Thing is, World War Z is nothing like either of these, and certainly not as good.

While The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later perfectly balances a zombie thriller with a social impact commentary, World War Z is just a zombie thriller, period. We get an outbreak, people start dying, others start fleeing, our hero gets working, they get a breakthrough, and the story goes on. There are some cool action set pieces here courtesy of director Marc Forster, which includes a sequence in Israel at the wall between them and Palestine (yep, you heard me) and the opening outbreak sequence, where people in Philadelphia run like heck as the zombies start rampaging. This one looked good because it was chaotic and realistic, even though Forster made many quick cuts which spoiled any attempt to see the zombies up close (but since it's chaotic anyway, one could imagine themselves being right there and feeling what they feel). The best part was a zombie attack onboard an airplane, which is as real as it gets.

But the film needs to be more than just an action thriller. It needs to deliver a meaningful message about how the world would change in circumstances like this, and it doesn't bother to touch on this at all. On top of that, despite the solid action sequences, there's very little real suspense throughout the film. Our protagonist Gerry Lane travels from place to place trying to find answers, and though he gets himself into plenty of dangerous situations, we never get the feeling he's in any real danger. This in turn makes the story rather predictable.

Brad Pitt, whose production company Plan B is involved in bringing this film to life, does all right as Gerry. I do feel that the script didn't really challenge him, he could have done this role in his sleep. The supporting cast are okay, but they don't get that much to do compared to Pitt, though Daniella Kertesz sort of stands out as an Israeli soldier who accompanies him.

I hear that a trilogy of films were planned for World War Z, and the best parts of the story have yet to come. If so, I hope they buck up, because there's plenty of potential here, and this instalment kinda wasted it. As of now, it's just a decent thriller and not more. (3/5)

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