World War Z: A Strong Reminder Of How Great 28 Days Later Is [Movie Review] Jun21

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World War Z: A Strong Reminder Of How Great 28 Days Later Is [Movie Review]


I haven’t read Max Brooks’ novel but I assume it had something the cinematic version doesn’t; an ending. Oh and a story. It probably has one of those too.

The film adaptation, starring Brad Pitt and directed by Marc Forster has neither. What it does have is a few well constructed sequences of a mayhem, one or two nifty effects shots and a whole lot of unfocused meandering.

If that’s enough to satiate your entertainment appetite then World War Z could be your movie. If you’re interested in character depth or competent plotting then I suggest you watch 28 Days Later again and save the price of admission.


The movie starts out well enough. We’re given maybe five minutes before the excrement finds its way to the fan in the form of a zombie attack on Philadelphia.

I kind of appreciated that.

In fact, the first half an hour effectively grabs your attention. Part of that is the charismatic screen presences of Pitt and Mireille Enos of television’s The Killing fame. The two make a compelling duo for the little time they’re given.

Pitt plays a former United Nations special agent who’s left his position to be a stay-at-home-dad. This information is adeptly given while fighting off an onslaught of computer generated undead warriors. Even though everything in World War Z is familiar to the point of exhaustion, the set-up is so expertly handled we don’t care.

The problem is, by the middle we realize it’s taken so much time with zombie attacks, most of which are massive computer generated swarms of bodies, that there simply isn’t enough time to connect any complicated dots or develop a story with interesting twists.


Zombie attack. Plot information. Zombie attack. Plot information. Rinse. Wash. Repeat. With the exception of an Israeli soldier, the secondary characters are introduced, give Pitt the necessary exposition to move him to another location and then die.

There is virtually no character momentum at all.

Even the massive displays of zombie carnage get tiresome after a while. The infected fodder never actually look real. They don’t feel like they occupy the same space as the flesh and blood actors. In the beginning, we’re willing to forgive them (much like the awful CG in the first Spider movie), but as the movie progresses they become animated annoyances. Ants circling a discarded crumb.

David Morse is introduced in Korea as a former CIA something-er-rather. He gives Pitt a piece of information and then disappears – for good. He’s not part of a conspiracy. He doesn’t tie into the initial infection outbreak. He’s just toothless and bitter and in the mood to data dump some back story. How nice of him.

I refuse to believe that Max Brooks spent no time on these details. World War Z‘s story makes Night of the Living Dead look complex. I understand the production was troubled and boy does it show on screen. Everyone involved is better than this.

And then there’s the ending. Wow. Nothing pays off. Nothing you expect or want to come back around does. The final five minutes of World War Z is one of the all time great forfeits in film history.

If you thought the last act of I Am Legend was bad, and it is, then wait until you get a load of World War Z. There isn’t a third act. The movie wraps things up at the end of the second act and calls it a night.

The real problem here is the lack of a villain that isn’t the zombies themselves. That certainly can work, and there are many examples where it does, but World War Z wants to be a global event with a localized terror but doesn’t know how.

28 Days Later effectively turned human nature into the ultimate figurehead of evil, World War Z is more interested in showing computer generated masses than delving deeper into its story. It’s a shame too because there was real promise here.

Batman Scale Of Film Excellence: Batman 66.