Josh and Violet give their spoiler-free movie reviews of the zombie thriller, World War Z, directed by Marc Foster, and starring Brad Pitt. Josh gives his review from the perspective of a male who has NOT read the book, and Violet gives her review from the perspective of a female who HAS read the book. See what they each had to say about the movie after the jump!
To preface this movie review of World War Z, I am not familiar with the book, so I cannot make specific comparisons there. From what I understand, it is basically a completely different story. Violet will be able to provide a review comparing both the book and the film however.
The zombie craze seems to have picked up in the last few years in all sorts of different mediums. We have had graphic novels, books (one World War Z is supposedly based on), and a TV show The Walking Dead. Most zombie movies we have had seem to be over the top and gruesome (with many of them coming from well known horror director George Romero). Now we have this film, World War Z, which looks to take a more serious tone than all of the “Of the Dead” movies. The film was directed by Marc Forster (Quantum Solace), and stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane. Interesting fact about the movie is that Matthew Fox is in it, but due to the changes to the movie, most of his parts are scrapped from the movie with the exemption of a brief scene as a “parajumper”.
World War Z‘s movie story begins with the protagonist Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) with his family, and they are catching news stories of some events that seem catastrophic, but not mentioning any sort of zombie outbreak. Through connections that Gerry Lane has, they learn that they must evacuate the city. As they are leaving, and trying to deal with the massive traffic of others attempting to leave as well, we begin to see the outbreak unfold, the movie does a good job of eluding to the zombies, with showing them for a while, in effect showing us how this would be in a realistic scenario, where people would not quite be able to figure out what is going on. As Gerry tries to figure out what the situation is, chaos ensues, forcing Gerry and his family to figure out a way out of the city.
Eventually, the family makes it to relative safety, and through a dramatic scene pushing to the top of an apartment building’s roof top, they escape onto a military helicopter. They are flown over the Atlantic Ocean, and land onto some Navy carriers. Then, the reason for the helicopter evacuation becomes apparent–the military needs Gerry’s investigative skills to uncover the origins of the outbreak, thereby hopefully discovering a cure.
This forces Gerry to leave his family behind, as he pursues the small leads they have, which winds up having him travel to numerous countries. All the while, his family has been left on this ship, and we learn that “non-essential personnel” will be removed from the boat–making Gerry their only hope of staying aboard.
Overall I was happy with this movie. With the bad buzz this movie had regarding going way over budget and having to re-film a majority of the film, I went into it with little hope. I was not too familiar with the director Marc Forster either, so I was not sure how the film would go. Brad Pitt and all the actors for the family did really well, and the action scenes were done really well, leaving me on the edge of my seat much of the movie. There were times however, when the CGI was a little bothersome, especially when hordes of zombies were climbing over each other. These often looked more “video game-esce” to me.
I would have to say I have two complaints for this movie. The first one being the short amount of time that the movie takes place. It feels like just a few weeks at most, and to come to a resolution to the movie that quick seems unrealistic. I also feel that the “resolution” (trying to avoid spoilers here!) was rather cheesy, and was hard for me to find believable.
The movie definitely has been set up for a sequel, which I would definitely see. Over all I would give this movie a 7.5, with points primarily reduced for the length of time that the movie felt like it was supposed to cover. I almost feel that perhaps this story should have been divided up into two movies, to allow more development of the zombie invasion. But still, despite being hard on the movie for this reason, it is definitely worth the watch, especially if you are a fan of the zombie/apocalyptic movies.
The movie World War Z, directed by Mark Foster, and starring Brad Pitt, is supposed to be based on the novel World War Z, written by Max Brooks. I first read the book several years ago, and I was excited, yet skeptical when I heard it was being made into a movie. I read the book again in the week leading up to the release of the movie so that it would be fresh in my mind for comparison purposes. However, it turns out that wasn’t really necessary, considering that the movie is almost nothing like the book.
For those who are unaware, the book is written documentary style, and is basically a compilation of interviews conducted by a United Nations investigator after the humans have regained control of the world following a global zombie outbreak. These interviews tell the stories of several different people from around the world and explore their varying experiences with the outbreak and its aftermath. My skepticism towards the movie announcement stemmed from the fact that there were so many different perspectives featured in the novel, and I wasn’t sure how that would be handled in the making of the film, how they could portray so many stories and still manage to keep it cohesive.
I guess the filmmakers must have spotted the same problem I did, since they didn’t use any of the stories from the book, and made up a whole new, unrelated storyline focusing on Brad Pitt’s character and his family. You may have heard about the production troubles the movie had, going through several different writers, and having to rewrite and re-film the last 1/3 of the movie. Apparently the first screenwriter did write it as a documentary style closely following the book, but the director didn’t like it, so he got a new writer to come up with a whole new story. Then that version had to be further rewritten and re-filmed to get the final product, which essentially cut Matthew Fox out of the film. So what is the story about then?
Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, who has retired from the United Nations to spend more time with his wife Karin (played by Mireille Enos) and two daughters. The movie wastes no time launching into the zombie outbreak, which suddenly overtakes the city of Philadelphia and quickly spreads as the family is stuck in traffic. Gerry’s able to get his family out of town and to safety for the time being. But his old UN boss calls him up because they need his help. He’s so important that they send a helicopter to fly him and his family to safety on some military base ship. But when they get there he finds out the only way his family can stay on the ship is if he goes globetrotting with a young scientist in search of the origins of the outbreak, with hopes of developing a cure. Unfortunately, things don’t go according to plan, and Gerry has to improvise.
As I mentioned earlier, the movie is nothing like the book. The only similarities I noticed were the use of the idea of a U.N. employee traveling to various locations around the world, and the fact that one of those locations was Israel, which put up a wall to keep the zombies out. That’s about it, other than the zombie outbreak itself, of course. I have read that the film was originally supposed to be a trilogy, before all the rewrites, and now that the film did better than expected opening weekend, and continues to do well, Paramount seems to be reviving their plans for sequels. So, maybe some of the stories from the book will have a chance to come into play during the sequels.
This is not to say that the movie suffered because it was so different from the book. On the contrary, I actually enjoyed the movie quite a bit as a zombie movie independent from the book. It was very intense, and kept me guessing about what was going to happen next. I felt like it did a great job capturing the chaos and panic that would actually occur as the result of a fast spreading zombie infection. However, it seemed like the breakdown of society occurred far too quickly. Additionally, there were too many far-fetched, over the top occurrences within the movie that are not very realistic and a little hard to swallow, plus the ending was questionable. Such things are to be expected of “Summer blockbuster”-type films, though, so you just have to go with it.
Overall, World War Z was a fun thrill ride that any zombie fan would enjoy. The acting was good, the story was decent, and I didn’t even mind the CGI.
My Rating: 7.5/10