Though this movie shares a title with the Max Brooks (son of Mel Brooks) novel, other than premise, it has very little in common. Not a knock against the movie, I expected that going in, especially considering the way the novel was written. The two were so different that it wouldn’t be fair comparing them. How is it as a zombie flick then?
I’m of two minds when I look at this movie. First off, it’s PG-13. I think that’s a major sticking point. Don’t expect anywhere near the level of gore like on The Walking Dead. Much of the violence in the movie is shown just off screen. A soldier gets her hand cut off at one point, and bandaged. This is all just off the bottom of the screen and not shown. There are many moments like this in the film and became a little annoying. Just taking that aspect, if you’re a fan of Walking Dead or Dawn of the Dead, you’ll be let down in the gore department. This is a good thing though. If you have a pre-teen who is just discovering the genre, this would be prefect for them. But not a six year old (I say to the woman carrying her crying child out at the end of the movie).
Don’t expect any answers in this movie either. The trailers give the impression that Brad Pitt is flying around the world looking for the source of the infection. Not really but so I don’t get yelled at Spoilers! – he doesn’t find it, instead he discovers a technique that could help us combat the virus. – End not Spoilers. Patient zero of the outbreak and how humans eventually do or don’t win the day are typically never shown in a zombie movie, and that’s no exception here. While there is some closure, it’s fleeting.
One movie concept that I cannot take seriously is ‘the guy’. In this movie, Brad Pitt is ‘the guy.’ You were our top man, you were the best, but you quit to be a family man. Now the world is in peril and we need you back because literally no one else can do what you do. We’re pinning all our hopes on you while the rest of us are working, sort of. The president asked for you specifically, or he’s dead, the president is always mentioned. Anything you need, you can have. You know exactly what I’m talking about. That’s Pitt’s character. This was even worse because of the trailer for Machete Kills that parodied this showing before the movie. Though that won’t be a problem for the movie later on, it just showed how tired a troupe was seeing it’s spoof.
Doing any skill quickly (music, fighting techniques) masks sloppiness. Many of the action scenes are shown quickly, with the camera focused in too closely, making it difficult to follow movement. The stairwell scene about 20 minutes in is a prime example. I had a difficult time keeping track of everyone’s position. Considering the amount of reshoots the movie had, along with it’s ludicrously over budget price tag of $200 million, and the fact that 5 writers names are attached to the film (always a bad thing) shows how much of a mess the movie was. It’s a wonder it came together as well as it did. I think the poorly shot actions scenes in this case was producers cutting their loses and editing together something passable. Props to the movie for actually saying zombie. Many zombie films act like they’ve never heard the word zombie before (see Walking Dead).
Worth seeing once, wait for rental. Good for lil’ Johnny’s first zombie movie. Seriously zombie flick fans will be let down.
What did you think of World War Z? What’s your favorite zombie movie (notice I said movie)? Comment below!
Brad Pitt is still awesome.