World War Z

Upon my return from the Mister White premiere, I promptly met my eldest daughter to go see World War Z.

One Line Review: World War Z isn’t World War Z but is tense and fun.

World War ZWorld War Z (2013) – Rated PG-13

United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.”

I have to stress that this is not World War Z in any significant shape or form. Beth and I decided to enter into this putting aside our preconceived notions. Anyone who has read the novel and seen the trailer immediately suffers from cognitive dissonance. If you love the book, and there is much to love there, then you will need to disconnect or you won’t enjoy the movie.

One of our local critics has argued that it doesn’t matter if the film diverges from the book as long as it is a good movie. On the other hand, it would not be unreasonable to expect that a movie titled World War Z would be based on the book, World War Z.

Due to the trailer, the PG-13 rating (for a zombie film, are you kidding me?) and occasional news reports of how troubled the production was, I walked into World War Z with significantly lowered expectations. As a result, I was very pleasantly surprised.

The book told dozens of individual stories with only a small amount of overlap. Brad Pitt anchors the film as the protagonist everyman, Gerry Lane and is in every single scene. He is resourceful but not superhuman. Pitt has enough cinematic weight to carry the film and thankfully keeps his performance grounded.

The supporting cast is light on names but does well. Mireille (The Killing) Enos does well with a somewhat thankless role as Gerry’s wife. Daniella Kertesz does better with a rather juicy role as Israeli soldier Segen. David Morse steals the show with his brief role as a C.I.A. operative.

The film moves at a very brisk pace. Makeup effects are nice and while there is almost no gore (due to the PG-13 rating), there is still a great sense of urgency. World War Z does a good job of capturing the global scale of the pandemic. I was thankful that characters in this film appear to have heard of the term zombie – I resent movies that take place in a fictional vacuum where no one has ever heard of movies.

Scenes that I thought looked particularly silly in the trailer, namely the zombies climbing the wall, actually work quite well. World War Z is a fun big budget zombie movie – just don’t mistake it for World War Z. The biggest drawback to the movie (besides not adapting the book) is that Pitt has to be front and center in every scene. This would have worked better as an ensemble piece.

People Watch: I didn’t realize that Matthew (Lost) Fox was the parajumper until after the movie.