Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘World War Z’ Review: Newest Zombie Flick Gives Scares But Lacks Emotion

Note: I saw the film in 2D, the film was not shot in 3D, so I recommend seeing it in 2D.

Gerry (Brad Pitt), a former U.N. employee, lives with his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and two young daughters Constance (Sterling Jerins) and Rachel (Abigail Hargrove) in the Philadelphia suburbs. There is a new epidemic that is spreading quickly around the world, but no one knows exactly what kind of disease it is or where it originated. The news is comparing it to rabies, the word “zombies” is just too far-fetched for anyone to grasp.

As Gerry and his family are heading out of town, they get stuck in traffic and run into zombies. The zombies are spreading like wildfire because it just takes one bite from the zombie for a human to become infected and only 10 seconds for the change to take effect. Talk about creepy.

Based off of the novel by Max Brooks, World War Z’s zombies can run really really fast, jump really high and form insane pyramids to climb walls (that scene was actually shown in the trailer). There’s a lot of zombie action, but because of the PG-13 rating, a lot of the violence is done off-camera, which is disappointing. It felt like the director was specifically cutting away to make sure he got the PG-13 rating. This is definitely an R-rated subject and they should have gone all out with the gore and violence. Hey…it’s a zombie movie!

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Director Marc Forster’s (Machine Gun Preacher and Quantum of Solace) film succeeds, if only in the slightest, because of two reasons: it’s a gripping thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat and Brad Pitt proves once again that he is one of Hollywood’s finest.

Though World War Z has several intense moments, there still feels like something is missing. Through the zombie biting action, chasing scenes and creepy zombie noises (there’s lots of teeth chattering), WWZ could use a little emotional connection.

Brad Pitt can lead any film, in my opinion, and his character here stresses the importance of family, yet the presence of his family gets lost in the film midway through. This is a zombie movie that put more focus on the zombies and less on the human interaction. It would have been a much more powerful film had we gotten additional background information on Pitt’s character since the film revolves around him. No other human character is offered anything more than just a small supporting role, so it’s really up to the audience to connect with Gerry and root for him until the end.

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Also, with all of the reshoots and re-cuts, (the film was originally supposed to be released in December 2012), one of the film’s supporting characters played by Lost’s Matthew Fox is given only one line of dialogue and maybe three minutes of screen time. Definitely an inappropriate use of the fine actor and a slap in the face.

World War Z may not be the ultimate zombie flick (hey…I’m partial to Warm Bodies), but Pitt gives an excellent performance in this thriller and the zombies will provide the appropriate screams.

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