Marc Forster’s long-delayed, big budget adaptation of the hit novel World War Z isn’t the film we were all expecting to hate on, yet it still barely gets by as a PG-13 generic zombie flick with some decent thrills and action. World War Z isn’t a great movie by any means, but it is a surprisingly decent one, thanks to Forster’s endless budget, which allows this to be the biggest-looking zombie film yet.
Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) was once the go-to person for the United Nations. He used to be thrown into the heat of war and terror without hesitation, but now he’s a settled down family man not looking for trouble. But trouble finds him in the form of a deadly and mysterious virus which turns people into members of the undead population. Now Gerry is being called on once again to help find the cure and hopefully solve this worldwide pandemic before it’s too late.
Marc Forster’s World War Z just might be one of the most generic zombie films ever shot, yet it somehow, against all of the odds, gets by as a decent action flick, with some unusually tense and scary moments.
Forster wisely shoots the film with a global mindset, making it at the very least something that travels fast and rarely stops for a breath. The film’s various locations help make the pacing a breeze and the visuals are always appealing in some way. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t really reflect that all too much, but Forster’s film is more worried about quick action and suspense and not so much thought out plot-points or fully developed characters.
Brad Pitt’s character is really the only person on-screen that you even remotely care about and that’s fine, because Pitt knows how to carry a film like this without going too overboard. He represents the human aspect of the story, while the thousands of CGI-rendered zombies represent everything else.
Seriously, the special effects in World War Z are garbage. The CGI team doesn’t even bother covering up that fact and quickly you begin to realize that Forster’s film is more worried about sheer size and scope and not so much about detail. Admittedly, he captures some stunning shots, like zombies swarming entire cities within seconds, but he sacrifices what could have really shocked and awed for something that probably sounded cool on paper, but looks incredibly silly once executed.
Yet the film still comes tightly packed with a few moments of genuine horror and suspense. World War Z‘s more quiet moments, which I’ve been told were part of the re-shoots, gives us a slightly different look at what could have been, while the rest of the film throws genre cliche after genre cliche directly onto our laps, without much style or taste.
The film’s ending also presents itself as nothing more than a laughable commercial, yet again Pitt makes it work slightly better because of his commitment to the project.
World War Z is something that if placed in the right hands could have been genre-changing, but that was never going to happen and the expected results were that it was going to be absolutely terrible. Luckily, film gets by on its okay action and digestible story. Nothing about it is all that great, yet Pitt and Forster manage to make the film watchable and even sometimes, enjoyable.
Paramount’s 1080p video transfer isn’t going to win any marks for wowing audiences around the world, but the transfer best represents the director’s intention, which was to present you with a film that’s full of dull and ugly colors. Everything remains flat and pasty, yet you can’t really knock on it, because of the director wanting a specific look and feel throughout the entire picture. Detail is still present and mostly strong, but nothing is going to jump off the screen at you.
The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track on the other hand completely blows up the film to a whole new level. Dialogue is finely layered on the front channels, while the buzzing of helicopters and the shooting of automatic rifles takes up most of the back channels with loud ease. This is one of those tracks that will test your speakers very frequently, so be prepared for complaints from your roommates next door.
Here’s a list of bonus material found in this combo pack:
- Theatrical & Extended Cuts
- Origins (HD)
- Looking to Science (HD)
- WWZ: Production (HD)
- DVD Copy
- UltraViolet Digital Copy or Digital Copy
Owning Marc Forster’s World War Z on Blu-Ray all comes down to how much one enjoys the zombie genre. This isn’t a particularly good zombie film. It’s actually one of the most generic and basic ones yet, but at the same time it is the largest and most expensive. That means that the story is light and the action is frantic. Still, Pitt makes it watchable and Paramount has assembled a middling Blu-Ray package that offers up good picture and audio, but only a small handful of bonus material. Rent this one first and decide if it’s worth coming back for more.
World War Z is a surprisingly entertaining, yet slightly generic zombie picture that shows promising scope and globe-trotting action, but suffers from too many genre cliches. Brad Pitt does fine work in a film that should have been a disaster, but turned out decent enough.