June 24, 2013

Review - World War Z: The Film That Was Supposed to Suck, But Really Didn't

Unless you were living in a pueblo, somewhere, in the outskirts of Arizona, then you've probably  heard about the massive problems that Brad  Pitt's World War Z faced during its filming. With production problems and major re-shoots, World War Z was labled a  flop before the film was even released. All signs were pointing to a huge disaster and this was my mindset when I saw it last weekend. It was like I was attending a Elementary school play. I knew it wasn't going to be great, all signs pointed to it not being great, and all I wanted to do was make an appearance, see it, and just go about my day.

Except, this was not the case. In fact, I wouldn't even call it the worst film of the summer. I can easily say that World War Z is not the awful movie that people predicted.

Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a former employee for the UN who must solve the mystery of the strange
virus (or bacteria, not sure) that is turning people into "zombies." With his wife and children anxiously awaiting his return to safety, Gerry must visits several parts of the world to figure out what is happening and how they can contain and stop the outbreak.

The movie jumps right into the action, which moved the story along really well. Why worry about in-depth back stories and deep family dynamic when zombies are taking over the world? I felt that the Lane family portrayed by Pitts character, his wife, and 2 daughters, felt authentic and believable without being too melodramatic. This is one thing the film gets right when it
comes to its characters. The film doesn't take the time to give you a 101 analysis on each person (ain't nobody got time for that) but you feel for them and you root for them. I was listening to the SPILL crew the other day and they do bring up a good point. Usually in these types of films, the main character does certain things or makes decisions that are completely stupid and nonsensical. And that has always been my number one complaint with the horror genre.

Seriously!? You're really going to walk into the insanely dark room with just a flashlight and no protection!? This isn't some Saturday morning Scooby-Doo cartoon, idiot! Use your head!

This was not the case with World War Z. What I liked most about Pitt's character was that he was smart and actually thought things through before acting. Sure some moments were obviously pulled off by the grace of movie magic, but I never had that frustration I get when a fully functioning character makes stupid decisions.

Now, zombie films are not my expertise, so I can't judge whether this was a good flick when it comes to portraying the undead. For me, zombies that can run, leap, jump, and climb, are terrifying enough. Those bad boys in World War Z were pretty insane and I thought that the movie illustrated how
deadly these zombies were. I was properly freaked out. The film has a lot of tense moments which really had me at the edge of my seat. And I was not expecting that.

The real problem I had with the film was the ending. As I said before, the movie goes right into the action and the first two acts really deliver on many levels. However, the end, the final show down, the grand finale, left me a little cold. Like there should've been something more. I am always hesitant to nitpick plots to films that are based on books, because I don't know if it was part of the original content. However, when the credits started rolling I just felt empty. I wasn't expecting a big, cataclysmic ending with zombies falling from the sky, but I did feel a little unfulfilled and disappointed.

Update: Since, finding out that there will be a sequel, I feel a little better about the ending.

The real star of this movie is Brad Pitt's hair. Those golden locks tucked behind Pitt's ear should've had their own credits in the movie. Sure Pitt is getting beaten up and chased by zombies, but look at that hair shine. Maybe, those zombies just wanted to touch his head. I mean, that's plausible, right?

Initially, when I saw World War Z  I said it wasn't good but it wasn't bad either. That ending had me feeling kind of cranky so I filed it under "just okay." Now thinking back to it and really evaluating certain points of the film that I liked, I now think that WWZ is a good, solid film, but nothing spectacular. It is certainly not the hot mess that people were expecting, and I hope that the mistakes that occurred during the making of this film will not be repeated for the sequel. I think it's funny, that the film I was expecting to blow me away ended up disappointing me (Man of Steel) while a film I was totally expecting to fall short actually delivered (World War Z. )

Against all odds World War Z managed to be a major success. And for that I tip my hat off. A solid film with a weak ending, I give World War Z a strong 7/10.

*Check out Moviefone's article on how World War Z avoided becoming a huge disaster at the box office HERE

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