Monday, June 24, 2013

"World War Z" - A Written Review (Spoiler Free)

I saw "World War Z" this weekend, and here is what I thought of it. (Spoiler free)

What it is not: Let's get the obvious out of the way right away, this is not the book. This is almost in no way like the book. This is so unrecognizable from the "source" that I think it would be even more successful with a different name. This should be "Day One" or something akin to that. 

It is not a collection of short stories like the book, it is not a narrated aftermath told by an investigator, and it is not necessary that it had the name "World War Z". It is not a story of political and social problems, acerbated by the outbreak of zombies. It is not a story of separate yet desperate regions of the world, and their various methods to combat the undead.

However, it is not bad. The CGI is not terrible. It is not overly heavy on the family plot thankfully. It is not a visual pick-and-choose of the best parts of the book. It is not something that throws references out every few minutes to try to sell the book audience.

What it is: This movie, problems about it being an adaptation aside, is totally and ruthlessly uncompromising. It is probably the most directly straight-forward "the whole world is fucked" example of a zombie outbreak as far as scale. This is the "28 Days Later" world of outbreak, but instead of it being after the outbreak has happened, this is pretty much the moment of the outbreak itself. 

It is a movie that pits one man, with the right experience and the right mindset, in a fortunate position to make a difference. It is an interesting story about how quickly the world would fall given this kind of problem. It is entertaining for its nearly 2-hour run-time. It is good at maintaining a panicked pace, even if we all know Pitt will live through every situation.

It is a movie that does its best to play to its strengths (size, scale and ruthlessness) and tries as hard as it can to distance itself from its weaknesses (pg-13 rating, an inconsistent or consistent story, its lack of terrifying moments). 

It is a story that, to be honest, might as well be a prequel to the actual "World War Z" book. This is a story that focuses on the outbreak as it hits a global scale, not a story that focuses on how the entire world dealt with said outbreak in the aftermath. I would be totally okay with a "World War Z" tv series or show that took place after this, as really if it didn't try to have the same protagonist, this COULD be the story leading up to the narration/short story collection that is the "World War Z" book itself.

In the end, this is a movie that will entertain those of you who want to see the world fall to shit by zombies, and frustrate those of you expecting your beloved Max Brooks book brought to the silver screen.

3.5/5 stars


  1. By the end, I was impressed with the epic scale of the story, the expensive special effects and the high production values, but I also had a distinct feeling of 'is that all there is?'