REVIEW: World War Z

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World War Z
Directed by: Marc Forster
Written by: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelof (screenplay), Max Brooks (novel)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz and James Badge Dale

There is no grand re-imagining of the zombie movie with this adaptation of Max Brooks’ critically acclaimed World War Z.  Despite the hype and the presence of Brad Pitt, it is almost disarmingly straight-forward.  A contagion is spreading, turning everyone into zombies, there is a cure somewhere and a man must go find it.  And he does.  And that’s pretty much it.

Director Marc Forster ensures that it’s quite a thrilling ride, opting for frantic, well-choreographed action sequences than flesh-ripping. By the end, though, it felt like a story that, while sincere, was ignorant of the fact that this movie has been made fairly continuously for the past few decades.  It doesn’t do something new with the idea of zombies, the filming technique is similar to the frantic style of 28 Days Later but on a larger and less gory scale.

Pitt plays family man Gerry well, as he usually does, and tries his best to sell the more absurd plot points later in the movie.  World War Z loses some steam by that last half hour, though it’s never unpleasant.  It may be the safest box office bet of the year; a hit leading man, a popular premise and a director who’s competent but won’t take a risk.

It really is a struggle to write about this movie, because it does everything well enough to warrant an afternoon matinee on a hot summer day, but nothing well enough that you should seek it out if you miss it in theaters.  Of course, I could argue that it is yet another example of riskless blockbuster syndrome, but unlike the unending vanilla of Marvel this movie isn’t just about the action payoff.  It puts stock in more than special effects battles and product placement, though of course they’re still there.

Grade: C

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