** ½ Out of 5
Tagline- Remember Philly
Release Date- June 21st, 2013
Running Time- 123-Minutes
Screenplay- Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelof (Novel- Max Brooks)
Director- Marc Forster
Starring- Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, Fana Mokoena, David Morse, James Badge Dale
Going into World War Z I kind of expected the worst since I’m not into modern Hollywood films with very few exceptions. It seems once the Michael Bay era started Hollywood took a nosedive and I avoid most modern films, but I do find it kind of cool a zombie film is a Hollywood summer blockbuster. While zombie films have always been popular its now that Hollywood has fully embraced these films, but when all is said and done World War Z is the typical soulless modern day Hollywood film, which is quite a shame since the first 20-minutes were excellent and I thought perhaps World War Z was one of the exceptions, but it ended up being typical Hollywood though maybe slightly better than the bulk of the garbage Hollywood releases. Like I said I felt Hollywood started going downhill once Michael Bay got started, but since 2000 I can honestly say I have a strong dislike for most modern Hollywood and even the Indie scene isn’t what it once was (at least in the horror genre that is). It seems most of the big budget Hollywood films have zero story, boring characters and it’s just explosion after explosion and while it might be pretty to look at its forgettable and World War Z fits right into that category.
World War Z was rated PG-13, which got some negative comments. Horror films don’t need a ton of violence and gore to be effective. The Universal Monster films while no longer scary are still however effective chillers. Even a film like John Carpenter’s Halloween, which is R-rated so maybe its not the best example, but the most effective eerie scenes in the film don’t always feature any violence and even the ones that do aren’t graphic at all. Slasher films and in this case zombie films do work better with an R-rating whereas other horror films can work without an R, but I don’t think the PG-13 rating hurt WWZ at all. There is violence and while not overly graphic still works. As I mentioned with the first 20-minutes it wasn’t violence that made it work, but the mass confusion and struggle to find a safe place and stay alive. The one thing though I very much liked about WWZ is there isn’t really any comedy. I like my zombie films played straight. I’m not against any comedy, but since Return of the Living Dead in 1985 it seemed every zombie film was comedic than with Shaun of the Dead that trend continued. I love both those films, but I miss the days when zombie films were played straight and it seems those are few and far between.
Former UN worker Gerry Lane (Pitt) is trying to figure out what is causing people to turn into zombies and how to stop it in hopes to save his family and the world.
The screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelof is your typical big budget Hollywood film. Characters lack depth and are quite boring. The script gets off to a very strong start, but quickly goes downhill. While the premise to the film might be solid the writing however is just a bit sloppy. Maybe sloppy isn’t the right word since WWZ isn’t poorly written its just that the script isn’t very interesting during the good bulk of the middle.
Director Marc Forster does a great job within the first 20-minutes as World War Z is quite intense, fast paced, exciting and suspenseful. However after that WWZ slows down and Forster is unable to get the film back on track. Pacing is quite an issue as at 123-minutes the film is far too long. There are some fairly effective scenes, but by the time they came around I already lost my interest and really didn’t care anymore. While Forster delivers a well made film the pacing is a problem and due to that the film lacks excitement and thrills. If WWZ ran at about 100-minutes I think I would have liked it a bit more as it would eliminate the poor pacing and while Forster could have done a little more with the tone of the film it wouldn’t have helped much due to the length if the film.
It’s quite a shame World War Z turned out the way it did since the opening 20-minutes were great, but it soon becomes the typical Hollywood film of the era. However despite my review I didn’t hate WWZ and it does have a few things to offer, but the running time pretty much derailed it. If you’re into the big Hollywood blockbusters than by all means seek this out, but if you’re more like me and tend to avoid modern Hollywood since as stated I dislike the good bulk, WWZ isn’t the film that will change your mind and make you wanna see more. With some editing WWZ would have been better, but not great. But as it stands at best WWZ is average, but for me just a step below average.