Saturday, June 22, 2013

Movie Review: "World War Z"

World War Z is one of those rare films that is so terrifying and thrilling, that even through all the panic inducement, you can't stop watching.  Brad Pitt is believable as Gerry Lane, an ex-UN investigator who quit to spend time with his kids, but when the zombie apocalypse begins, Lane is re-enlisted to investigate the source of the zombie outbreak.  You may say you've seen zombie movies before, but you've never seen one like this before.

This film has such a massive scope and scale, and that's what separates it from every other zombie movie I've ever seen.  The film plays out on the world's stage, with Lane jetting from continent to continent in his investigation, seeing how different parts of the world have been ravaged by the pandemic.  This large canvas allows World War Z to induce a greater feeling of hopelessness than if we simply were told the rest of the world was dark, but actually seeing it creates more fear in the realization that nowhere is safe.  The other factor that marks World War Z as a benchmark in the zombie genre is the way the zombies are represented.

While this is not the first time we have ever seen zombies run and not shuffle, the way director Marc Forster chose to have the zombies working together in ravenous packs, to where they're more like starved animals hunting prey, makes the proceedings actually feel more realistic.  By infusing the zombies with real animal-like behavior found in nature, Forster simply reverses the notion that becoming a zombie makes you a brainsucking goon and rather reverts humans to animals.  Of course, this a Summer blockbuster, and what really makes this worth the admission are all of the aforementioned things coming together to create large action set pieces that are memorable and frightening.

The action in this film is on par with any major Hollywood action movie, with tons of explosions, destruction, and mayhem.  Forster edits the film in such a way that we don't really get a very good look at the zombies till nearly halfway through the movie, creating this fear of what we don't know, wreaking havoc in the world that we do know.  It was a brilliant move that may not payoff for folks wanting to see the zombies in full the moment they first appear, but these cryptic glimpses make the action all the more intense.  Plus, it helps that pretty much everything bad that could happen in a zombie apocalypse, does happen.  Such as zombies on an airplane, or zombies climbing on top of one another to vault over a wall, or a ton of zombies ramming into a bus.

World War Z is just a great film that is packed with thrills from start to finish.  I've never felt more anxious while watching a film, and yet I would gladly watch this movie again.  While I have not read the book, and can understand why a person who has would be disappointed, I was thoroughly impressed by World War Z.  I think it's the story that really intrigued me, the way that the filmmakers cleverly created a large scale tale of survival and desperation that pays off in the end with an ending that is not cheesy, but believable and feels well earned.  For a film that had so many production woes, with countless rewrites and pricey reshoots, World War Z actually works and manages to be emotional, scary, and cool.

I give World War Z an A!

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