ByJohn Mountain, writer at
John Mountain

Directed by Marc Forster

Screen Story by Matthew Michael Carnahan and J. Michael Straczynski

Screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Drew Goddard and Damon Lindelof

Based on the novel by Max Brooks

A year has passed and I’ve finally gotten around to watching World War Z. Mind you, I have not read the novel by Max Brooks on which it is based; therefore my review will be based strictly on what I see on the screen. There, as they say, is the rub. I enjoyed watching World War Z-it’s a fast paced, well-acted and competently directed film. The biggest problem is that everything that is included in the movie are things that I have seen in other films in the genre zombie and that it was also done better in those past films. The fast maniacal zombies: 28 Days Later did it better as did the remake of Dawn of the Dead. Blending in with the zombies: Shaun of the Dead one-ups World War Z in that department.

Brad Pitt portrays Gerry Lane, a former UN investigator sent around the globe in an attempt to find a cure for a pandemic outbreak that has rapidly turned a majority of the population into fast-moving, teeth champing zombies. World War Z utilizes the number one rule of the zombie genre: if you’re bitten, you turn. The film doesn’t give us much information on how the pandemic begins, only that the first known casualty came from South Korea (I blame Psy), where Gerry first travels. He also travels to Israel, where they are smart enough to build walls to keep the infected out. That’s a bust and soon Gerry is on a plane to the nearest WHO facility after he puts two and two together. After a zombie outbreak occurs in mid-flight the plane is crashed and Gerry barely makes it out alive and very near the Cardiff WHO research center. Is there a cure to be found? Does Gerry find his own personal Bub? I’ll never tell.

As I said previously, I enjoyed watching World War Z. However, I believe there is a difference between the enjoyment of watching a film and the enjoyment of it overall. World War Z never clicked for me as an important addition to the zombie genre. There were too many ‘been there, done that’ moments. As for the scenes that were somewhat original to the film, such as the zombies climbing over themselves to reach the top of the walls in Jerusalem, there is nothing that made it real to me. I knew that I was watching CGI and it took me right out of the picture.

Author Max Brooks has stated that, aside from the central storyline, World War Z has nothing in common with his novel. To me, that sounds like another case of Hollywood saying ‘screw you, we can do it better’. I originally intended to see World War Z during its theatrical run but was unable to do so. I caught it on Netflix for this viewing and am grateful for that. At least now I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my money. I still need to read the book, though. Anyone want to lend me a copy?


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