I’ll admit I’m a bit late to this one. In fact, I was going to give it a miss altogether when it arrived at the cinema owing to the fact that every piece of news I read attached to the project seemed to be weighed down with bad omens. Delays, re-writes, overspending, mass apathy in response in the first trailer – things certainly weren’t looking too promising for World War Z. Having seen it last weekend, I can confirm that while it ain’t perfect, it’s an enjoyable enough adventure with Brad Pitt sporting some incredibly sexy hair throughout.
I will confess that I am a fan of Max Brooks’ source novel published in 2006. The internet is awash with fanboys decrying the movie for not paying tribute to the book, so I’ll spare you that in this review. Safe to say the book and the film are set during the outbreak of a worldwide zombie epidemic… and that’s about all they have in common. The film wastes no time in getting stuck into the action with all hell breaking loose in Philadelphia (actually filmed in Glasgow). To be honest I was too busy seeing if I could spot the Greggs off of George Square to really pay attention to this opening salvo of frantic zombie action. From there we get a bit of globe-trotting action centred on United Nations man for all seasons Gerry Lane (played by Brad Pitt) as he sets out on his quest to find a cure. What exactly Pitt’s character does was a bit lost on me. Saving the world without looking remotely stressed seemed to be his specialty. That bugged me the most about this film to be honest – characters just react and solve problems as if it was an arbitrary task to making things right again. Loathe as I am to praise that damn Walking Dead TV show, but at least the folk in that universe react to what’s happening around them and show fear, panic etc.. In fairness though, the whole cast combined cannot beat Pitt’s incredible hair in this movie.
To give director Marc Foster credit, he handles the scale of this worldwide zombie outbreak within which the film is set quite well. I enjoyed the segment of the film set in Israel as it really gave him a chance to flex a bit of that $190 Million budget. Save for that last cramped and overlong (anti-)climactic sequence set in Wales, you really can feel the scale of the ‘Zeke’ problem throughout the course of the movie. Given Foster’s previous 007 experience (he directed Quantum of Solace), World War Z feels almost Bond-like in its approach with the far-flung adventuring of its main protagonist. To me it definitely felt more like a straight-up adventure film in certain aspects as opposed to a horror movie. It’s remarkably bloodless given the movie’s content but does have a few jumpy moments to its credit. Thankfully World War Z doesn’t overstay its welcome and clocks in around the 2 hour mark (unlike Man of Steel, which I think is probably still running…). Worth checking out for sure, but I have a feeling we’ll look back in a few years’ time and pinpoint this as the tipping point where the whole zombie thing got ever so slightly played out.
6 strands of Brad Pitt’s remarkable hair/10