Like an unstoppable epidemic, Zombie thrillers keep coming in the dozens. Like the undead, nothing will stop them, except a clean shot to the brain. After a few significant rewrites and reshoots, the Marc Forster directed World War Z bears little resemblance to Max Brooks’ popular book, changing the narrative structure completely. The Z in the title could stand for zombies or, in this case, possibly be associated with the zillions of dollars spent on making this big budget star vehicle for producer Brad Pitt. Reminiscent of 2012 (the movie), World War Z is jammed packed with stupendous action sequences, featuring hordes of CGI undead, guaranteed to keep you entertained. Sadly, after following an exciting first act and a conventional second act, it loses steam in the finale.
When someone says “United Nations investigator” and “family man”, everyone naturally thinks Brad Pitt. Here he plays Gerry Lane, a former investigator, who is forced out of retirement when a zombie pandemic rapidly spreads across the world. His assignment takes him across the world, first to South Korea, then Jerusalem (the only city that was prepared for the attack) and then finally to the World Health Organization headquarters in the UK. Most of the story plays out with the usual familiarities – dark spaces, videogame narrative, stereotypical hero and endless zombie mayhem. The only three things that really distinguishes World War Z from the rest is the breathtaking opening sequence, where rabid hordes of zombies destroy the city, its big budget ($200 million) and Brad Pitt channeling Tom Cruise.
Like many of the other blockbusters (Man of Steel, The Lone Ranger, G.I. Joe Retaliation and Fast Six) out this year, World War Z (a film that’s begging for multiple sequels) doesn’t concern itself too much with story or with breaking the mold. It’s a pure action, disaster zombiefest, filled with face-paced thrills (minus all the blood and gore). To put it lightly, it’s pretty much a lighter 28 Days Later with blockbuster pretentiousness.