Evan Burkey

Review: World War Z

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I had zero expectations going into World War Z. With it being a PG-13 movie with zombies, plus the fact that it followed the book in name only, I didn’t think I’d be impressed. While World War Z is the cliche-ridden CGIfest I anticipated, it does have moments where it shines.

Brad Pitt stars as Gerry Lane, a stay at home dad who used to be the UN’s top investigator. The movie starts with him and his family in downtown Pittsburgh when the outbreak swings into full effect. Gerry and his family fight through the chaos to escape, and we meet my first big issue with the film: After a tense fight to get into an abandoned RV, a screen wipe goes by and suddenly the family warps from downtown to a rural highway. I understand the need to move a story along, but the “magical warp” in disaster movies bothers me to no end and really kills the suspension of disbelief.

The plot then follows Gerry as he flies around the world, using his UN Investigator skills to find out the cause of the zombie virus. Gerry’s plot armor is thick in World War Z, several times he escapes impossible situations. I understand that this is a big-budget zombie film and that it needs lots of tension to stay interesting, but I had a very hard time believing some of the outcomes of the action scenes. Yes, I realize I’m whining about realism in a movie about zombies, but the blatant plot armor moments are hard to ignore for any movie-goer with half a brain.

My complaints about the plot notwithstanding, World War Z manages to have very well done large action sequences. The best parts of the film are the huge zombie hordes tearing through cities, with small battles breaking out here and there. Unfortunately, the small battles and individual fights are where the cinematography breaks down. Anyone who has read my reviews knows that I get motion sick from 3D films quite easily, and there were multiple scenes where I had to close my eyes because the camera shake was so blatant it made me ill and I had to look away. I realize that I’m in the tiny minority here, but this is a common issue with big action films and it drives me crazy.

I must admit that despite my aversion to the flow of the plot, Brad Pitt does an excellent job as Gerry Lane. Pitt manages to pull off a believable character in an insane situation, and he is the centerpiece of this film. Make no mistake, World War Z is not a film about zombies, it is a film about Brad Pitt saving the world from zombies. As a fan of the book, this bothers me in the sense that it’s World War Z, but when looking at the movie by itself, it just makes sense. Even in hokey situations, Pitt still manages to pull off a likable, believable protagonist and deserves praise for his performance.

So, is World War Z worth seeing? I must admit that I did enjoy the film despite its problems. It still manages to be an entertaining action flick and like I said earlier, Pitt does a great job as the main character. My suggestion is to wait until the film comes to DVD or Redbox and hit it up then.

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