World War Z (2013)

“Mother Nature is a serial killer. No one’s better. Or more creative.”

With every year that goes by it becomes inevitably more difficult to be original in the mainstream film arena. With this in mind, do not be surprised if you find yourself occasionally nodding to the odd likeness in World War Z to previous zombie and disaster movies. Despite this however, Marc Foster’s ambitious zombie pandemic, based on Max Brooks’ 2006 novel, manages to stay mostly fresh and exciting and will, for the most part, leave you glued to your seat.

The majority of viewers will walk out of the cinema with a feeling of gory contentment, which is due in part to the variety of scene styles and the rotation of settings for the zombie encounters. This happens as Pitt, who plays UN investigator Gerry Lane, trots calmly around the globe seeking the answers to this outbreak of the undead. In comparison to the intense and ruthless beginning, the Cardiff lab scene is especially engrossing and its introduction is a great way to mix up the pace of the zombie interaction, as the former lab workers walk around Romero-like in their dormant state. The film covers the globe well, and the depiction of the countries’ different reactions to the pandemic, especially Israeli and Korean, is both suggestive and insightful. Unfortunately, the slightly anti-climactic ending is the result of a film that eventually runs out of adventure and thrill. Instead of ending on a possibly dark and portentous tone, some audiences may find the lack of final twists and turns that we expect so readily of horror cinema, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

Although Pitt’s calm demeanour suits the main role, a stronger supporting cast may have been beneficial to keep the dialogue moving and maintain the dynamism of the action. It’s quite literally a dying shame when the one really interesting character that Pitt runs into takes a very early exit. I commend Foster for subtly changing the style of camera work to reflect Pitt’s emotional state and level of knowledge, but the film could have been livened up during the quieter periods by intermittent catches of news reports from around the world. After all, it is a zombie movie so it should not shy from the blood and horror. So despite how much the film covers, it feels that a trick was missed in displaying the true panic that has taken hold, as we are only really privy to the life and times of Gerry Lane and associates.

Shapstik verdict: If you linger on the flaws, then the film becomes quickly average in the eye of the beholder. Highlight its strengths however, and one has a cracking film that will become better over the years, as time heals the open wound left by the question: “How could he possibly have survived that plane crash in one piece?”. 7/10

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