Directed by Marc Forster
Starring Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz
Much to the displeasure of those sitting beside me, I went into World War Z with a tub of crunchy nachos and a medium Coke. They were brilliant, and complimented the previews for coming features perfectly, yet I still came out with a craving for cheese and desire for Pepsi… was this simply due to my raging appetite? Or was it because the second half of Marc Forster’s otherwise action-packed and often exhilarating thriller was coated in wall-to-wall cheese, and featured the most shameless piece of product placement this side of Wayne’s World 2 (you can disguise it as a joke, Mike, but it is what it is).
World War Z tells the story of former UN worker Gerry Lane (Pitt), who is one morning having breakfast with his idealistic family with thoughts of world issues pushed to the back of his mind, any the next aboard an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean about to embark on a world-wide mission to help eradicate a rapidly-spreading virus that is turning the earth’s populous into raging zombies, capable of sprinting at Usain Bolt pace and traversing gargantuan walls, but apparently not capable of breaking out of airplane toilets until someone goes to use it. I apologise for that long sentence, but wanted to get the plot details out of the way as swiftly as possible and move on to reviewing this thriller/action/horror hybrid.
It can’t be denied that the first thirty or so minutes of this film are nothing short of outstanding. The frenetic way in which America collapses in on itself is quite breathtaking, as is watching our heroic family survive with the odds stacked so firmly against them. Once we arrive at the aircraft carrier things do slow down to allow the audience time to breath, before rushing us to an outpost in South Korea for what remains possibly my favourite scene; refuelling a cargo plane at night would surely be no easy task, attempting it while being swarmed by flesh-hungry zombies makes it very difficult indeed. These are the moments that Marc Forster handles well – when it’s the living versus the dead in a battle arena such as this, a market place in Jerusalem or aboard an airbus on its way from Israel to Wales. Once we arrive in Wales however, it’s clear to see what he doesn’t handle so well; human relationships and satisfying endings. The film suddenly slows to a halt, a problem considering there has been no effort spent on characterization or nurturing inter-character relationships, and all of a sudden the narrative seems jarred, disjointed and lacking common sense. I won’t explain the intricacies for risk of encouraging spoilers, but the hero saves the day with a Pepsi can dispensing machine, after inconceivably and unforgivably enjoying one himself… I never thought I’d see that.
Personally, I love zombie movies. A lot more than a normal person would. Recent zombie movies in particular that I love include Dawn of the Dead remake, Dance of the Dead, Diary of the Dead (criminally underrated) and Zombieland, and I love the zombie carnage in World War Z; it’s just a shame it ended like it did.
3.5 Pepsi cans (mmmm, Pepsi) out of 5