Film review: World War Z

I really think you, my readers, are high brow and that a blockbuster movie review will probably be of little value to you. Nonetheless, I’m not finished another book yet (though I did start on a fiction book – yay) so instead, I bring you a film review, which shall be World War Z.

Helicopters and zombies source: betheredcarpet.co.uk
Helicopters and zombies
source: betheredcarpet.co.uk

I’m pretty interested in the ‘end of the world’ – whether it’s in the form of a natural disaster (remember my Emergency book from the book inventory post?) or from a more ‘minor’ adjustment to life – such as the holocaust.  So World War Z was on my ‘to watch’ list the first time I saw a trailer.

The story is humans becoming zombies through some sort of rabies like infection.  The premise of the movie is for Brad Pitt to find the source of the virus (disease/infection – you can see I’m not really on top of this medical terminology) and hopefully a vaccine.  To be honest, I’m not a zombie fan (though I did see Warm Bodies a little while aog) but this movie made it seem possible and realistic.  A viral infection that causes people not to die, but to stay in a permanent in between state, and continue to infect people.  It almost seemed plausible! 

Interestingly, despite the film probably paying through the nose for Brad Pitt, it could have been any actor in this film and it would have still been enjoyable.  That being said, if you’re going to have a jet setting UN agent, why not make it shaggy haired Brad Pitt?  His wife was pretty well played too – she’s strong and courageous when she needs to be (before they are helicoptered to safety) and scared and lonely when she calls him (at most inopportune time, waking the South Korean zombies in the airfield!)

There were so many things I thought might or could happen in the film that didn’t. Why did Brad Pitt’s family take the Indian boy from New Jersey (where they crashed in a family’s apartment)?  Who would take an extra kid to a naval ship with limited space?  How come Brad’s wife gets a satellite phone, come on, she’s just doing nothing on the naval ship and the world is ending!! Why take a recently bitten, then amputated, Israeli solider scooped up and taken with Brad Pitt on a long haul passenger plane full of people? She could have ‘turned’ at any time! Or when Brad Pitt’s in the room of all known infections, and he doesn’t know which one to pick, surely the camera could have moved up and down to nod, and left and right to shake it’s ‘head’. And the ending, it didn’t really seems as Hollywood as I’ve come to expect.  Sure there were tears and a rainy reunion, but as far as curing the masses, it didn’t happen.

There were some great moments in this film.  Where the Israeli explains this rule (I wonder if it exists in real life) where if there are 10 people, the 10th person must disagree, and accept a treat as true and plausible.  In this manner, Israel created a haven from zombies, by building a wall in about 10 days.  Also, the premise that a zombie would look for ‘fresh’ meat, and therefore overlook those who were weak, such as those with a virus.  If I was more science based, I’m sure I could ripe holes in this theory, but it sounded good to me.

I hear the book it very different to the film, so of course, I’ll just have to read it!

Here’s what other people have said/shown:

Funny image from the film

Alternative review

Is a Brad Pitt zombie flick for you?  Have you read the book?

15 Replies to “Film review: World War Z”

  1. I saw this movie in 4D, which is a gimmick where the seats move and there are speakers next to your head, and there were supposedly smells released into the cinema (although I don't remember smelling anything – maybe they didn't have zombie smell 🙂 ).

    Anyway, I thought the movie was pretty good for an action flick, but then was reading some reviews online that said the book was completely different. I was interested so downloaded it onto my kindle, and then read the entire thing in two days. It was completely different (really the only thing it had in common with the movie was the title!). I won't give anything away, but it's written as a series of interviews with survivors and is a lot more realistic. I think you'd definitely enjoy it – since you like end of the world books.

    1. There you go! Was that in Thailand that you saw it? 4D is probably a gimmick haha but could work for certain things. I look forward to the book being borrow-able from the library. Understandably it's pretty popular right now

  2. I think both my husband and I would love this. It's more my husband's thing but he's introduced me to a few 'classic Zombie' movies and I actually liked them! It's the one type of 'action' movie I find both funny and gripping.

  3. At the end of World War Z, just as the credits began rolling, a gentleman, scratch that, an idiot spoke up from the back of the theatre exclaiming, "What? That sucked! The book was nothing like that! Booo!" I'm sure he scurried away back home, logged online, and began tweeting, posting, and blogging, furthering his rant. Much like my response to him at the theatre, I hope he receives silence in return.

    It's true, World War Z is nothing like the book. The book is told from the point of view AFTER the war. It's a "historical," account of what happened during the war. Rather than make a mockumentary with flashbacks, which would have been the wrong decision in my opinion, the filmmakers decided to put us right in the middle of the action.

    When adapting a piece of literature it is impossible to bring every page, every paragraph, every nuance onto the screen. Some have come close depending on the material, but for the most part, they all have to take their own creative licenses. After all, it's called an "adaptation," for a reason, otherwise they would call it a copy or mimic.

    Where World War Z works (that's a mouthful) and where so many others fail is that just because the world slips into total and utter chaos, doesn't mean that governments, military, and law enforcement agencies go away. Quite the opposite. If anything, these scenarios bring out the best of all of them. We see generals, UN delegates, and scientists trying to solve complex issues that they don't know anything about. Rather than going into hiding, they act. Society doesn't crumble. Bands of cannibals and leather strapped gangs don't patrol the streets with necklaces made of teeth. People do what they can to survive, and the higher ups try their best to find a fast and effective solution.

    At first, I thought the movie started too fast. How could something this violent and concentrated go undetected, but after a while I got it. The opening montage of news reports said it all. How many of us listen to everything we hear on the news? Exactly. So much goes undetected while we focus on issues that effect us immediately. It's too late when the virus touches US soil. Not even social media can keep up with it.

    As far as zombie movies go this one is pretty great. Though I think 28 Days Later takes the cake in terms of realism, in-camera effects, and sheer terror, this one holds its own. Brad Pitt plays a former UN investigator who is traveling with his family just as the zombie attack on Philadelphia unfolds. The film goes from 0-60 before you take a sip of your Coke. This is a fast paced, edge of your seat thrill ride led by one of the finest actors of this generation (Pitt's acting ability is far too underrated and lost in the kerfuffle of tabloid news).

    For those of you who stare at the ticket window debating whether or not to see a film in 3D or standard, you might want to spend the extra few dollars to see this one in 3D (I know it's asking a lot, but maybe you can sneak some candy or a bottle of water to offset the concession stand price – deal with it). I tend to air on the side of "screw it, I want to see it in 3D." Now not every movie NEEDS to be seen in 3D, hell there are really only a couple that absolutely have to be seen in all three dimensions (Avatar and maybe Life of Pi), but this one really surprised me. 3D is not about things jumping out at you, but it's about layers. Luckily this film has both. Big chase scenes in Philly, particles floating about in South Korea, and tracking shots in Jerusalem make this one of the 3D events of the year. No exaggeration.

    Like so many other summer blockbusters before it, civilization is on the brink of extinction and only a handful of experts can save us. What World War Z does that so many have failed is give us hope. Hope that humanity won't dissolve into nothingness. In the face of sheer danger these fighters stand tall, take a deep breath, look the enemy in the eye, and say, "No."

    More about the movie you can also find it here http://movieinfodb.com/en/movie/72190/World+War+Z

    1. Wow Carcotas, this is a wonderful analysis of the film. Since I wrote this review, I did actually read the book. Given I saw the film first, I tended to prefer it, I suppose because I could logically follow the thread of the story, whereas I struggled a little more with the book. You're right though, a literal interpretation of the book wouldn't have made an effective film – maybe a TV style mockumentary, but then I don't think it would have had as many viewers.

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