Movie Reviews

June 21, 2013

World War Z

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Written by: Drew Waller
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TOWERS: 2.5 out of 5

Everyone loves a good scare, let’s just put that out there. The idea of a global pandemic potentially killing off everyone you love within seconds of exposure, that’s scary. Nowhere to escape it, that’s scary. What is really scary about this film though, is how long it took to deliver this book-to-film adaptation for the global bestseller from MAX BROOKS (Read that, it’ll scare you awake for weeks). The end result, since we are putting it “out there”, delivers the right amount of in-your-face fright moments. Both psychological (cue running through a dark stairwell hearing but not seeing what’s behind you as you race with your family to the top; desperation to get your loved ones the food, medicine and shelter they need through riots and looters; oh, and the results of that pandemic, with no immediate solutions. Yep, scary.) and literal (cue snap-jaw zombie creatures looking like your co-workers and neighbors on a bad day, in 3-D. Yep, scary.) deliver enough ammo to make this popcorn scare-out-of-your-seat fare.

The problem that plaques this film, so to speak, is the liberal consolations the filmmakers take in trying to get us from pivotal moment to pivotal moment. Unfortunately, its epicenter of plot delivery is through its central character, Gerry [BRAD PITT], who, for reasons never quite clear other than “it overwhelmed” him from the reaction of his effective but poorly utilized wife [played by “AMC’s THE KILLING” MIRIELLE ENOS], is forced back into active service on behalf of the United Nations (when did the UN get Navy Seal-like recon experts?) to help bring the needed scientific expert to the “patient zero” to solve this “world war”. It clicks through all the right things, including a smart recount from the lead virologist as he counters why this is an act of natural selection through his science. “Mother Nature is a serial killer.” Stop-you-in-your-tracks statement. Everything from that point unravels in terms of overall believability.

A good friend of mine in the film exhibition industry recounted her wish to have this film work and it had to do with why the book worked so well: detail the aftermath and what went wrong. This film however takes you right through it for all of its summer blockbuster cinematic bravado. Gerry is the brave soldier who presses on while gathering intel for the viewer while society crumbles around him and inexplicably, never quite touches him. Always getting away right by the skin of his non-infected teeth. With such a rich Petri dish of plot opportunity, the symptoms of expected, “effective” multiplex movie watching to get mass appeal are just too strong ta bi-product o really deliver a terminal scare worth its weight of thought-provoking enjoyment.

About the Author

Drew Waller
Drew Waller

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