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World War Z (2013) Movie Review

October 23, 2013

I wasn’t very excited when “World War Z” came out. I wasn’t exactly sure why anyone should care about Brad Pitt’s character, or why the focus should be on him in the narrative. Once I started listening to the audiobook I started to recognize why people were complaining that the film was a complete departure from the book. I realize that the book is quite difficult to make into a film because of the perspectives through which we are exposed to The Zombie War. The book presents the story from the perspective of many different people around the world. It explains how different countries reacted to first the news of a zombie outbreak and then the attacks. Though I haven’t finished listening to the book yet I would suggest that anyone who enjoyed this film go read or listen to it. Sadly, the intellectual approach to the story that so engrossed me in the book did not come through in the film. In order to present the fast pace Studios believe modern audiences require, the story turns into a typical globe-trotting thriller. Perhaps the studios will redeem themselves in future films, but I am not getting my hopes up.

After a thrilling opening sequence, Brad Pitt’s character sets off on his own to search the world for some answers. There are plenty of well-shot zombie attacks and some particularly engaging segments in Israel. However, the film didn’t have an overarching narrative to hold it together. Part of the problem was I didn’t really care about Brad Pitt’s character or find it very believable that he was some experienced UN guy who had some unique abilities to do what he was doing. There were some typical zombie tropes that I was glad to see absent here. Most importantly, I was glad that we didn’t follow some random group of people who didn’t like each other and spend the whole film arguing like children (as you see in pretty much every major zombie film, and the film I will review next that is not a zombie film but close enough).

Musically, the film’s horror aesthetic is enhanced by a powerfully dark orchestral score by Marco Beltrami. The music doesn’t have any core themes but always manages to establish the immediacy of the zombie threat without resorting to synthesizers or electric guitar. “World War Z” provides some solid zombie action in a way that avoids many of the typical problems with the genre. Sadly, it has problems of its own that kept me from enjoying it fully. While the movie isn’t a complete waste of your time, I suggest reading the book instead, or getting the audiobook to listen to on your commute.


From → Horror

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