The title doesn’t really work if, like me, you’re a Brit. World War Z is great if you’re an American because you pronounce it ‘World War ZEE‘ which rhymes with ‘World War THREE‘. If you pronounce it ‘World War ZED’ though, it’s clunky and meaningless. Not a good start. Luckily, the film itself does have a good start. Actually it has a great start. Actually the start is the best bit. Actually it’s one of the best action/horror movie starts ever!
It is an apocalyptic horror film directed by Marc Forster. The screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan is based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Max Brooks. The film stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a retired United Nations employee who must travel the world to find a way to stop a zombie-like pandemic.
I’d heard mixed reviews, some saying that the movie was too dissimilar to the book, some saying that it was predictable and the characters were one dimensional. I haven’t read the book so I can’t comment on whether it’s a good adaptation or not but I can see what people mean about it being predictable and the characters being a bit thin. Both of those charges are accurate. But I still loved it.
It is very conventional and doesn’t offer many surprises. The characters are a bit cardboardy although I was glad to get a hero who isn’t itching to get violent all the time like so many other action films offer. In all, Brad Pitt is good; understated and sympathetic. All of the other characters are instantly forgettable although I was sorry that Elyes Gabel got killed so quickly because he had potential to create a sort of quirky expert type like the one played by Richard Dreyfuss in Jaws.
It’s an exciting film with loads of suspense and planty of good set pieces. There’s no boring bits and the pace was perfect. The zombies were okay especially the teeth-clacking creature in the final scenes. The monsters weren’t too horrific and some people might even think they’re a bit tame compared to, say, the zombies from Danny Boyle‘s 128 Days. Personally I was glad they weren’t too bad and that there wasn’t much gore because I’m squeamish and would have spent most of the film with my eyes shut. On the other hand, they weren’t exactly cuddly; they were genuinely eerie, I thought. Above all, the film-makers obviously knew how to do suspense and, judging by a lot of recent movies, that’s not an easy thing to do.