The movie that I have looked forward to the most this summer, and maybe this year although it is a tight race with “Ender’s game,” is “World War Z.” I was not able to go see the movie on opening day but I did get a chance to go see it a week after its release, in 3D no less, and I left the theater with one word on my mind. This is the summation of the review for this movie in four syllables: disappointing.
The movie is purported to be based on the novel “World War Z” by Max Brooks but the similarities stop with the title and the fact that both are about a worldwide outbreak of zombies due to a virus. Other than those two facts, there really is no correlation between the novel and the movie. I figured this would be the case once I had read the novel as it is a scattered retelling of the war from various perspectives while the movie is centered on one character. Still, the trailers for the movie looked very good so I had high hopes going into the movie.
The trailers for the movie showed some spectacular visual effects that have not been seen in a zombie movie before. In particular, the zombie swarm throwing itself at the high wall was one that looked absolutely fantastic (and was actually something that was mentioned in the book but not really explored). True to the trailers, the visuals in this movie were spectacular and relatively new to the zombie genre. There were times in which the special effects almost took my breath away. The movie is worth going to see just to see the action sequences which were very well done. I would, however, recommend seeing the movie in 2D as I thought that some of the impact of the special effects was lost due to the 3D which at times made the fast action seem a little blurry.
The downfall of the movie was the story which was very weak. There was very little to the story rather than to move Brad Pitt from one situation to another. This is where the movie was much weaker than the novel. The novel painted a broad spectrum of the zombie apocalypse while the movie boiled the story down to focus on Brad Pitt’s character, and ex-U.N. investigator who is too good to be believable, who is forced into action by the government. There is little back-story here or any look into how the zombie virus originated (one of the stronger points of the novel). The movie was not really about the war with the zombies. It was about how Brad Pitt would save, or try to save, the world.
There is no real resolution in “World War Z.” In fact, the movie goes out of its way to let the viewer know that the war between humans and zombies is far from over. This is the perfect set-up for a sequel and I am sure that we will see one in the next couple of years. I only hope that a sequel would follow the book more closely and show the human impact of the war worldwide rather than just focusing on one man as the hero of the day. There were so many different aspects to the zombies in the novel that were not touched in the movie that they could make a couple more movies just to cover the material that they have to work with from the book (and make sure the submarine scene is in the sequel if one is made, please). Overall, “World War Z” is not a bad movie per se as long as it is taken for what it is: a simple action movie with zombies as the enemy. The visual effects lived up to the billing but the story was extremely shallow. If you are a fan of zombie movies, then I would recommend seeing this movie in theaters as it is visually stunning. Just do not get your hopes up too high like I did. It will only lead to disappointment.