Zombies, I love ’em! So many great zombie films out there, many of them bringing something new to the whole zombie genre. Particular favourites of mine include Braindead for being so silly and 28 Weeks Later for being so serious. I even liked The Walking Dead before it stopped being about zombies and started being about people having arguments with each other. However, the latest addition to the zombie genre, World War Z by director Marc Foster, is a bit of a duff one in my humble opinion. It may come as no surprise that Foster also directed Quantum of Solace, the Bond film that missed the mark just like this movie did.
Let’s start with the title. The name is World War Z, which sounds like it could be a 1960s horror B-movie, except that this is in fact your standard Hollywood blockbuster. The title built me up for something quirky, but this was disappointingly deadpan. According to The Oatmeal, this film is nothing like the book whatsoever. I didn’t even realise this was an adaptation of a book until I read the credits. If I am to believe the blurb, the book actually looks at how such an apocalypse would devastate our planet, while the film is simply a relatively tame action movie. Understandably, fans of the book are disappointed.
The film stars the excellent Brad Pitt who intrepidly flies around the Earth trying to find a cure to this apocalyptic zombie virus. I say ‘excellent’ to imply that he’s been excellent in other things, although he’s actually rather uninspiring in this film. The zombs aren’t the staggering type, but more of the sprinting relentless type; think 28 Days Later. Anyway, all this flying and exposition meant less contact time with the zombies, and hence more boredom. When the action did come, it certainly wasn’t as creative as one might have hoped, but I did enjoy a scene where a myriad of undead people formed a scrabbling pile to climb over a wall. Interestingly, I saw this scene in a trailer before I realised that they were actually zombies, and was rather disturbed. It’s interesting how we can perceive the same image in different ways depending on the context; now that I knew they were zombies and as such had no feelings, it was fine that they should crush themselves against a wall.
There simply wasn’t enough peril in this film to keep me interested. For a whole twenty minutes near the beginning of the film, Brad Pitt and his family were sat on a boat hundreds of miles away from the zombies. There’s no danger in that scene, so the audience becomes less involved. You know that Pitt’s going to go back into the action somehow, so it’s just about waiting for him to do so. The plot seemed unnecessarily complicated; I couldn’t possibly tell you what they were doing in each of the countries they visited. While it’s nice to see zombies again, this will not be remembered as a classic of the genre. Perhaps a film for Pitt fans only. The book, on the other hand, looks quite interesting and I may well check it out.