World War Z (2013) is a solid enough disaster thriller set against a zombie apocalypse that does leave you suspecting that overall, it is an opportunity missed.
Brad Pitt stars as Gerry Lane, husband and father to two daughters, and former UN investigator of wars and humanitarian disasters.
The film, was based on the highly acclaimed books by author Max Brooks, and is directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace, The Kite Runner, Machine Gun Preacher). The screenplay was written by Matt Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof.
Starting in Philadelphia, we find Pitt with his family as (and there isn’t a better way to describe this) people start turning into Zombies in mass numbers. Successfully fleeing to a military location, Pitt is recruited to assist in the investigation into the root of the epidemic, and in trying to locate a cure. Any refusal to do this, means his family and he will be removed from the protection of the military.
His investigation sees him travelling across the world trying to identify how the disease began and what can be done.
Funny thing about Zombies, is that the word quickly paints images of a film of flesh eating, brain munching and a generally gorey mess. In the defence of this film, it isn’t that. What it is, is an investigative thriller set against the backdrop of zombies running riot. As a result, I’d caution against any ‘I hate Zombie movies so I won’t watch this’ response to the film.
It has some ‘jump out’ moments, but it was the thriller aspect of the film that I enjoyed the most. Pitt does a good job and the international locations of the film keep it engaging and interesting (there is a hint of a James Bond film about the travel aspects through the movie).
The film went through some pretty well known re-writes and restructuring during its creation, including some large amounts of re-shooting post the initial schedule. Financially, the film was a box office success, and plans for a sequel are said to be underway albeit moving slowly.
In summary though, whilst it avoids the temptation to drift too far into a traditional Zombie film, it is above average film that with the material it had access to through the works of Brooks, should have been a lot more.