World War Z

Director: Mark Forster (2013)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz
Find it: IMDB

Yes, I know it's pronounced 'Zed' (rhymes with 'head') but in this case, you have to say it 'zee', otherwise you're missing out on a great pun. In this high-budget zombie thriller film, Brad Pitt plays ex United Nations employee Gerry Lane, called upon to investigate the origins of a terrible undead plague which sweeps the globe and threatens the lives of literally everyone in the world. Whatever else World War Z might do wrong, you simply can't fault its sense of scale.

And, bless him, Pitt gamely gives it his all in a genre that one wouldn't normally associate with the A-list hunk. Make no mistake, World War Z is dumbed down zombie action for the same audiences that enjoyed I Am Legend, but it's still far more enjoyable than any Transformers or Pirates of the Carribean sequel. Fast and furious, its zombies don't have much in the way of personality, but they more than make up for it in tenacity. They make the rage monsters of 28 Days Later look like shambling Romero corpses by comparison.

It's a wonder Pitt manages to last as long as he does. Constantly falling over, stumbling about and making noises where he really should be quiet (now would be a good time to activate that phone's quiet mode), one can't help but wonder why it is everyone seems to regard him as something of an expert when it comes to staying alive in shithole places. Even his hair is a liability.


Mireille Enos has considerably less to do as Gerry's wife, although she works just fine with the material she does get. Familiar faces such as David Morse, Peter Capaldi and, oddly, Matthew Fox pop up throughout the film, although the cast doesn't feel particularly diverse given the size of the canvas the story is playing out on. Of its action sequences, the aeroplane and Jerusalem bits work best, although there's not a duff action beat among them all. Even the CGI serves the film well, giving us more zombies at a time than we've ever seen before. Their speed and the lack of gore will put many off, but I enjoyed it plenty for what it is - an over-serious Zombieland, on an epic scale.

Now, the elephant in the room: World War Z is fuck all like Max Brooks' novel. It's an adaptation in name only. While I thought that the book was vaguely overrated, to some, this utter lack of fidelity will be a deal-breaker. Myself, I managed to dig it in spite of its flaws. Like star Brad Pitt, it could do with a bit of a trim, but it looks good and is surprisingly difficult to dislike.

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