"World War Z" (2013)- Movie Review

Directed by Marc Forster
Written by Drew Goddard, Matthew Carnahan and Damon Lindelof
Starring Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos and Fana Mokoena

‘Familiar Hollywood’

Unoriginality has always been present in Hollywood. Over the last few years, it has become more prominent than ever, taking away the potential of summer blockbusters and even acclaimed films. The demanding question, however, is why do filmmakers choose to take conventional routes instead of original ones?

Well, it seems like they are only interested in one thing: money. And that is why most movies nowadays, especially blockbusters, are only made for scoring high numbers at the Box Office. This is a popular trend that has the ability to divide opinions: either piss off people or make them happy.

Marc Foster’s “World War Z” unfortunately continues the trend of unoriginal movies that seem to be solely made for money. The zombie-apocalypse thriller is a middle-of-the-road, but entertaining pop-corn flick meant only for those looking for pure entertainment. A vivid familiarity resides with it, the kind of feeling one gets when they think they’ve seen the movie many times before. It may be due to the standard Hollywood cliches, ordinary plotting, and rather thin characters that the filmmakers choose to accept regardless of consequences. Movies of this type obviously aren’t anything other than entertainment, yet its still hard to shake off the fact that we’ve been down the same road a million times before.

The basic premise of “World War Z” is the ‘end of the world’. Based on Max Brooks’ novel, the film follows a United Nations employee named Gerry Lane who’s life is threatened by a zombie apocalypse that is on the verge of destroying humanity. With trained professionals, Lane sets out to save his own family as well the entire world from being completely wiped out by zombies.

Is Hollywood running out of ideas? It sure seems like it. The apocalypse, end-of-the-world genre is something that has been used so extensively that certain movies of this type are starting to feel similar. Numerous comparisons can be drawn between films such as “2012” and “The Day After Tomorrow”. “World War Z” is no better. It fails to offer anything truly exciting or original to the fading genre, and while it builds up suspense neatly, the film takes usual, predictable routes in the process. The result is a blockbuster that is neither good nor bad, just a mediocre time pass.

Marc Foster, the director of “Quantum of Solace” (the film that nearly ruined the James Bond series), appears to only care about visuals and little about telling a story. He handles the technical department seamlessly, providing a distinct look for the film through magnificent cinematography. In terms of how the movie looks, it could not have been more effective. The cinematography bubbles with distinctiveness and enhances the intense tone of the film. An example of where it comes across as effective is in the scene in which zombies are trying to get over a huge wall to eat humans. Its one of the most impressive set pieces of the movie filmed with wondrous talent and panache for filmmaking.

This produces implications, however, as focusing too much on something could make one lose track of the other. Marc Foster emphasizes visuals but pays less attention to the story, and this is where the film falls apart. The screenplay takes the easy, run-of-the-mill routes instead of throwing in twists or surprises. Its all a matter of getting the job done in a been-there-done-that way. None of the characters are fully developed and the screenwriters decide to give actors stereotypical roles such as the ‘hero’. “World War Z” features a highly interesting concept that has potential to succeed, yet the filmmakers’ execution of the topic is so bland that its hard to care for any of the characters, let alone the story in the end.

The cast is passable, and pretty much embodies the quality of the movie: neither great nor bad. With the exception of Brad Pitt, nobody stands out or makes an impact in the film. Pitt, on the other hand, is as always at the top of his game. A seasoned actor, he carries most of the movie’s dullness and redeems it through a fine performance. The role requires charisma and talent, both of which Pitt possesses and uses as assets to deliver the goods. Without this actor on board, “World War Z” would be like watching paint dry: boring. Considering how bad these kinds of movies can get without effective performances, the film would be much worse than it already is.

In a nutshell, this zombie apocalypse thriller is nothing more than a time pass. Despite a solid performance from Brad Pitt and stunning cinematography, it represents typical Hollywood accomplishing what they have regularly done over the last few years: grab money in a dreadful way. Of course fans of the apocalypse genre or people looking for pure entertainment are going to be satisfied, but what about others? It all comes down to how much one expects from this type of film. In this case its probably best to keep your expectations low.

2.5/5 stars

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