World War Z (2013)

Does every member of the undead have to be hopped-up on coke and speed?

Somehow, with no explanation whatsoever, the undead has suddenly woke up, only to now be blood-thirsty and biting every living human-being with their virus that spreads it on. Not only is it happening in America, but everywhere else all-over-the-globe as well and in the middle of it all is Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), a former United Nations member who gets called back to the line of duty in hopes to find a cure and beat this thing. Problem is, “the thing” that I’m referring to just so happens to be deadly, have little to no remorse, and as quick as lightning. So yeah, they’re pretty hard to get away from or kill.

Even though I can’t say I’m familiar with the Max Brooks novel, I do know all about the hooplah and controversy surrounding how this movie apparently only shares the same title, and that’s it. But that’s coming from a literary-side, if you look at it from a movie-side, you can already tell that this movie was landed in some hot water from the get-go as the ending had to be re-written, Pitt wasn’t talking to director Marc Forster, despite actually landing him the job in the first place, actual weapons were used instead of props, and a whole slew of other budget/editing problems as well. Basically, this movie was doomed from the start and it didn’t seem like anything it tried to pull, no matter how positive or cool; it still wasn’t going to make people happy or forget “what could have been”. Thankfully, the result isn’t as piss-poor as it may have seemed to be, but I still can’t say I’m typing this up with a smile on my face. More of a face of slick determination to say whatever the hell it is that I want to say.

Come to think of it, that’s my face for every review. Hm.

Even in the face of fear and death, Brad still finds a way to not only look sexy, but heroic as well. Whatta man.
Even in the face of fear and death, Brad still finds a way to not only look sexy, but heroic as well. Whatta man.

What I do have to give this movie some credit for is at least keeping the tension and suspense moving when it needed to. Forster has never been the type of director to really blow me away with anything that he’s brought to the big-screen, but he did a nice job at moving this story along at a fine pace, especially when he needed to do it in order to slide over the weaker parts of the flick, like story, or character-development, or any sense of meaning. That said, every set-piece that Forster gives us here is worth a watch, especially if you like big, action-packed set-pieces where zombies are flying-high, eating, and attacking human-beings, and the idea of having no idea what type of carnage you are going to see next. With that carnage, Forster is able to freak us out just enough to give us the willies, but if it weren’t PG-13, then we probably would have been more disturbed and messed-up.

However, seeing as this is a flick that wants to appeal to the wider-audience of zombie fans out there (and lord knows there’s plenty of them nowadays), you need to take in the fact that you’re not going to see huge loads of in-your-face blood, violence, and gore. Instead, you’re most likely going to see a couple of slides of blood on Pitt’s hands/t-shirt, violence that’s shown off-screen but heard, and moments where crucial parts of the body are hacked-off, but with barely any actual showing of the limbs or nastiness involved whatsoever.

It’s just so damn tame and feels like the movie was just trying too hard to get away with a PG-13 rating, and not even have the balls to go one step further and make it R. Honestly, in a day and age where Hershel’s getting his leg cut-off on television once a week, you’d think that movies would try to do the same, if not more considering they have more of freedom, but nope. They’re fine with just having a zombie movie without any close-ups on the freaky-looking zombies, or even giving us anything more than just a bunch of implied-bits of violence. That’s it. And trust me, I’m not some gore-thirsty freak that needs to see people getting cut up limb-by-limb, in full detail, but I would like to see more when you have a zombie flick, about people getting eaten alive and/or being beaten, just so they too can eat others alive. Just typing that wigs me out a bit, and that’s a weakness on my part, as well as many other’s, that this flick could have definitely capitalized on, had they not pussy-footed around it.

Also, as tense as this movie may be, the slower-parts do take over and try to give you some point of levity to these characters and the situation they are caught in, but it does not work. That’s not because the script blows or the characters blow, it’s just that the movie is so used to being big, loud, and CGI-packed, that when it comes to giving us the smaller, quieter moments that would make this more compelling and emotional; it drops the ball completely. Nobody here you really care for enough to where you want to see them survive, nor do they really make you feel like you could spend the end-of-the-world with them, and never got bored either. Every character here is just boring, dull, and uninteresting, and whenever the flick seems to want to get away from the killing and the human-flesh eating, there’s nothing else for it to go back to unless it wants to bore us to death. And when it does go back there, it does bore us to death. That much is true.

Yup, still sexy and heroic in the face of fear and death.
Yup, still sexy and heroic in the face of fear and death.

But I have to give Brad Pitt some amount of credit here because the dude knows what type of movie he’s in, and gives his heart and soul to making it work, especially with his performance as Gerry Lane. Pitt is in full-on, action-mode where he does a lot of running, hitting, shouting, commanding, and heavy-set staring, and does it all well with just the right amount of charm and likability to harvest our emotions over once the going gets going. Still though, the character doesn’t really have much else to him other than being nothing more than just an everyday dude, that comes up big when the people around him need him to the most. There is some form of gravitas given to this character because he’s played by Pitt, but not much else that you couldn’t seen done by any other actor on the face of the planet, which wouldn’t be a complaint for an actor in a role like this; but this is Tyler Durden we are talking about here! The dude should always have roles made for him, and put to perfection by him. Nothing more needs to be said on that.

Everybody else in this movie that shows up do what they can with the script, but as I said before: the movie doesn’t seem to give a shit about them, what they represent, or what they’re even trying to say, which is a total bummer because a movie like this could have really done something more than just being another dumb, loud, and action-packed summer flick. It could have put some more insight and humanity into the situation we had at hand here, but instead, appeals to the lowest common-denominator, which is all about big and angry things that go “boom”, “bang”, and “whack”. Whoever the members of the denominator are, will most likely be pleased with what they see here, but for the others who want a bit more with their zombies; it’s a huge bummer, if not as terrible as it looked right from the start. And yes, it did look THAT terrible.

Consensus: Considering it is the summer, and loud, big, action-packed movies like World War Z are common to see around and about, it should come as to no surprise to anyone that it is thrilling and fun at times, while also stupid, unengaging, and unoriginal by the same token. Expect nothing more but an alright time, and you’ll go home happy, if not needing more of your gore-fix.

6 / 10 = Rental!!

If that isn't the world's largest human/non-human pyramid, then I don't know what is!
If that isn’t the world’s largest human/non-human pyramid, then I don’t know what is!


  1. That kinda makes me sad, I was hoping the movie would be great. Since I’m one of those that likes zombie movies and happy endings. Oh well Brad Pitt I guess mediocre is the best we will ever get from you.

  2. Sad to see that you weren’t too thrilled about it, I’m a big Max Brooks fan and sorta loved it. Oh well, a 6 isn’t too bad when everything’s said and done 🙂

  3. I saw this last night and hated it with a passion. It’s nonsensical, stupid, PG-13 (a huge detractor!) and having read the book (even though it was a long time ago), I can safely say that it indeed shares only the title. Plus, the whole bit with the family could’ve been taken out without the “story” getting hurt. Well, whatever little story there is.

    I hope it flops hard.

  4. Nice review. Yeah, I was thinking it wouldn’t be very good. I haven’t seen a zombie movie in quite a while, but if I’ll probably end up watching this one when it come on Netflix.

  5. Good review – it’s a shame that this didn’t deliver a much as it could have, but it really suffered from bad word-of-mouth from the beginning. At least now I know to go in with no expectations, and that way I can enjoy it for what it is.

  6. Nice review dude, and pretty much what I had expected/feared about this movie. It could have gone either way and either have been great and epic or frustratingly mediocre. I might end up skipping this.

  7. “I do know all about the hooplah and controversy surrounding how this movie apparently only shares the same title, and that’s it.” It’s totally true, there are VERY few similarities between the book and movie.

    I graded it out a bit higher than you, but I hear all of your complaints, especially how “tame” it was. Absolutely. 😦

    Great review Dan!

  8. I keep reading people complaining about the lack of blood and gore. I didn’t think it needed any! If they lacked good zombie make-up and didn’t have those great CGI chase scenes and human pyramid, I would have complained. But I thought the rush of zombies was enough! Do you blame Gerry for running to fast to see anyone getting eaten alive? The cinematography stayed with Gerry to give us a realistic look at what was happening. Good review though! Here’s mine if you’d like to check it out!

  9. Completely in agreement about the gore. It’s ridiculous how tame this move is in order to get a certain rating. You can’t have a zombie film without some kind of biting or blood or limb-tearing. Like you, I’m not a fiend for blood and guts, but its omission is puzzling here.

  10. Totally agreed dude. Right down to the final score. See, I loved the book – it’s amazing. The film mentions one or two things from the book – namely Israel walling itself in, but that’s about it. Let’s see what the sequel’s going to bring now that it’s been greenlit!

  11. This line cracked me up “Somehow, with no explanation whatsoever, the undead has suddenly woke up, only to now be blood-thirsty and biting every living human-being with their virus that spreads it on.” Good point, there was no explanation at all about that. I also thought that the movie did a great job creating suspense and unease, from the opening through the plane crash. I was feeling incredibly anxious and uncomfortable up until that point. Like you said though, the movie drops the ball when it tries to address the quieter character-focused moments. It totally falters because you don’t have a reason to care about these people. I thought it could have used more gore as well, and I’m someone else who doesn’t consider myself a gorehound. You’re right that Brad Pitt makes the most of his part and is still good, despite the crappy picture he’s in. I think you got off easier because you haven’t read the book. You might have been a lot more pissed off by this movie if you did. Great review Dan.

  12. I liked the script. Holding a sign up saying “Tell my family I love them” is so much quieter and more restrained than screaming at the top of your lungs, “Noooooooooooo!” There were moment of CGI to represent the worldwide destruction, but the focus on human drama was nice.

  13. Agree with your review man, there’s no character to connect with, I left the theater feeling like I didn’t know any of the characters, not even Pitts character, there’s no one to care about. They just don’t create the situations for you to care for them and that’s something you have to take time to do in your film if you want your audience engaged. Still fun times, just not memorable or original.

  14. You know, I’ve seen so many zombie movies and most come off like they were written and directed by a 14-year-old, with the budget entirely funded by his paper route. Even the classics of the genre, while they have their place, are done on such small budgets the movie just never becomes what it was intended to be. In this sense, WWZ excelled. It had decent effects and scenes, and I thought the most thrilling moments were the mob scenes, with everyone running in chaos and life felt threatened by possibly being trampled, never mind the zombies.

    Personally, I appreciated the restrained approach to thegore. This genre is so saturated in that sort of thing – zombies chewing the guts out of some poor guy, usually in an attempt to make up for it’s many other weaknesses. It was a nice change to not have blood and guts up-front and center stage, like it is the main attraction. At no point did I not get it though — people are being chewed up. That I didn’t see it in close-up was fine.

    Great review.

  15. I’m so over the zombie fad. Actually, I was never really, uh, “under” it. Still, this had a good trailer, and I was intrigued. Sounds like a rental. Thanks for the review!

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