"Mother Nature is a serial killer. No one's better. Or more creative. Like all serial killers, she can't help the urge to want to get caught. What good are all those brilliant crimes if no one takes the credit? So she leaves crumbs. Now the hard part, why you spend a decade in school, is seeing the crumbs. But the clue's there. Sometimes the thing you thought was the most brutal aspect of the virus, turns out to be the chink in its armor. And she loves disguising her weaknesses as strengths. She's a bitch." Expect this when watching World War Z. This apocalyptic horror film directed by Marc Forster. Adapted by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard, based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Max Brooks. The film follows Gerry Lane, a retired United Nations employee who must travel the world in a race to find a way to stop a zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.
Pitt's Plan B Entertainment secured the film rights in 2007 and Forster (Monster's Ball (2001), Finding Neverland (2004), The Kite Runner (2007) and Quantum of Solace (2008)) was approached to direct. In 2009, Carnahan (The Kingdom (2007) and State of Play (2009)) was hired to rewrite the script to the film. In addition, Damon Lindelof (Lost, Star Trek (2009), Prometheus (2012) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)) was hired to rewrite the third act, but did not have the time to finish the script and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield (2008) and The Cabin in the Woods (2012)) was hired to polish it. Filming began in July 2011 in Malta on an estimated $125 million budget, before moving to Glasgow in August 2011 and Budapest in October 2011. Originally set for a December 2012 release, the production suffered some setbacks. In June 2012, the film's release date was pushed back and the crew returned to Budapest for seven weeks of additional shooting. The reshoots took place between September and October 2012.
I could go on about how the cast were spectacular and gave brilliant performances, which they all did. But the one actor I would like to talk about is Brad Pitt. Pitt delivered a capable performance in an immersive apocalyptic spectacle about a global zombie uprising. His character was the central piece that drove the entire film forward. This kind of role reminds me of the performance in Se7en (1995), where he had a director and a script that pushed him as an actor to break out of his "pretty-boy" image and be convincing and capable as a true performer.
World War Z is a kinetic, violent and surprisingly worthy zombie movie that pays homage to other zombie movies while working on its own terms. The film works and it delivers just about what you expect when you buy your ticket. But it lacks some vital elements from the novel and the plot flatlines with the third act. Which, in some ways, was tricky, witty and smart.
Simon says World War Z receives: