MOVIE REVIEW: WORLD WAR Z

Some genres just don’t die. They transcend over different era and time. Iconic monster and creature-themed movies are just one of them, subjected to various form of metamorphosis and evolution throughout the years. George A. Romero may have invented the most “original” zombie of all time but with rapid transgression of the genre in recent years, zombie movie begins to merge with refreshing idea and concept, just at the moment when you think you have seen enough. A romantic comedy cross-over like Warm Bodies is a starter - truly enchanting with unique aspect of apocalyptic feature that still has its warmness. If that genre mash up is not big enough, try World War Z, an adaptation of Max Brook's 2006 novel of the same title.



Genre: Action/Adventure/Horror/Science Fiction/Thriller
Classification: P13
Release Date: 20 June 2013
Running Time: 115 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures (via United International Pictures)
Director: Marc Foster
Screenplay: Screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard and Damon Lindelof; Story by J. Michael Straczynski, Matthew Michael Carnahan and Max Brooks
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Fana Mokoena, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox

Plot: The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop a pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.
In World War Z (known as WWZ hereafter), Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is a retired crisis investigator for the United Nations, whose skills he possessed are called into action in the form of help when an outbreak of a rabies-like virus caused the infected to become the undead, flesh-monger creature. Before he is able to offer his reluctant help, he needs to bring his family into safety, going through horrendous outbreaks in the city of Philadelphia. After surviving separate attacks, Gerry leaves his family to pursue a piece of memo in Korea which could be a key in finding the origin of the outbreak. Armed with very little and limited resources, a series of clues and events lead Gerry to realize that the answer to win the outbreak is not really a vaccine but could be in a form of action that changes the understanding of sciences on the outbreak.

Even when the production of WWZ was marred with troubles on all angles that could lead this into fear of flop, the outcome of this 113-minute horror-science-thriller mash up is surprisingly amazing and strong. Even when the movie is not intended to end this way, the studio's gamble to change the whole third act is indeed a wise choice that pays off cinematically. Of course, the change causes the movie to be uneven as the story tends to shift tectonic focus from family-oriented survival to horror thriller and to science fiction in a flicker of switch. But the intention is never been this clearer. With the movie able to convert these transitions smoothly without even disrupting the pacing and the original idea seed is a pure success that cannot be neglected. Some may argue that the first act which desperately engages the audience into forgetting their pre-production issue is a frantic half an hour urban survival much akin to most disaster movies you have seen before. The gore and blood is not the ingredient to look for here, but the essence of fear which will later takes it to a new level.

Then the second act arrives in a puredom of energy that takes the action and urgency scene-by-scene with possibly the Jerusalem attack as one of the highlight that sells the movie through the trailer and inside the movie. As if pheromones seems to converge the flesh-hunters to swamp like hyperactive ants climbing the tall wall of the city, the adrenaline in set pieces are highly admirable. Ultimately, it comes to the point where everything is destined to change from all the pre-productions – the third act. It is easy to spot who is influencing this act the most and you are absolutely right if you have figured out much of Damon Lindelof’s traces all over. Instead of raising the stake by continuing the Jerusalem horde-attack, the movie takes a swift into a different direction. With compelling internal set-pieces, the movie raises the bar by going smaller and local. I am quite amazed by the new direction the movie dives for the third act but is nevertheless still cinematically fitting.

But of course, WWZ is not safe from all the minus points. The plot is ridiculously simplistic but occasionally found itself way over-the-top and unbelievably scripted. The lack of gore which is highly associated with zombie movies could be a turn off for some hardcore audiences. Plus, any fans who prefer the purest form of adaptation of Max Brook’s novel should feel disappointed because the movie form hardly takes the elements that made the book so enjoyable in the first place.

In the end, WWZ transforms into a mixture of complex fuels that not only still delivers on the horror or survival themes, but also gives in additional issues that relate to possible international conspiracy, geopolitical differences and epidemiology in new perspectives. After all, World War Z is blessed with strong, divertive and unique plot that merged well with spectacular set pieces and actions that truly engage and intense, as well as a solid performance from Brad Pitt; while uneven elements, lack of gore and unfaithfulness to the source materials could be the deterrent factors. But just like Richard Roeper’s summary, this is entertaining as hell!

MY RATING:
Story: 4.0
Casts: 4.0
Cinematography: 4.5
Effects: 4.5
GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 16.2/20.0



World War Z
Last Reviewed by Bernard Patrick Chung on June 23 2013
Rating: 4.0
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About Bernard Chung

Bernard Patrick Chung. Malaysian. Chinese. Biochemical engineering graduate. Movie buff. Writes for Green Tea Movie!! Coldplay, Linkin Park, and Muse. Christopher Nolan and J.J. Abrams. Android and Sony. Manchester United F.C. and Red Bull Racing.