June 23, 2013

World War Z (2013)

"United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself."

It's not often that a Summer movie is so boring that I can barely bring myself to write a review of it, but "World War Z" has easily earned that dubious honour for this year. I'm not so secretly still hoping that someone will announce how the movie is meant to be a high-brow meta-parody of the zombie subgenre just so that I can stop feeling disgusted with myself for wasting two hours on this utter shite. Given its lack of tension or scares, the unintentional laughs which certain scenes are likely to provoke suggest that has to be some multi-million dollar trolling, right?

Very loosely based on a novel by Max Brooks which I've never heard of and have no intention of reading, "World War Z" is little more than several CGI-fuelled action set pieces (which are given away in the trailer) padded out with a whole lot of nothing else. Fundamentally, it's a big-budget attempt to cash-in on the success of "The Walking Dead" and all the other apocalyptic-virus/zombie movies which sheep-like teenagers have ironically bought into.

The running zombies from "28 Days Later" (which I also loathe) are back again, but this time they have a hive-mind like ants or the numpties who waste all day posting on Reddit. That, in itself, should give "World War Z" a minor claim to originality except not really. If you ever watched a certain episode of "The Burning Zone" TV series back in the day, the concept of a sentient virus has been done before but better. It's not exactly a new idea. Philosophers have been speculating about this very thing, vis-à-vis mankind's relationship to the planet, for centuries.

The other big difference between "World War Z" and the thousands of zombie clones already in existence is that this movie is appropriately named as a cure for insomnia. I assume once again that the "Z" is meant to be some kind of in-joke about sending the audience to sleep rather than standing for "zombies" or Z-grade which it most certainly is.

Glasgow has become so Americanised!

Contrivances abound such as using the liability of an asthmatic kid to bring Brad Pitt's character into a direct, street level confrontation with the world gone mad, but the worst part of the "adventure" (for that is what it is) is the wild goose chase all over the world to find the answer to how the outbreak started. It serves no purpose other than to show zombies running amok in more countries.

As with every Summer movie, there's lots of gunfire, vertigo-inducing aerial shots, huge explosions (including the obligatory exploding helicopter and a plane crash), and it's all very loud. Unfortunately, even with the mid-range turned up to deafen everyone, Brad Pitt is still a mumbler, the African actor who plays his United Nations boss has an accent that's almost impenetrable, and the lack of characterisation means that nobody cares what anyone is saying anyway. Apparently, the actors were told to improvise their own dialogue, and it shows badly. Just a minor quibble, but isn't this why movies have writers?

With its predominantly blue, green and beige palette, and no bright red blood or gore to get excited about, "World War Z" is particularly bland visually. The camerawork is awful, some scenes are way too dark, and the quick cuts in the action scenes mean that its impossible to tell who is doing what to who. The fact that so little time is spent on characters who randomly appear only to disappear again just as quickly render the whole movie emotionally inert so why would you even care in the first place?

Characterisation is actually so flat that if you aren't looking out for it, you're unlikely to catch the name of Brad Pitt's character let alone anyone else's. It's Gerry, by the way, but I couldn't tell you the names of his wife or children despite the story pointlessly cutting back and forth to them onboard an aircraft carrier. Whoever his ginger-haired wife is, she doesn't do anything except look mopey and hug her greasy-haired brats so what's the point of her? Gingers have no souls anyway and neither does whoever made this horrible movie. Ah yes, it's Marc Forster, the same guy who made the equally unwatchable "Quantum of Solace". Case proven.

I could bitch about "World War Z" all day, but I'm not going to. Nine paragraphs is more than enough to critique a boring, PG-13 rated zombie movie which wouldn't even be worthy of the SyFy channel if Brad Pitt wasn't involved in it. Forget the 3D gimmick too, it's a waste of the extra $3 which you could use to buy a DVD of a real horror movie meant for adults instead.

Although I could have summed-up "World War Z" in one four-letter word with an optional seven-letter expletive preceding it, I'll leave it with an even better three-letter word:


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