28 Oct 2013

World War Z

I finally watched the controversial  World War Z. A film plagued with controversy and pre and post production problems. There were expensive re-shoots and re-writes with what seem to be  five different writers by the time the film was completed.  Paramount was unhappy with the first ending and the third act was rewritten and shot, not to mention several delays with the release.

But the controversy was not about the expense or the problems, rather with the complete departure from the book it is based on. World War Z is an excellent novel, an oral history of how the world survived the Zombie apocalypse. Based on a book written after World War II, it is very popular. And while there was initial excitement with the project, the internet went sour as the film's premise was released.

But despite all this the film was rated 67% by rotten tomatoes, 7.1 by IMDB and 63 on Meta critic. More importantly it has made a lot of money. I guess it must be ok right?

Right Brad?
Both my girl and I loved the book, and we were both apprehensive about the film. But we decided to watch it and be objective. Sadly life got in the way and we missed it at the cinema. But it is out now and we sat down and watched it.
Ex UN investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt)  is caught up in a global Zombie apocalypse. After fighting his way through New Jersey, he and his family are rescued by his friend Thierry (Fana Mokoena) a survivor form the UN. Thierry and the military send Gerry out with a scientist (Elyes Gabel) to try and find the source of the plague.

Ensue Brad running from Zombies.
Run Brad Run!

Putting aside that the film is not the book (as disappointing as that is) we sat down to objectively watch and hopefully enjoy the film. The first act is all about Gerry trying to keep his family alive, in typical zombie movie fashion. Nothing new, but the action and the acting is fine. Brad Pitt as Gerry is both a tangible character and also an excellent  everyman character for the audience to identify with.
The film was shot in a way that as Gerry was working to keep his family alive; he was also taking in every detail of events as they unfolded which I liked.  Mireille Enos was a bit wasted really, you could see the humanity in her character and  she added depth to Pitts Gerry.

However from the second act on the film started to fall apart. As we watched the action (sadly most of which we had seen in the trailers) we started to question the story. By the end of the film our questions were quite vocal and our irritation was the only thing keeping us awake.

The story just didn't make much sense. I kind of appreciated where they tried to go, but not enough to derive enjoyment from the story. The film had its moments, Brad Pitt and the other actors gave fine performances, and I did like the manic depiction of the zombies. But with such a poor story it ceased to matter. Either a disaster movie and/or a zombie movie it was fragmented and poorly executed.

While I remain disappointed that the movie is massive departure from the book, the film ultimately fails from a poorly crafted story with too many plot holes.  I think the original concept was a potential trilogy, but that as not clearly communicated to the studio. Paramount did not like the end of the original film and wanted something more “up-beat” so we got the ending that they reshot.  It is clumsily executed and you are left wanting.  World War Z is very disappointing.

4.5 Monkeys

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