Monday 24 June 2013

Review: World War Z 3D (spoilers)

World of Blackout Film Review

World War Z (3D) Poster

World War Z (3D - SPOILERS)
Cert: 15 / 116 mins / Dir. Marc Forster

This latest addition to the Pitt-canon is a curious beast. A sort of zombie-flick for people who don't normally watch zombie-flicks, yet based on one of the most acclaimed zombie-novels whilst having nothing in common with the book except the title. Bizarre.

So, how does it fare? Well, it's a summer blockbuster starring Brad Pitt and Her Out Of The Killing*1, and that should tell you everything you need to know. It often feels more like an adaptation of a video-game than a novel, with its chiseled hero dashing through action-mission after escape-mission after stealth-mission, interspersed with talky-plot-cut-scenes. The final act in particular has more in common with Jurassic Park than Dawn of the Dead.

In short, it's not really a horror film, but then the trailers never suggested it was going to be. It's not the absence of gore that leaves me wanting, but rather that of engagement. There's never any doubt that our hero is going to stick around for the long-run, which wouldn't be a problem if he didn't go through action-sidekicks like sickbags on a rollercoaster. Secondary characters seem to be introduced with the sole intention of helping out for one 'level', imparting one piece of the solution and then dying (with one exception, and hero-Brad saves her by cutting her hand off, after which she's completely under-used). So while the structure is largely 'go to A to get B', it feels far more formulaic than it should when 'everything goes wrong so end up going to C, D and E as well'.

In the interests of full disclosure, I didn't particularly like the book either*2, but for completely different reasons. I just want you to know that I'm not complaining that it's not the same as the source material; I'm complaining because it's a very pedestrian film. I'm honestly not bothered that it's not exactly to my tastes, but I think it could (and should) be so much better*3. The 3D's not particularly good, either. There was a lot of ghosting, and the action-scenes feature too many fast-cuts to use it properly. If you think it's worth your money, go for the 2D.

If anything, I feel let down by how unremarkable The End Of The World is going to be...

For an action film, it's not too bad; but for a zombie film it's pretty damned poor. And since it's not called 'World War A', but 'World War Z'? Well…

WARNING: Contains Piers Morgan in the first five minutes.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Pretty much, yeah.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Sometimes. It has its moments.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
I'm going to go with 'no'. Your mileage may vary.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
DVD, tops.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
Maybe when it's £3 in the Sainsbury's DVD section?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
Not that I heard. I mean, come on

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
Now that the zombie genre is as irrevocably mainstream as the vampire one, where do we go from here?

*1 No offence intended, Mireille, but that's what I heard one patron in the cinema calling you.

*2 And yet I loved Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide. My problem with WWZ was that there wasn't a cohesive enough narrative; like it would make a fantastic series of blog posts, just not a great novel. But hey, that's just me.

*3 The most excited I got throughout the whole film was when I realised that the supermarket-scene (set in Philadelphia) was the bit that was filmed at Heyford Air Base, about 30 miles away from where I live. I got similarly excited in Sherlock Holmes 2 where they used the railway museum down the road from me. It's all go, round my way.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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