Movie Review: World War Z

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(photo credit: Paramount Pictures)

(photo credit: Paramount Pictures)

A budget as high as $200 million; that has been the rumored cost of Brad Pitt’s World War Z. To put things in perspective Zombieland, Dawn of the Dead (2004), 28 Day Later and Warm Bodies budgets combined isn’t even half of the amount of World War Z‘s out-of-control cost. Zombie movies aren’t supposed to cost this much! Clashes on set with director Marc Foster and lead actor Brad Pitt made headlines, as well as the $30 million in extensive re-shoots all helped push the film from a December 2012 release to this week. Brad Pitt tries to save his family and mankind in World War Z.

In World War Z, Brad Pitt plays an ex United Nations employee named Gerry Lane who is pulled back into duty to save the world after a violent zombie outbreak. In order to keep his family safe, Gerry must globe-trot to many different locales in order to find the source of the outbreak which could inevitably lead to the cure. Fans of the book may be wondering what about the rest of the action from Max’s Brooks novel. I can tell you the only thing that Marc Foster’s film and Max Brook’s bestseller have in common is the title. For those of you looking for the Battle of Yonkers or Zombies frozen in the snow – you are going to be disappointed. Trust me when I say those omissions from the book are the least of World War Z‘s problems.

Not since Superman Returns have I seen a movie with budget so large where it made me think: What did they spend it on? I know traveling to different locations with crew and equipment can add up, but not to $200 million. Sure there’s some heavy CG scenes with zombies working as a biomass and a ton of extras, but those scenes shouldn’t cost that much with the right production strategy. Speaking of the zombies, they’re horrible. The only move in their killing repertoire seems to be the flying head-butt. At times the undead’s communication through teeth chattering noises was downright comical. No wonder Brad Pitt’s performance seemed way too calm for a guy living through the end of the world. It seems Pitt’s character Gerry was just as fearful of the zombies as the audience members were in the World War Z theater, whom were falling asleep in their chairs.

World War Z has a plot that is way too convenient with its medical discoveries, plane crash survivals and huge walls being constructed in a week to protect its citizens from the hordes of zombies waiting to head-butt them. I’m a Brad Pitt fan, but he is horribly miscast in World War Z.  Pitt’s character is way too calm and lacks the intensity and grit of man trying to survive the apocalypse. There’s only one thing that could have saved World War Z from Pitt’s too cool performance and a thin plot. The letter “R”.

Zombies movies are supposed to be rated R. Fans want the blood, the bites, and the head-shots in our zombie films. World War Z has none of that. You hardly see any blood and most bites are off camera or in the dark. I guess Paramount had no choice but to clean up World War Z since it had an astronomical budget to make up. In the end that budget caused the gore to be cut out of World War Z and we are left with what may be one of the biggest financial flops of the summer. Overall, I give World War Z  1.5 out of 4 potatoes.

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