Back in the summer of 2013, I and a group of friends went to our local theater and we decided to see World War Z, I had seen a few trailers and it did look good, so I went in with an open mind. Needless to say, when I left the theater, I was massively disappointed. From its weak story and characters to its numerous plot holes, World War Z is a truly bad summer blockbuster.
The film begins with a retired CIA agent named Gerry Lane living a peaceful life with his wife and kids when a zombie epidemic hits their city and forces the family to seek shelter in Newark, there Gerry's old CIA friend, General Umuntoi arranges their rescue, but the house is invaded by zombies and they barley manage to it make out and are then transferred to a carrier group anchored off New York City. Now, Gerry must travel the globe to find a cure and stop the zombie epidemic.
Although I've never read the book that the movie is based off, I'm surprised the most fascinating elements of the book that weren't included in the movie were the exploration of how the zombie outbreak touches social and governmental foundations around the globe, but since Paramount and Marc Foster wanted to go for a more generic action movie, all the interesting ideas that the book had got tossed out the window and the PG-13 rating reflects that by throwing all the things that have become the trademarks of the zombie genre into something more watered down for family audiences and the action scenes that we do see in the movie are incredibly unsatisfying.
I'm flabbergasted by how cheap the film looks considering the 190 million it took to make, but when you watch the movie, it's hard to tell where all that money went because the zombies look incredibly fake and given the movie's desire to stay away from blood and gore, the only features that divide these zombies from people are cloudy eyes, gray skin and an affinity for showing and snapping their teeth. These aren't the hungry for brains zombies that we see in many other zombie movies and when viewed from afar, it's difficult to tell the zombies from actual people but even later on when they are shown in their passive state, it really shows how little the filmmakers know about how zombies work. The lurching and shrieks are intended to be frightening; however they come across as more comical than anything else with their teeth clicking, head banging and jerking resulting in some unintentionally funny moments.
Much like The Patriot, none of World War Z's characters are written well or have any complexities leaving us to not care if they live or die. Brad Pitt's character is a happy family man which is not only unoriginal but it fails to make him likable not to mention his marriage and daughters feel incredibly fake and ready-made that if Brad was ripped apart piece by piece by zombies in front of his family, it wouldn't have made any difference. The other characters are no better, just showing up when the plot requires they do or they serve no purpose to the overall story like a neurologist who does nothing but spout tasteless allegories about the weather then is just killed off because the film-maker clearly wants to put our hero in a dangerous situation.
There are numerous plot-holes in the film too: Zombies are able to identify a fatal illness just by gazing at a person and will evade that person for unknown reasons which make no sense, if a doctor with years of therapeutic education can't be able to do that without extensive experimenting then how would a mindless zombie be able to figure it out and second, why in the hell would a zombie avoid an ill person? The World Health Organization in Wales has a baseball bat in its weapons vault, does Marc Forster not know where Wales is, and were there no cricket bats around? The cell phone battery is proclaimed dead, yet in a later scene, it's working again. Seriously, Foster, seriously?! When the team decides to regain the aliment samples, they don't give Brad any instructions about what containers have what inside, but evidently one container is full of stuff that could kill him instantly. Really, really?! Also, Brad has no combat skills, leadership skills nor is he a doctor in this movie so why is he being tasked with leading this mission when there are far more qualified men then him? It doesn't make any sense.
Of course, I have to bring up the ending. Just when you think the plot can't get any worse, the film takes a down-hill slide in the last 40 minutes. We see Brad playing hide-and-seek with the zombies. There's absolutely no tension because the ending is declared 5 minutes into the scene, Brad goes to the part of the building that's crawling with zombies, get some aliment samples and return. They'll use one to contaminate themselves and see how the zombies will react. They of course don't, and Brad returns to his family and with a hollow speech about this isn't the end but only the beginning, one of the weakest movie endings ever in the history of cinema.
Now, is there anything good in this incoherent mess of celluloid? Well, Brad Pitt is great in it and while I'll say that this isn't his best movie, he's in no way bad or even just run-of-the-mill, he's great for this kind of role and he pulls it off quite well even if his character wasn't interesting or likable. The other actors are trying, but the script doesn't allow them to be as good as they could have been. But outside of that, World War Z isn't worth your time.
Review by Andrew Miller from the Internet Movie Database.