Latest Movie News Headlines

Review: World War Z (Chris Bumbray's take)

Jun. 20, 2013by: Chris Bumbray

(Read JimmyO's more positive review here)

PLOT: A former UN investigator, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is forced to leave his family when a Zombie pandemic threatens the population with annihilation .

REVIEW: Anyone who follows movie news can tell you that WORLD WAR Z has been an exceedingly troubled production. We’ve all heard the stories about how the ending of the film was gutted in favor of a scaled-down, re-written (by Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard) and reshot final forty minutes. Everyone expected this to be some kind of disaster, but the early reviews were surprisingly positive, making it seem like whatever they did to the movie worked.

Having finally seen the finished film for myself, I can say this. Two-thirds of WORLD WAR Z are pretty damn good. By that I mean everything up to the part that was re-done. While this Vanity Fair article suggests the original ending was a disaster, I’m not so sure they were better off with their pricey fix, as the current version of the movie absolutely deflates once the new material begins.

To be fair to Goddard and Lindelof, it’s not like WORLD WAR Z is by any means a great movie prior to their new ending, but I’d certainly say it’s a good one. I read Max Brooks’ novel “World War Z” a few years ago, and I thought it was pretty amazing. However, I also remember thinking to myself that it would be almost impossible to adapt into a film unless it was done as some kind of limited cable anthology miniseries (the audio book version, done in the style of a radio drama, is awesome). Bits and pieces of Brooks’ book have made it into the film, with Pitt’s UN investigator occasionally meeting up with people who tell him stories that aren’t necessarily faithful to the book, but are in the same spirit. Of these sequences, David Morse’s cameo as a turncoat CIA agent who just escaped North Korea (who’ve come up with a brutal but ingenious solution I won’t reveal here), and James Badge Dale’s bit as a macho Navy SEAL come the closest to Brooks’ style. I guess the filmmakers were less interested in making this a geo-political thriller than a budget-busting action movie. Any attempt at infusing the script with the social commentary present in Brooks’ book is absent. While infuriating to fans such as myself, to a point the film still works.

The key to the movie’s initial success is Brad Pitt. As Gerry Lane, Pitt makes a believable, thinking man’s action hero. His main goal is to keep his family safe- with his wife played by THE KILLING’s Mireille Enos- something we can all relate to, and a staple of the zombie genre. One he leaves them to embark on his globe-trotting adventure, the film loses its emotional undercurrent, although it still delivers in spectacle. In its current form, WWZ has three big action sequences, with the initial outbreak in Philadelphia being the first. The most spectacular of these is the second- where Pitt finds himself in a walled sanctuary in Israel being overrun by a horde of thousands- which provides most of the eye candy we’ve seen in the trailers. The scariest and most ingenious set-piece is the attack on-board a plane, which occurs about an hour into the movie. So far so good, right?

Mostly. Even here, WORLD WAR Z is not without its problems, most of which stem from the shoehorned PG-13 rating. The zombies are incredibly generic for a $200 million movie, easily dwarfed by anything from an episode of THE WALKING DEAD. Again, this is probably due to the rating, as they can’t look too scary. Even still, WORLD WAR Z is incredibly tame (MAN OF STEEL is more violent). The attacks are cut so fast you never get a clear idea of what’s going on (the same problem as director Marc Forster’s Bond-flick, QUANTUM OF SOLACE), which isn't helped by the 3D, which reeks of a hasty post-conversion. As most of the movie takes place in the dark, often the action is hard to make out. Still, for the first two-thirds it’s entertaining, and I especially liked some of Pitt’s ideas on how to survive a zombie attack, which are taken from Brooks’ own “Zombie Survival Guide”. WWZ also has a terrific score by Marco Beltrami, which is partially performed by Muse, giving this an interesting sound that differentiates it from your typical action score.

However, once the re-shot footage begins the movie absolutely goes into the toilet. Without giving away too much, what had previously been a large-scale action movie suddenly turns into a claustrophobic thriller, which it simply doesn’t have the smarts to pull off. Lindelof and Goddard come up with a MacGuffin to bring the film to a speedy conclusion (while leaving the door open for a sequel), but it feels so convenient and undercooked the audience I saw this with at the premiere could help but chuckle here and there. Some critics I respect have told me they thought the ending works as it is, but to me it kills any momentum the film has going, and ends the film on a rushed, sour note. While I’m sure the original ending must have been bad if it was scrapped at such a huge expense to the studio, from the way I’ve heard it described it sounds more in keeping with the rest of the film and even somewhat true to Brooks’ novel (the “lobo” or “lobotomizer” was apparently introduced). The new ending is cheap and all too convenient considering what came before.

To me the ending is an absolutely fatal flaw in what up to then had been an unremarkable if entertaining tentpole action movie. At its best, it’s never all that great, but it was more than decent. Had the ending been consistent with the first two-thirds, I would have given this an easy 7/10. But, the ending is bad enough it ruined the movie for me, and I find that I can’t really recommend two-thirds of a good movie. Maybe one day Paramount will release the original version, and we’ll be able to see for ourselves whether or not the original ending was a bad as it was cracked up to be.

Source: JoBlo.com

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

+0
5:33PM on 06/24/2013

So...why Zombies?

It isn.'t unitil almost the 3rd act they mention "zombie" or "walking dead"...seriously, I saw no walking dead (or running) in this movie. I saw infected people biting people and infecting them. No dead rising.
This was the Rage from "28 Days Later"
Plus the logistics had me baffled. How can an infection that turns people into lunatics after 12 seconds be spread accross oceans? Yeah the soldier in korea said it can take minutes...but still...I call BS.
It isn.'t unitil almost the 3rd act they mention "zombie" or "walking dead"...seriously, I saw no walking dead (or running) in this movie. I saw infected people biting people and infecting them. No dead rising.
This was the Rage from "28 Days Later"
Plus the logistics had me baffled. How can an infection that turns people into lunatics after 12 seconds be spread accross oceans? Yeah the soldier in korea said it can take minutes...but still...I call BS.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:07PM on 07/02/2013
That was an issue that the book completely addressed... and addressed it well. Read the book. Far better than the painfully generic film.
That was an issue that the book completely addressed... and addressed it well. Read the book. Far better than the painfully generic film.
-1
10:09AM on 06/23/2013

ok Chris..........

I'm getting the feeling that your reviews aren't quite on par with the rest of the community here or most other places...your Man of Steel review can only carry you so far...LOL... anyway I haven't seen WWZ yet but everyone is saying they really really liked it...people I know and internet alike. You were WAAAY off with Monsters University too....you gave that one a 5 as well. I can see being one or two points off from the rest of the ideological crew but 5's are getting into just plain 'BAD'
I'm getting the feeling that your reviews aren't quite on par with the rest of the community here or most other places...your Man of Steel review can only carry you so far...LOL... anyway I haven't seen WWZ yet but everyone is saying they really really liked it...people I know and internet alike. You were WAAAY off with Monsters University too....you gave that one a 5 as well. I can see being one or two points off from the rest of the ideological crew but 5's are getting into just plain 'BAD' area...
So...without any further [link] FIRED from my list of good reviewers.. your on the list of 'Been Reviewing Way Too Many Movies Lately And Am Out of Gas..So I Keep Giving Movies Bad Reviews After I Saw Man of Steel LIST'
So I bid you ADEW
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:48AM on 06/23/2013

HMMM

The last act was a let down. Can't get into it without spoilers but I suppose military could have better gear to protect themselves rather than standard fight till you die attitude. I mean protective gear as they have everything else for similar style situation. Also the final act reminded me a lot of Warning Sign. The intensity was lost. Main main gripe being why the hell they didn't show full gore attacks rather than stick to cuts.
The last act was a let down. Can't get into it without spoilers but I suppose military could have better gear to protect themselves rather than standard fight till you die attitude. I mean protective gear as they have everything else for similar style situation. Also the final act reminded me a lot of Warning Sign. The intensity was lost. Main main gripe being why the hell they didn't show full gore attacks rather than stick to cuts.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+2
3:14AM on 06/21/2013
I beg to disagree with this review. Pretty much from the get-go, this was an intense film in which Brad Pitt's character was easy to get behind the entire way through. He brought fantastic acting chops to what could have been a generic action-zombie flick. But with Pitt at the lead of this, the film was made intense and it was just different enough from the usual zombie fare that I didn't feel like I was watching something I'd seen a dozen times previously. I also disagree about the ending. It
I beg to disagree with this review. Pretty much from the get-go, this was an intense film in which Brad Pitt's character was easy to get behind the entire way through. He brought fantastic acting chops to what could have been a generic action-zombie flick. But with Pitt at the lead of this, the film was made intense and it was just different enough from the usual zombie fare that I didn't feel like I was watching something I'd seen a dozen times previously. I also disagree about the ending. It was a welcome change of pace. If it were just another action scene, I probably wouldn't have been as into it, but the slow tension and build and the genuine danger the characters faced was thrilling. Coupling this with a tad bit of an unusual twist was a nice change for once. I've no idea what the original ending was supposed to be, but I like how this film ended. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and actually had no real prediction about Gerry's fate. I found this to be a very enjoyable film that deviated from the typical formula some. Even the PG-13 aspects didn't bother me much. The gore was not necessary to convey the horror in this world. This is one review I really don't get behind.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:16AM on 06/21/2013

quite good

Watched it already,,quite intense felick..
Watched it already,,quite intense felick..
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:14AM on 06/21/2013
I'm sorry but WWZ is just bad. Saw it last night and couldn't take it seriously at all. The third act is chock-full of unintentional humor and had almost everyone in the cinema giggling, and the second act is void of any real emotion. This movie had so much potential but it fell flat on its ass. I don't expect everything to be as serious as The Walking Dead, but at least decide if you want to be an action film or a gritty, character-driven one. Trying to pull off both like a hotshot just messes
I'm sorry but WWZ is just bad. Saw it last night and couldn't take it seriously at all. The third act is chock-full of unintentional humor and had almost everyone in the cinema giggling, and the second act is void of any real emotion. This movie had so much potential but it fell flat on its ass. I don't expect everything to be as serious as The Walking Dead, but at least decide if you want to be an action film or a gritty, character-driven one. Trying to pull off both like a hotshot just messes everything up. I really like Brad Pitt, and it's clear that he gave this his all, but the movie just doesn't tug at me like a good zombie movie should. Too many cliches, big action scenes for the sake of eye candy, and really, really bad acting on the part of the zombies (those that are not CGI). Should have passed on this.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-5
9:06PM on 06/20/2013

Not a fair Review !!

Unfair, Unrealistic, just bad Review !!!
Unfair, Unrealistic, just bad Review !!!
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:42PM on 06/20/2013
I can't really resist watching anything zombie related, and with Brad Pitt as the lead I'll be opening my wallet this weekend. I expect to walk away with the same impression I had after I AM LEGEND, knowing it could have been better, but still had a good time.
I can't really resist watching anything zombie related, and with Brad Pitt as the lead I'll be opening my wallet this weekend. I expect to walk away with the same impression I had after I AM LEGEND, knowing it could have been better, but still had a good time.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:15PM on 06/20/2013

shove your opinion

mannnnnnnn screw chris bumbray
mannnnnnnn screw chris bumbray
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:37PM on 06/20/2013
At least he put some effort into his opinion.
At least he put some effort into his opinion.
4:22PM on 06/20/2013
Sadly, you can't rule out that it did take effort.
Sadly, you can't rule out that it did take effort.
11:00AM on 06/20/2013
Taking the kids to Monsters U. Finally seeing Supes.

WWZ is a Redboxer...
Taking the kids to Monsters U. Finally seeing Supes.

WWZ is a Redboxer...
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:53AM on 06/20/2013
Taking the kids to Monsters U. Finally seeing Supes.

WWZ is a Redboxer...
Taking the kids to Monsters U. Finally seeing Supes.

WWZ is a Redboxer...
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-11
9:47AM on 06/20/2013
Goddammit!! Are there no good summer blockbusters this year? Iron Man 3 was garbage, I think I fell into the plotholes of Star Trek, Man of Steel everyone thinks sucked (I thought it was great), and now WWZ sucks too (even if we all saw it coming). Goddamn! There's something wrong when the best movie of the summer so far with all that's been mentioned above is Fast and Furious 6! I am officially hanging my hat on Pacific Rim, Elysium, and Lone Ranger, if those fail miserably too than 2013
Goddammit!! Are there no good summer blockbusters this year? Iron Man 3 was garbage, I think I fell into the plotholes of Star Trek, Man of Steel everyone thinks sucked (I thought it was great), and now WWZ sucks too (even if we all saw it coming). Goddamn! There's something wrong when the best movie of the summer so far with all that's been mentioned above is Fast and Furious 6! I am officially hanging my hat on Pacific Rim, Elysium, and Lone Ranger, if those fail miserably too than 2013 is officially the worst year for movies!
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:03AM on 06/20/2013
LOL.. Who are you refering to when you say "Man of Steel everyone thinks sucked". Most people loved the MAN OF STEEL. I f you mean some Critics thought it sucked than that's more accurate. Stop sucking the critics dicks and maybe you wont be disappointed.
LOL.. Who are you refering to when you say "Man of Steel everyone thinks sucked". Most people loved the MAN OF STEEL. I f you mean some Critics thought it sucked than that's more accurate. Stop sucking the critics dicks and maybe you wont be disappointed.
12:25PM on 06/20/2013
Actually with Man of Steel, I think I've seen more positive critic reviews for that film than negative. But I have seen a lot of articles on a number of different sites with people criticizing and tearing apart Man of Steel, mostly nitpicky things, but still.

All I'm saying, is there is yet to be a film released this summer that is being called great across the board, critics and fans included. Usually there's at least 1-2 a summer that everyone raves about. So you can be a keyboard
Actually with Man of Steel, I think I've seen more positive critic reviews for that film than negative. But I have seen a lot of articles on a number of different sites with people criticizing and tearing apart Man of Steel, mostly nitpicky things, but still.

All I'm saying, is there is yet to be a film released this summer that is being called great across the board, critics and fans included. Usually there's at least 1-2 a summer that everyone raves about. So you can be a keyboard warrior and try to sound tough all you want while you're sitting at your desk eating a Snickers, but you know what I'm saying is right.
+5
9:46AM on 06/20/2013

sigh

I hate to hear this. I'm personally a big Lindeloff fan and this is sure to fuel the haters even more.
I hate to hear this. I'm personally a big Lindeloff fan and this is sure to fuel the haters even more.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:27AM on 06/20/2013
Wow, 5/10? Is it that bad?
Wow, 5/10? Is it that bad?
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:58AM on 06/20/2013
It sounds like it's that "meh". Really middle of the road unremarkable meh.
It sounds like it's that "meh". Really middle of the road unremarkable meh.
12:33PM on 06/20/2013
That bad? I'm surprised it's that good.
That bad? I'm surprised it's that good.
3:19AM on 06/21/2013
Not, it's really not. It's actually quite enjoyable and does a good job of being consistently exciting. At least, I liked it quite a bit. But then, that's just me.
Not, it's really not. It's actually quite enjoyable and does a good job of being consistently exciting. At least, I liked it quite a bit. But then, that's just me.
4:15AM on 06/20/2013
I think the movie looks like a fun time. Hopefully seeing it Thursday night.
I think the movie looks like a fun time. Hopefully seeing it Thursday night.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:40AM on 06/20/2013
I think the thing about the ending is that it immediately goes smaller in scale instead of going bigger, so it doesn't end on a climactic, big action set piece. But I think there was enough tension in that final "stealth mode" bit that it worked. For a film with a hastily re-written ending, it comes off better than it could have, and I was surprised to like it on the whole.
I think the thing about the ending is that it immediately goes smaller in scale instead of going bigger, so it doesn't end on a climactic, big action set piece. But I think there was enough tension in that final "stealth mode" bit that it worked. For a film with a hastily re-written ending, it comes off better than it could have, and I was surprised to like it on the whole.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
View All Comments

Latest Movie News Headlines


Top
Loading...
JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!