Zombie films are ten a penny these days and Marc Forster contrives to make the zombie apocalypse seem boring with World War Z.
Max Brooks’s novel of which the film’s title is taken from (because as far as fidelity to the source material is concerned, there doesn’t appear to be much else shared), looked at a zombie outbreak from the disparate perspectives of people all over the world. The film sticks to just the story of an ex-UN investigator, Gerry (Brad Pitt), who is forced from his home life with his irritatingly perfect family to jet-set across the globe in search of a cure.
With the novel’s multiple viewpoints came opportunity for socio-political commentary which Forster’s film attempts towards the beginning – Israel, for instance, protect themselves by sealing off the country with giant walls. It never does much with it as Forster decides to stick mostly to action sequences.
It is difficult to comment on the action, however, because Marc Forster apparently chose to direct those sequences sitting on a mechanical bull. Much like Quantum of Solace, the camera shakes interminably during skirmishes, giving the audience very little idea of what is actually happening. Perhaps the intention was to imbue proceedings with a sense of chaos, what with it being the end of the world, but it speaks volumes about Forster’s eye for action that he deemed spinning the camera every-which-way to be the most desirable. To give him credit, the initial outbreak is handled fairly well.
From its incoherent action to the plodding story to the studio’s need to appeal to the widest audience giving the film an overly clean, sanitised look, the only scary thing about World War Z is that it cost $190 million to make. (3)