Don’t Be Afraid To Go Into Battle With ‘World War Z’ (Movie Review)

World War ZIt feels like this movie has been in production for so long that it would be a miracle if it was any good. Let’s take a quick look back and count the ways World War Z has suffered from setbacks. First thing first, Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B Entertainment, first secured film rights in 2007 from the novel of the same name by Max Brooks. That’s when director Marc Forster was first approached to direct. Things proceeded slowly as Matthew Michael Carnahan was hired to write the screenplay in 2009 and filming didn’t begin until around July 2011. The movie originally was set for a December 2012 release date. However, in July 2012 the film’s release date was pushed back and seven weeks of reshoots were scheduled. Wow! That’s right…seven weeks! During that time Damon Lindelof was hired to rewrite the third act, but he didn’t have time and Drew Goddard was hired to rewrite it. What is this, Prometheus? Now with all that in hindsight, the thing that worries me the most is the flick’s PG-13 rating for what looks like one hell of a wild, zombie invasion ride. Were my worries justified? Read on and find out you will.

So remember me telling you about the re-writes and extra seven weeks of shooting? Well supposedly that yielded about 30-40 minutes worth of footage, which was included to make a coherent ending. Can we all say thank you to Paramount for that? However, that kind of aforementioned work doesn’t come without a price tag. It inflated the film’s original 125 million dollar budget to almost 200 million. Yikes! Someone has to be screaming bloody murder about that and someone’s head is going to be on the chopping block if the film flops and fails to recuperate those funds. And there are a bunch of political struggles and angles the feature is supposed to be adjusted and edited for in order to land distribution deals with certain countries and other things like that. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with all the disgusting details. That’s what the news is for anyway…politics. All I want to know is whatever happened to just making a good movie from excellent source material? It shouldn’t be this hard as I bash my head just thinking about the abomination that was Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.

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All right, let’s get down to the basics/fundamentals and discuss all that’s involved here now that we got all the non-fun formalities out of the way. After all, this is a zombie film, folks! Let’s liven up the tone around here. It’s not everyday that your film stars the illustrious long locks of Brad Pitt. He is joined alongside co-stars Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, David Morse, Ludi Boeken, Fana Mokoena and a few others. And it’s also not every day that we have a Bourne-like production in a zombie movie that takes us all over the world (even if it’s filmed in foreign lands made to look like other foreign lands and even our own US soil). So with all that being said you can sense me stalling here, can’t you? I mean I almost gave you a brief oral history of the production war known as World War Z and yet I told you nothing about the movie itself, more importantly whether I loved or hated it.

Alright, let’s cut to the chase. I normally don’t do this, but unlike my return trip home from Man of Straw last week, I wanted to shout from the highest mountains how much I LIKED this film. I sat there the whole press screening on the edge of my flipping seat praying to a God that I don’t know if they exist or not to please not let this movie’s ending suck…please!!! You, see, I was having such a good time with this that I was scared the ending was going to completely blow donkey balls because of all the rumored problems we heard with the film’s third act concerning re-writes and whatnot. And thankfully, the Gods or God heard my prayer and rewarded me with a fantastic, magical summer night at the cinema. And I’m pleased to report that I plan on going back for another action packed battle this weekend. It was that good for me and I’ll tell you why. It was a non-stop adrenaline rush ride. I read all the reviews before going into to prepare myself for the stinker I expected this film to be and this may be the quickest Act 1 I have sen in a long time and we may not get too much time with Brad and his family before things go belly up, but I’ll be damn if I didn’t say who the hell cares. This is a zombie apocalypse movie, folks! Why prolong the inevitable? And that’s exactly what Brad Pitt and crew didn’t do. They didn’t make us wait long at all before things went bat sh1t crazy and I’ll be honest, by the time Brad or should I say Gerry Lane said goodbye to his family and was whisked away by the UN on a mission where the whole world is depending upon his successful findings (talk about having the weight of the world on your shoulders), I knew deep down in my heart that Brad’s character deeply loved his family and would do anything it takes to not only keep them safe at all costs, but return home to them as well…only after he completes his mission (a man of honor and respect). Did that happen? Hell no, I’m not telling you! What do you think I’m crazy? I want you to get off your lethargic a$$es and go see this one!

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Now I’m going to make a bold statement and you’re going to listen here. How many fans of the hit FOX TV series 24 do we have in the house? You liked the heart-pounding action showcased in the show and the way one man singlehandedly can save the world, right? If so, then you’re going to love this flick. I know I’m going out on a limb here when I say this and I hope I don’t lose all street creds, but I can’t help dubbing this feature as the “24 of zombie movies.” It kind of has a nice ring for me. What about for you? Did I peak your curiosity a bit more? Come on! That had to have some affect on you. Every one loves Jack Bauer and 24 and that’s the same exact reason you are going to be rooting for Gerry Lane in this one. I guarantee it! See this confidence I bestow? I love it!

So let’s be honest. Yes, this film has taken a bad rap. Yes this film has taken a long time to get out there. But please, I beg you. Don’t be a hater like me. Don’t judge a book by its cover or in this case a movie by its years of production mess. Be honest and truthful with yourself. Go see it and judge it with merit and integrity. If you go and it’s just not for you, then so be it. But just don’t say Brad Pitt is g@y or this movie is a train wreck and not support it. And yes…like the Nolan Dark Knight films, there’s not much bloodshed to be found here. I know what you are thinking. It’s a zombie movie! There has to be tons of bloodshed. Hell, even The Walking Dead has massive amounts of gore and blood, and it’s on cable television. I know. I said the same things going into this one as well. But if you think about The Dark Knight Trilogy, you still love those films regardless even without the excessive bloodshed, right? It’s the same principle here. Go in with an open mind and let the film speak for itself and take care of the rest. I think you and your date will be pleasantly surprised. Yes I said date. Men…listen up! There are some scary and jumpy moments in here. Your “date” will be clinging to you and grabbing you tight? Are you picking up what I’m dropping? The stakes are high. The action is killer. And the story line was compelling enough to make me forget about all the negativity surrounding this film that I foolishly brought in with me to the screening. It’s almost as if I checked it at the door before I came in. And that’s exactly what you should do too!

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Wow! I can’t believe that I wrote that much above already. I have not been this excited about a movie since I saw Oblivion earlier this year. LOL. However, I digress as I always do. We still have a lot of ground to cover in this review so let’s get cracking. So as you probably know, Mr. Brad Pitt is the main protagonist here. And a fine protagonist he is. Take that any way you want…LOL…just kidding. Like I referenced above, Brad’s character is kind of like the Jack Bauer of zombie flicks. It’s not that he’s untouchable in this movie, very untrue, but he’s a formidable opponent to every adversary or adverse condition he faces. He seems to know just what to do and he also excels in everything he does. It seems all those years of secret UN missions for the man really paid off. You can’t get the kind of knowledge Gerry has out of books or in the classroom. No sir! As far as the rest of the cast…I have zero problems with them. Everything was status quo, good. Would have I liked my heart strings tugged a just little harder? Yes, please (probably one of my only complaints)! But that is a very minor complaint because as you know I initially thought the worse. I thought even the dialogue would be hokey and bad. I was pleasantly surprised. Hmm…maybe it helps to go into all films with super low expectations, huh? I should have went into Man of Straw last week like that too. Dammit!

And now we’re on to discussing the actual story. I have yet to finish the novel of the same name, but rest assured, the movie is completely different which can either be a bad or a good thing depending upon what side of the spectrum you’re on. The book is a series of documentary accounts where as in the movie we are following the plight and stakes that Gerry faces as he travels the globe in pursuit of discovering the origin of what caused the infectious zombie virus and where it began. No complaints there. What I was most satisfied with was the non-stop adrenaline rush of heart-pounding action we are greeted with right out of the gate. It was incredible, thrilling and very, very satisfying. And although it could have been heightened just a tad more in my opinion, the ending resolved the film very nicely too. I won’t go into details and ruin anything, but I’m not going to lie to you and say everything ends peachy either. It was a resolution that I think was very befitting of not only the film, but also of the zombie genre in general. Take that how you will.

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While we are talking about the wild action roller coaster ride within this zombie apocalypse thriller, let’s talk about the special effects. Like Jimmie Walker, they’re dy-no-mite!!! Or if you prefer affluent words like spectacular or stupendous, feel free to use those too. Yep. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the action, but I also thrived on and drooled over the film’s special effects. No dollar was wasted there. All zombies, carnage and action sequences were t1ts like they say on the Holliston FEARNet television show. For those of you that don’t know, t1ts are good (of course they are) and balls are bad. LOL. Anyway, the camera and cinematography constantly puts you right in the middle of the action and although you are not physically being bombarded it’s almost as if you can feel every bump, twist and turn. Bravo!

So come on! What do you have to lose? I’m sure you went and saw Man of Steel last weekend. But guess what? If you trust these ratings, World War Z, at the time of this writing, has a score of 74% right now on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s like almost 20% more than the man without red tights. There has to be some logic in those scores, no? Sure there’s no blood and it’s not your typical zombie gorefest that you would normally pay and go to the theater for, but it’s about the survival of our race. You like movies like Contagion, don’t you? Then you’ll love this one too. There’s no denying its action appeal. You may not like it for whatever you reason you have, but you can’t come back and tell me it was lackluster in the action and special effects department. You just can’t!

Although I have heard rumors and rants of this being setup as part of a planned trilogy, I guess that all really depends upon how well it does at the box office. In my honest opinion, World War Z, as stated before, wraps up nicely and feels very much like a stand alone movie. Sure there’s room for expansion. You can always continue where they left off or go on a different character’s journey, but if a sequel is never made, I’ll be just as happy. Well, I can go on and on about it all, but I think I’ll defer that to the comments section below if anyone has any opinions, comments, questions or complaints to make. Enjoy this one if you are able to! Don’t be afraid. Go see it! I’m having a second helping this weekend!

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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