Tuesday, 25 June 2013

World War Z Review (2013) How Did Brad Pitts' Hair Stay So Shiny?

'World War Z' has finally made it to the big screen after a number of setbacks and reported disputes between director Marc Foster and producer/star Brad Pitt. Here's how I think their discussions might have gone;

Foster: 'World War Z' is an incredible book.
Pitt: I couldn't agree more. I love how the plot keeps switching between the stories of different survivors.
Foster: I'd love to keep the political undertones intact so our film isn't just a generic summer blockbuster.
Pitt: That sounds perfect.
Foster: Oh but actually, won't that give us problems with international distributors? 
Pitt: Yeah but who cares? We have to keep the film true to the book.
Foster: Yeeeeeeeeah, I know but... Let's just ignore the book completely and keep the title. That way, we can still have a huge hit on our hands. I'm sure the fans won't mind...
Pitt: Whatever. Let's just finish the damn thing.

Imaginary discussions aside, I'm sure Pitt and Foster had high hopes for their film being a success. You've probably heard some of the negative reviews by now, but 'World War Z' is not a complete disaster by any means. Fans of the book may be disappointed though as almost none of the original story has made its way into the final version. 

Max Brooks' novel is a collection of individual accounts from people who have survived a ten year war following a zombie outbreak. Each story is told from a different perspective, which gives the reader an overview of how the conflict affected survivors across a range of genders, classes and races. 

None of this is in the film. 

Weirdly though, I almost didn't mind how much the script deviated from the book. Why try to film a difficult novel and fail to match expectations when you could just completely ignore the source material? It's not ideal but at least I didn't feel the need to compare the two outright. 

Instead, Fosters film hones in on an ex-UN operative played by Pitt, who traverses the globe in order to find a way to stop the outbreak and to protect his family. Pitt brings some life to what could have been a mindless role and goddammit his hair looks shiny, but most of the other characters are basically included as zombie fodder. 

While the original book is incredibly vivid in its portrayal of people from different races and backgrounds, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the film with even a hint of personality. I found myself completely ambivalent regarding the various UN operatives and soldiers who crop up throughout and it's shocking how little I cared about Pitt's bland family. 

A film can't be carried by just one star, no matter how great he is, so that's where the zombies come in. It's a sad state of affairs when the dead people captivate more than the living actors but seriously, these are not like any other zombies you've ever seen. 

While previous incarnations have shuffled along Romero style or ran at a faster, more menacing pace, Fosters undead are a force unto themselves. With an almost feral like speed and strength behind them, it's genuinely terrifying to see them surge forward as one giant mass, devouring everything in their path. A lack of gore during the zombie attacks may disappoint zombie purists but it's hard to deny how tense it feels every time they appear on screen.   

The opening scene immediately throws us into the action, with Pitt and his family trapped in the middle of an outbreak in the city centre. Foster cleverly builds tension by only showing people's reactions at first, before revealing the true threat. Even though we know the zombies are coming, the genuine confusion the characters feel in the panic makes the eventual attack all the more scary. 

Ironically, 'World War Z' feels most alive whenever the undead appear and Foster excels here with some fantastic set pieces that stay in your mind long after the credits have rolled. The moment where the zombies pile on top of each other to scale the Israeli walls is a highlight that impressed in the trailer, but my favourite moment occurs when the infection spreads onto an airplane that Pitt is flying on. 'Flight Of The Living Dead' this ain't!

Many of the criticisms aimed its way certainly have merit but despite poor characterisation and an abrupt ending, 'World War Z' is an incredibly tense and exciting summer blockbuster that deserves your attention. I just wish that all the rewrites had focussed more on the characters than the action. 

So what did you think of 'World War Z'? Do you agree that it's an enjoyable film or are you bitterly disappointed by how different this adaptation is from the original book? Did you enjoy the crazy ass clicking doctor zombie at the end? And do you have any idea how Brad Pitt kept his hair looking so good, because I sure as hell don't!? Let me know your thoughts by commenting, liking and sharing below. 

1 comment:

  1. I think its one of the best performance of Brad Pitt.....