There are two types of good films adapted from the work of fictions: one that turned out good because the vision and intent of the author translate well into screens and one that’s better because it manage to edit, well-restrain, and elevate the content of the book and adapt it for the cinema. In my opinion the example of the better ones that come to mind are: Silver Linings Playbook and The Hunger Games. So i have to wonder if this one will be an improvement of the book, or is it the same, or would it fail in translating its content? Looking at the script, being written and then re-written by several writers, seems like they had trouble in re-working it to for the screen.
SUMMARY: World War Z (WWZ) told a story of a former UN employee, Garry Lane (Brad Pitt) who were forced out of his retirement to deal with a global epidemic, a threat for all human kind: a Zombie Apocalypse.
Let me remind you again, while i enjoy apocalyptic-themed movies, i rarely watch zombie movies (but i excel at plants vs zombies if it means anything to you). Anyway, so here we have a zombie apocalyptic film, adapted from a book of the same name by Max Brooks. This one is very different from Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies, though, for one, the zombie moves helluva faster in WWZ, and it’s nowhere near the philosphical romance approach and redefinition of zombies that Isaac Marion did (good book though! amusing film too!). Here in WWZ the zombies are fast moving, they are sensitive to sounds, the infections occurs faster, they twists their bodies, snaps their teeth, and seemed to have foreheads strong enough to break glass, and they have significant preference to.
The opening title rolled showing montage of world news overlapped with jagged edges accompanied by the chilling score The 2nd Law: Isolated System performed by Muse, giving an overall feel of discomfort for me. The film started out from a routine, peaceful Philadelphia morning in the Lane’s family. As soon as they are driving through the city, all hell’s break loose. From that point the film roll into a high-octane kick, up until the first act. Lane suddenly got an order from his former boss to help a scientist to locate the possible cause of the epidemic, much to the distress of his wife (Mireille Enos). From there he went on a wild chase to find the core of the problems, taking him to several country across the globe. The sequence reminds me of 2012 (2009), but i think it’s much more well done and have a certain grounded realism feel to it.
Since it involves several UN organizations, political conspiracy, relationship between nations, we got the idea of how global the story really is, contrasting to the usual epidemic that seemed to localize in the US. We even learned that some of the nation actually have pre-emptive strategies against the epidemic. The information we learned might not explain the origin of the epidemic itself. I think we only learned partial knowledge about the issue on this first installment. It made the movie intriguing enough to look forward to (and the book tempting enough to read!). There were small moments where humanity is tested and questioned in the film. I actually love seeing the small, seemingly insignificant gestures, random act of kindness and stark ignorance, contrasting values of human character that embedded within the film. As usually found in apocalyptic film it also points a finger at human tendency of being easily satisfied and callous arrogance.
One of the memorable thing from the film for me was the quote uttered by Dr Fassbach (Elyes Gabel), which i can only paraphrase here:
“Mother nature is a serial killer, no one’s better or more creative.
Like all serial killer she can’t help the urge to wanna get caught, what good were all the brilliant crimes if no one take credits. So she leaves crumbs. Now the hard part, where you spend a decade at school, is seeing the crumbs for the clues they are. Sometimes the thing you thought was the most brutal aspect of the virus turns out to be the chink in its armor. And she loves disguising her weaknesses as strengths.
She’s a bitch”.
Maybe it was triggered by my fascination to the working mind of serial killers (i might’ve been reading too much Barry Lyga and Dexter). But the statement definitely has strength (i dare you to google the phrase ‘world war z mother nature is a serial killer’ and i bet you there’s gonna be at least two dozens reviews of the film quoting the line, because that was what i did when i was trying to find the accurate quote for the film. I wonder if this came from the novel or does it come from the adapted script instead.
From the trailer alone, we get the idea how massive the film is. It utilizes big set pieces for its dramatic action sequences, which almost always shot in a large scale. Definitely impressive to see. But, this film is pretty much a one-man show for Pitt. Contrasts to the panic and hysteria of the mass throughout the film, his character remains centered and relatively calm. He gave a decent, solid performance, which was enough to carry the movie but did not leave a strong impression for me. While i found Daniella Kertesz as an okay side-kick for Pitt for half of the movie he did not leave so much marks as well.. Really, no one in the casts stood out or can balance out Pitt on screen, which is such a shame really. Because the character are just not enough for me to symphatize with.
So what’s the final verdict? This is definitely a good movie and it came from what seemed to be a great idea. While it may has some flaws, it also possess a redeeming qualities. The movie is smart and able to portray a grounded picture of apocalyptic society. The action sequences are intense, the premise is enticing, despite the lackluster characters, i think the movie held quite well anyway. True, i have unanswered questions, so here’s hoping the sequel will be up soon :)
World War Z is currently screening at Blitzmegaplex and Cinema 21 both in 2D and 3D format. Check respective theater chain websites to find out more about the schedule in your cities. World War Z is the first film installment in a trilogy.
World War Z (2013)
GENRE Action, Horror, Drama
DIRECTOR Marc Forster | PRODUCER Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Ian Bryce | WRITER Matthew Michael Carnahan, Damon Lindelof, Drew Goddard | MUSIC Marco Beltrami | CINEMATOGRAPHER Ben Seresin | EDITOR Roger Barton, Matt Chesse | STUDIO Skydance Productions, Hemishpere Productions, Plan B Entertainment, GK Films | DISTRIBUTOR Paramount Pictures | COUNTRY United States | BUDGET $200 million | RUNNING TIME 116 minutes | RATING Rated PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images | RELEASE June 21, 2013
STARRING Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox, Fana Mokoena, Elyes Gabel, Daniella Kertesz