Movie Review: World War Z

World_War_Z_posterI loved Max Brooks‘ book World War Z and to see that on the big screen would have been the start of zombie movies for adults, as it’s a book that breaks the mold and has the genre “growing up” from it’s generally non-respected roots. That book and this movie have little in common other than a name. That’s the first thing about this summer’s Brad Pitt attempt at a blockbuster, going in thinking you’re about to see an adaptation of the book is a mistake.

World War Z isn’t bad at all. I expected a disaster and it’s far from that. But, just because it’s not bad, doesn’t make it good. The movie was just so-so for me. There’s some good stuff here and great action sequences, but a sequence or two doesn’t make a movie. The movie itself is an amalgamation, a Frankenstein of a movie.

The movie has a habit of borrowing from numerous movies that have come before. This is noticeable from the beginning when during the credits the music playing evokes The Exorcist and it goes on from there. Take 28 Days Later mix it with Contagion, add in a little of I Am Legend and then take the title from a popular book and you get this movie.

And that’s part of what frustrates me about the movie. It would be one thing if it changed the book improving on it, but it doesn’t. Instead it generally chucks it’s source material, picking from the movies listed. A scene in a building evokes 28 Days Later. Scenes with people debating the cause is Contagion and the general plot and ending are I Am Legend (which itself made changes from the original material and not for the better.

Then there’s the idea of a “white guy” saving the world. Brooks’ book was international in scope showing heroes from across the world. Here, the main characters, other than one UN official, are all white. The movie white washes the source material in a horrible way. For a star with a global scope in doing good, it seems to have not played a part when it comes to casting.

There is a way to save this movie in the long run and the answer is sequels. By making this movie one story in the bigger picture, it comes closer to Brooks’ original book and by tying in the movies slightly even more so. We’ll see how far the movie gets past its opening weekend. As a summer movie it’s ok, but with so many other and better choices out there, this wouldn’t be close to a must see movie of the summer.

Direction: 7 Acting: 6 Plot: 5 Overall: 6.5