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Monday, June 24, 2013

Cindy Prascik’s Review of World War Z

Dearest Blog, today it was off to the cinema for World War Z.

Folks, the zombie apocalypse is upon us, and it's left to Brad Pitt to turn the tide.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.

Surprise, dear reader(s), I have actually read the book on which this film is based! The Great Gatsby? No. World War Z? Yes. If anyone's looking for me, I'll be off killing myself for the good of the species.

World War Z is a so-so zombie flick, but a pretty darn good dramatic thriller. Everything is presented in such a grounded way that, had filmmakers elected to use a term other than "zombie," it could have been another Contagion. Tension stays high throughout, and--though I've heard complaints that it's too slow--my attention never strayed. The living dead are appropriately creepy and, as fans will have noted from the trailers, can not only run but climb, a significant change from the usual zombie lore. Sorta made me want to sprint for the car when it was all said and done...just in case!

Brad Pitt is effective in the lead, though the role is hardly taxing. Fans of The Killing will note that Mirielle Enos smiles more in a film about the end of the friggin' world than she does in her weekly TV series...what?? The remaining cast is serviceable, if not remarkable, with the closest thing to a standout being Daniella Kertesz. The kids are a little annoying, but aren't on screen enough that it much matters. Personally, I was delighted to see David Morse and The Hour's Peter Capaldi in small roles.

The strangest thing about World War Z is what it's missing: blood and guts. We've become accustomed to The Walking Dead and its tendency to get up close and personal with zombies gnawing on human flesh, or Daryl Dixon putting an arrow through a walker's eye and splattering brains out the back of its head. You'll find virtually none of that in WWZ, which elects to keep the camera on the person wielding the gun/sword/axe/baseball bat/whatever, as opposed to actually showing a zombie's head getting smashed into a billion pieces. While I'm not saying making the film a gratuitous splatter-fest would have been the better artistic choice, I will say the extremely tame language and lack of any significant gore does leave the movie lacking an edge it probably could have used.

Regular reader(s) will know that vampires are my "thing," not zombies; in fact, if not for the presence of Mr. Pitt, I'd probably have paired my weekly Star Trek screening with Monsters University rather than with World War Z. I also found the book painfully dull, so, while I figured the movie had to be at least somewhat better, my expectations were moderate at best. I'm happy to report I was pleasantly surprised and liked the film much better than I anticipated.

World War Z runs a steadily-paced 116 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense, frightening zombie sequences, violence, and disturbing images." It bears little resemblance to the book on which it's based, but that's not necessarily a bad thing! Of a possible nine Weasleys, World War Z gets six and a half.

Until next time...


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