World War Z: A Decent Movie, Not a Great Adaptation

Title says it all. So many people have instantly brushed this movie under the rug. They say “IT’S NOT LIKE THE BOOK, so i refuse to see it.” It’s a legitimate concern, and unfortunately the movie suffers for it. You see, it’s not a bad movie, and from what i hear, it could have been a lot worse. I admit i don’t know details, but with 5 different production companies (each with their own title slide) it could not have been smooth sailing.
I gotta apologize for the tardiness of the review, so i’ll be honest. It was a first date with my new and totally awesome GF, spending time with her and working have made me lazy again. REVIEW YOU FOOL! REVIEW!

Recall my new rating system 5 stars, one for each of: Story/characters, Sound/music, Visual/Camera/editing, Acting, Enjoyability/rewatchability

Story: NO STARS. The story was extremely lacking. It was simple, Zombies take over the world and one dude has to save it. It’s funny, this movie felt more like a video game than any I’ve seen. Brad Pitt goes to an exotic location, learns some plot, and then escapes in an action sequence to the next exotic location. Rinse and repeat several times. I found that actually kinda humorous. the scenes played out like levels, including what kinda of variety was made (military base, city, hospital, alone in the woods). The characters were awful. They were totally uninteresting and had no defining characteristics, I didn’t even know the protagonists name til about 30 minutes into the movie. Pacing was also interesting too, no wasted time, the zombie attack starts about 5 minutes into the movie (once again adding to the lack of character and plot).

Sound: 1 Star ★. The score was solid, fit nicely, tho not entirely memorable. This movie did a great job fully utilizing surround sound. Early on there was a woman screaming, it came so totally from one speaker, i thought the girl behind me was actually screaming (there was noone behind me). It also used silence quite well. There is great atmospheric power in silence (especially when sound attracts zombies). I remember needing to sneeze but holding it as long as possible, because i thought breaking the silence that abruptly might make people around me jump in their seats.

Visual: 1/2 Star. The CG effects were…ok, the camera was…ok. IDK, nothing really sticks out, good or bad. It was nice to see the zombies not moving like a tide as they;re depicted in the trailers. with some lead in shots, they’re seen not moving as ants, but as a mass so desperate to get you that they relentlessly move thru and over anything, including each other. they used shaky cam of course, but to better effect than Man of Steel. the problem lies in the editing, very fast cuts. that worked in favor of a couple of great jump moments, but the rest seemed unnecessary. It’s as Brad Jones put it (i can cite other reviews), It’s as if the movie was edited for cable TV. It’s PG-13 so they tone down the violence by very obviously cutting around it. I’ll get into the movie’s rating in a bit.

Acting: 1/2 Star. Brad Pitt was solid as the lead, but he’s just a charismatic guy. He didn’t bring too much, but that really lies with the script, not much meat to bring anything to. Other performances were ok, the Israeli soldier that accompanies Pitt in the last act was pretty good.

Enjoyability: 1 Star ★. Me and my date quite enjoyed it. good atmosphere, good tone. A solid zombie movie. don’t know if i’d rush to see it again, but it’s wasn’t that bad.
The movie suffers hard tho because of the tie-in to a very different book. THIS IS NOT THE MOVIE’S FAULT. and yet people give me crap for liking it despite the major differences. All this says is the movie execs were fools. Market it just as a zombie movie, maybe even cite world war Z as inspiration, but once you try to make a movie out of a book, you’re in much more dangerous water. Adaptation is insanely tricky. too close your flaws get glaring, too far and the readers hate you. You have to strike a balance somewhere. I’m still not sure exactly what makes an adaptation successful, I’ve written papers about it. Shoulda had a different name, probably would have been received better that way.

The Rating Problem: This movie should not be PG-13. Sure Zombie movies tend to be violent and this movie cut around that a lot, but that’s not my problem. PG-13 carries no weight any more. Parents are taking 6 year-olds (maybe even younger) to movies like this. 6 is WAY too young for a zombie movie, it’s really intense and scary. i know, it’s not the ratings, it’s the parents, but you gotta admit that there’s something wrong with it.

ANYWAYS. I enjoyed it, if you were interested, yeah go see it, on the fence, i’d give it a try. BUT I’d sooner tell you to go see Much Ado About Nothing (review coming soon). IN SHORT: not bad. ★★★

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