Movie Review: World War Z (Confirmed: Good 1/2)

Is that a potential franchise I see?

     World War Z has been one the most interesting projects to follow in the film world over the course of the past year or so. Immediately based on just the title alone the film garnered a lot of hype, both positive and negative, (but mostly negative) once it was revealed that the film would mirror the 2006 Max Brooks novel in name only.  Combine that with an A list lead in Brad Pitt and an eleventh hour reshoot to provide the film a coherent ending (courtesy of Lost and Prometheus scribe Damon Lindelof) and you have one of the most polarizing films of the Summer.  So did World War Z live up to its potential? Was Damon Lindelof able to save this potential blockbuster? Or did the film fail as many Max Brooks fan boys hoped it would? Find out after the break……

Apparently Paramount prefers their CGI Zombies, to be very athletic!

     Courtesy of the AMC hit The Walking Dead the zombie genre has never been hotter, so it was only a matter of time before Hollywood took a chance on a big budget zombie film with tent pole potential; enter Paramount’s World War Z.  Interestingly enough, Director Marc Foster chose to give this zombie movie its own unique feel  in the form of super zombies who sprint just as much as they stumble.  Rather than focusing primarily on the human dynamic, like so many modern Zombie stories do, World War Z follows a more traditional narrative: the hope and hunt for a cure and former United Nations investigator Gerry Lane’s (Brad Pitt) hell bent mission to find that cure in exchange for government protection of his family.  A hell bent mission that is as large in scope as a zombie blockbuster should be, Lane navigates the entire globe looking for a cure.  World War Z's choice to go global was quite refreshing; how many times have you been watching a zombie story and wondered how the rest of humanity was handling that crisis? Sure, many films address various locations, but World War Z shows it in an action packed way.

     As well as World War Z’s first two acts are set up and executed, the film doesn't seem to know what it wants to do in it’s final act, a final act courtesy of Mr. Damon Lindelof.  By the end the film goes to insane lengths in order to provide itself with a coherent and reasonable conclusion.  While it ultimately does, the ending only works if Paramount see’s World War Z as the start of a franchise.  Call me crazy, but I don’t think that was Drew Goddard, Matthew Michael Carnahan, and J Michael Stracynski’s intention when they originally wrote this film, which makes for a bit of a half baked ending to an otherwise great zombie thrill ride.

     In the end, you have to give Damon Lindelof a ton of credit for delivering World War Z with some sense of resolution that many thought would never happen as the film squandered through re-shoots and development hell.  At the same time, however, it is really disappointing that World War Z couldn't decide what it wanted to be, because overall the film has the action, scares, and even the heart of a standalone zombie classic or the start of the potentially next great Zombie franchise.  Sadly though, in the end the indecisiveness of what World War Z truly wanted to be kept it from being either.


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