Naftali Burakovsky, left, and Lorenzo Venneri
Scribble Works Reviews
By LORENZO VENNERI and NAFTALI BURACOVSKY
World War Z
World War Z is directed by Marc Foster (Monster’s Ball and Quantum of Solace) and stars primarily Brad Pitt among others.
The screenplay (by Mathew Michael Carnahan and Drew Goddard) is based on Max Brooks’ novel and follows the story of a United Nations agent in the aftermath of a worldwide zombie takeover as he tries to answer questions concerning the new plague. We mostly enjoyed the film’s global scale and Brad Pitt’s serious but also funny character.
We have to remember that zombie films are not actually about zombies. Rather, they deal with human nature in the wake of complete disaster. Zombies are just vehicles to help us see our worst and best sides when the structure of civilization falls apart. Without civilization, we are left with only ourselves. The questions become: does our human or our animal side prevail? and do we hide or meet the challenge head on?
World War Z does a fine job at incorporating these questions. The main character Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) maintains his humanity because of the love he has for his family. He fights the horror, endures the pain, and helps the helpless because he loves his family. In the end, his commitment to his own humanity allows him to find a solution to the zombie problem. The general feeling at the end of the film is of hope; despite the destruction and the loss of life, humanity hammers on.
For the first time in film, the zombie apocalypse is truly global and huge. We see hordes, no, oceans of zombified humans at various locations around the globe, and it sums up to be an incredible spectacle. There was a slight overuse of computer animation, but for this type of film, it is understandable. In general, the soundtrack to this film was well composed and fit the action. In terms of cinematography, there was nothing special in the shaky choppiness, but the suspense scenes were certainly well arranged.
There are plenty of “on the edge of your seat” moments as well as a few surprise jump scares, but we wouldn’t call this a horror film. It’s more of a global apocalyptic adventure. The film’s PG-13 rating keeps it from going too far in terms of zombie gore. It relies, instead, on clever set pieces and real suspense to keep the film going.
The problems with this film lie in plot and character development. The story is formulaic, and if you have seen a previous zombie apocalypse movie, you will be familiar with World War Z. The plot elements are not especially clever either, and do not click into a fully sensical plot line. For example, Gerry’s “brilliant” idea to fight the zombies is to infect humans with a deadly virus because the zombies only like to bite healthy people (these are smart zombies)…
In terms of character development, there was not very much after the start of the film, but we cared enough about the characters that the action and suspense carried emotional weight.
Although the film is similar in some aspects to the likes of I am Legend, we can’t say it was anything short of awesome. For a film about the undead, World War Z had a pulse, and we were fully captivated. It may be a stretch, but Scribble Works gives World War Z a rating of Alpha.
Editor’s note: Lorenzo Venneri is a film student at Rice University. He does his best to give the most unbiased, honorable, and critical evaluation of any film. Naftali Burakovsky is an economics student at UCSD who has had a passion for film from a young age. He loves film, but always gives an honest and critical judgment to preserve the integrity of quintessential movies. Venneri and Burakovsky have been watching films together since they first became friends many years ago. Together, they are committed to letting you know what’s good and bad, what’s worth two hours of your time, and what isn’t. Direct contact: firstname.lastname@example.org