MOVIE REVIEW: World War Z

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World War Z is the new apocalyptic zombie thriller starring Brad Pitt.  The movie is based on the 2006 novel of the same name.  Pitt’s production company, Plan B entertainment, secured the screen rights in 2007 and Pitt signed on as a producer.  The movie is directed by Marc Forster who is best known for directing the films Monster’s Ball, Stranger Than Fiction, and James Bond’s Quantum of Solace.  A number of actors offer support here such as Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, and David Morse, but this is definitely Pitt’s movie.  The movie is being released in 2D, RealD 3D (more on that later), and IMAX 3D.

Upon the outbreak of an international zombie pandemic, retired UN employee Gerry Lane (Pitt) is called back into action to search the globe for a possible cure.  Lane and his family are stranded in New Jersey and on the run as everywhere they turn there are more and more zombie attacks.  They must lay low and survive as they await rescue from the UN in order to be flown to safety.  Little does Lane know that he must leave his family behind and hit the front lines in search of finding the source of the virus and hopefully a cure.  Lane must follow clues all around the world where the zombie population is growing bigger and stronger by the minute.

Before I go any further, I need to stress the point that no one, I mean NO ONE, should see this movie in 3D.  Even if the 3D tickets were cheaper than conventional 2D, everyone should still see this movie in 2D.  This movie is too dark (color not material) and too fast (shaky camera movement) for the 3D which made most of the movie very blurry and difficult to watch.  I’d say that the 3D pretty much ruined almost the entire first half of the movie for me; the second half wasn’t as bad because it wasn’t quite as dark.  That doesn’t speak to the quality of the movie, it just seemed like more of cash grab from the studio to convert to 3D in order to charge higher ticket prices.  I see a lot of movies in 3D and this is the first one that actually gave me a headache which forced me to take off my glasses a number of times throughout.  Moving on…World War Z has a well documented tumultuous road building up to its release this weekend.  It has been rumored by some that the budget for the movie has even climbed over the $400 million mark.  The movie was originally scheduled to be released in December 2012, but a number of re-shoots had to be scheduled and new writers were brought in to re-write the ending.  It seemed this movie was destined to fail before it even hit theaters.  With all of the post-production problems and everything else this movie has gone through, they’ve actually put together a pretty good movie.  This isn’t just some shoot-em-up Zombie war movie; it is a tense actioner with a number of nail biting moments.  The last half hour building up to the end was exceptionally tense as everything slows down and the battle with the Zombies turns into more of a mind game than just survival.  The ending itself leaves a lot to be desired, but I’m pretty sure that was the result of the re-writes and re-shoots.  Brad Pitt is great here; it was nice to see him in a big budget movie for once.  He seems to choose his roles much more carefully these days and we haven’t seen him in anything like this in quite some time.  The grade I give World War Z below isn’t completely reflective of how much I enjoyed the film, but the fact that I had to sit through it in 3D really weighed heavily.  I just feel that I would have enjoyed the movie a whole lot more if I’d seen it in 2D.  This is one summer blockbuster worth checking out.

Grade: B-

World War Z opens in theaters on Friday, June 21.