World War Z – Low on gore, high on thrills


World-War-Z pic

First things first, I thought the book by Max Brooks was absolutely brilliant. When I heard that there was to be a film based on it I was excited, but then wondered how they would translate the books format (various stories of survivors from the Zombie War) onto the big screen.

Then came news of trouble on the set of Marc Forster’s film including them reshooting the final act of the film.

I was worried and thought it was going to go the way of Battleship.

Having just seen the film I can honestly say it is worth a watch.

Yes it is not like the book. Many of the cool sequences from the book are not there and these zombies are fast. Yet, the story of Brad Pitt’s Gerry as he travels around the globe seeking a cure or some way of defeating the zombie plague could have been one segment from the book.

That is the beauty of Max Brooks’ book. There are as many tales in World War Z as there are survivors.

If you are a fan of gore in zombie films then you are going to be disappointed. This is rated 15 in the UK (PG-13) in the US so we do not see zombies feasting on dead bodies. In fact these zombies run your down, bite you and head off for the next target. Then 10 seconds later you become one of them. A lot like the Rage virus from 28 Days Later.

You also don’t see any close ups of zombies being killed. You know bullets are blowing them to bits and crowbars are smashing their skulls in, but we just do not see it.

To be honest, that did not bother me in the slightest. It was almost refreshing. We have seen zombie gore on numerous occasions so we know what goes on.

We do get is a global view of the World coming to an end due to a zombie virus. We see crowds of people being run down by hordes of the undead as the virus within them seeks to spread itself further.

We get incredible tension as Brad Pitt becomes aware of what is happening and tries to get his family to safety. Then, as he travels the globe the tension builds as he escapes from various situations. All the while he is observing the habits of the zombie horde and uses what he learns to great effect.

Early on in one scene when you see Pitt fighting a zombie, he gets blood on his face. I thought this was just going to be ignored, but the next scene sees him putting himself in a situation were he would be unable to hurt is family if he turned as he counts to 10.

As Adam mentioned in his review, there are a few more nice touches that go against your expectations – the little girl not having her inhaler, the guy with the gun in the pharmacy and so on.

You also get some great supporting actors making the most of their small roles. James Badge Dale as Captain Speke and the rest of his team show us the perils of trying to refuel a plane in the dark while trying not to make any noise. You keep waiting for Peter Capaldi to swear like Michael Tucker and Daniella Kertesz is excellent as the Israeli soldier, Segen.

All of the supporting characters could have their own chapters in a new World War Z book as you want to know more of their stories.

Matthew Fox is glimpsed briefly, but does nothing much (when you read about the original ending for the film you can see his role was much bigger).

That brings us nicely round to the ending of the film. From the beginning the film gets bigger and bigger in scope, leading us to Israel surrounded by the zombie horde. Then it gets smaller and smaller until we follow Brad Pitt and Daniella Kertesz down the quite streets of a small Welsh village.

It is a strange way to go, but works well. The tension is cranked up once more as they enter a small lab intent on finding a way to combat the zombies.

To be honest, I can see why they went this way when compared to the original ending. Sure that may have been more action packed, but that could be a film in its own right. This way they keep it closer to Brad Pitt and it is not quite so much of a downer. It gives us hope for the future.

Sometimes a bit of hope is a good way to go with the films.

This is not going to win any awards, but I enjoyed it a damn site more than I thought I would. I even jumped in a couple of places and was urging the humans on to safety as they ran and ran. Don’t go in expecting The Walking Dead or Dawn of the Dead type of things. Instead we see what happens around the World and get a sense of the large scale devastation not seen before in a zombie film.

As I said at the beginning, the concept of World War Z means that they can just keep on going. They could follow numerous characters and show various moments from the War.

What did you think of the film?