It may not be fair that the messy backstory behind the making of "World War Z" clouds judgments of the film's quality. But it's hard to forget the rumors of rewrites, producer tiffs and an ending that reportedly cost millions to reshoot, when the film – based on a complex and well-received novel of the same title – feels so directionless and meandering. That doesn't mean the giant zombie flick is not entertaining. There are some unforgettable shots of rabid corpses taking over cities like tiny ants. And Brad Pitt is always a sight for sore movie-going eyes, even with a hair cut like he's the lead singer of a 1970s garage band. It will please the masses looking for standard, action-stuffed, summer fare. But without an underlying theme or overarching narrative, "World War Z" nearly flat-lines and only in its resolution does all the destruction seem worth it.
Like Liam Neeson's character in "Taken," Gerry has a past life that has enabled him with a particular set of skills, and a family who has been taken hostage – not by a sex trader like in "Taken," but by Gerry's former employer, the United Nations. Gerry's old boss, a U.N. undersecretary (Fana Mokoena), whisks them to a quarantined ship in the middle of the ocean, but will only keep them there if Gerry agrees to lead the effort to defeat the virus. Gerry must keep his family safe by saving the world. If it wasn't for them, who knows if he would have any interest in rescuing humanity.
He is team player and works wells with others, if any of his many partners in zombie-killing could manage not falling victims to their prey. Gerry is the perfect recruitment tool for the United Nations (maybe at the doing of Pitt's longtime girlfriend and baby momma Angelina Jolie, a U.N. goodwill ambassador.)
What little action other characters take often just get in Gerry's way, even those with best intentions. Gerry's wife anxiously calls her husband any moment she can. A refugee leads a group in songs. These moments could lend themselves to show the beauty of humanity even facing a race destroying virus. But rather, they create calamities so Gerry can show himself a more perfect hero.
Without much of a setup at its beginning, most of the exposition in "World War Z" actually comes in the film's third act, when it finally slows down and puts some thought into its narrative. The sequence was a reshoot, replacing an altogether different ending, and made an already pricey film astronomically expensive. One has to hope the first ending was bad enough to make the extra effort worth it. Nevertheless, the finale still feels retrofitted. "World War Z" lacks the thematic momentum leading to the final resolution.
It's admirable that Pitt, a producer on "World War Z," along with director Marc Forster and the many screenwriters, wanted to bring thoughtfulness, emotion and grandiosity to the zombie trope, a genre usually taken with a dose of camp and humor. You can spend all the time, effort and money ($250 million by some estimates) on execution, but without a vision, "World War Z" never feels fully alive.
Source: Us News