After multiple production issues which did result in an article published by trade magazine ‘Vanity Fair’ (which is a rarity), including its expensive third act rewrite/reshoot and creative arguments between star/producer Brad Pitt and the director. It’s would seem it’s a miracle that Marc Forster’s ‘WORLD WAR Z(ed)’ (based, in a more present context, on Max ”Son of Mel” Brooks ‘Oral History of the Zombie War’ novel), has made it to the screen. Usually a film with much publicised production issues does get a stigma of being a terrible film, before the finished feature has been released. And with how they have adapted what is really a fictionalized journal and something low on action into a (reported) $180million all-action Blockbuster feature, it’s going to get alarm bells ringing to a lot of the film connoisseur’s. I am here to confirm that without of course some problems – this isn’t that bad at all.
First thing, this is a ‘Zombie’ film with no gore. Might seem strange but it’s to achieve a more commercially viable ‘PG-13′ rating in the US, something which you want to get back your $180million budget. It maybe rated ’15’ here in the UK, but this is more for its intensity in some sequences which means it tips into the ’15’ territory here. Which to die hard ‘Zombie’ fan’s it will annoy particularly with how the film’s plot exposition sets up the film to be more inline with what to expect from this type of feature. ‘Zombie’ fan’s shouldn’t be too taken back though, while there is horrible CGI in areas, and the make up at times make then look like something from ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’, there’s a good and well used idea that these fast Zombies act as almost a swarm of Ants.
Politically the film comments (like its source material) on issues to do with Aids and the UN, and while it’s not as deep, there’s certain similarities into its depiction of moral panic then that of Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Contagion’ (2011). Regarding the Welsh turned rewrite, I personally like the change in scale and setting which added something different, then having every action scene wanting to ”out do” the last and go bigger. It plays more like a (if yet bloodless) deleted scene from ’28 Weeks Later’ with the way it’s shot, and how traditional it is to the ‘Zombie’ genre mythos. It is a shame however that the ”tallend” of the film plays more like ‘I Am Legend’ (or more ”Hollywood” if you prefer). This third part of film is more, I think, down to personal taste as some will see it as more stuck on, noticing the change of tone. But it does include Peter Capaldi.
Generally though, considering the reports, Marc Forster has done well here. Everything is kept together well (probably taken from his experiences on ‘Quantum of Solace’, the other film he made riddled with production issues). And props to Paramount UK not editing down this to a 12a while still marketing it as a huge Summer Blockbuster. Personally I enjoyed it more as entertainment then anything. Yes there are plot clichés (forsaking the fact there’s not much ‘War’ in it), dumbly wrote characters (not turning their phones off while hiding from Zombie attacks), an annoying daughter and a weird (almost like a naughties dance tune) guitar play by Matt Bellamy over the score. But I enjoyed it more than expected. And just remember – Yes these issues can be accounted for, but please when watching do not say its crap because of its ”tortured” production.
And on a side note, and if you watched it and wondered why Matthew Fox’s only appears in this for a few seconds it’s because he’s got a lot more to do with the vastly different and more bleaker ending which hopefully might appear on the Blu-Ray extras perhaps. Details on this are in this link: http://www.movies.com/movie-news/world-war-z-original-ending/12638