World War Z (2013)

World War Z gives out one definite truth in its two hour running time. It reminds you that in times of crisis, all you need is friends in high places. If important people care about you, it’s all good, if not, you are not getting that helicopter ride and a safe place to stay.

It’s a film with slightly more gravitas than the average blockbuster but in terms of “seriousness Top Trumps”, I think zombie plague beats giant robots. It’s all washed out blues, cold greys and bleak beiges. It boasts passages of important sounding loudspeaker dialogue in near-impenetrable jargon. It is indeed one of the more po-faced blockbusters I’ve seen in recent years.

It has some interesting sciencey bits and the always lovely Brad Pitt to look at along with some crazy set pieces. It is unfortunately dampened by the great cinematic threat that is CGI. When it’s used for something as arbitrary as blood (confusingly, there is one key scene where practical FX are used for a severed hand), you can only resent what you are looking at.

I don’t know how to effectively summarise. It’s a film that can be huge in scope one minute then sparse in information the next. I guess it’s this inconsistency in tone that is telling of the film, it’s got some potential but it never quite reaches the plateau I believe it could. One thing it does do right is recognising where The Walking Dead mistepped and leaves the kids (goddamn if that Carl kid is not one of the most annoying characters in television) and the wife at home whilst Dad Brad single handedly saves the day.

I’d say that it is unexpectedly brutal, sometimes quite arresting but never truly jaw-dropping. Brad Pitt is almost always a pleasure to watch so he wins no points but Marc Forster has a very good go at establishing a truly global disaster without losing any human tragedy. It left me both pleasantly surprised and wanting a bit more so the rumoured and probably inevitable sequel will always be welcomed.

– Oliver Drew

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