Friday, July 19, 2013

World War Z

The latest Brad Pitt flick transports us around the world as humanity drops to it's knees in the presence of a rapidly ubiquitous plague of zombies.

Marc Forster's 'World War Z' doesn't wait to get straight into the good stuff, within five minutes of the opening credits finishing a berserk individual attacks the jugular of another in a Philadelphia traffic jam. The film follows the story of cool and composed Gerry Lane, played by Pitt, who is an ex-UN employee. He is tasked with finding the origin of the rampant plague and his mazy tour of the world leads him to the cure.

What struck me quite early on were some particularly illogical sections in the film. The first taking place outside a supermarket that, in the wake of the outbreak, is being raided. We're all familiar with 'Every man for himself' scenario. This is even addressed in the film as Pitt's wife is being harassed and a police officer seemingly runs to her aid but is in fact running for supplies. Pitt and his family arrive at the supermarket with a stolen R.V, which Pitt leaves key in ignition in the middle of the car park. Who didn't foresee the theft of the R.V coming the second they got out? Furthermore, Pitt is forced to leave his family to pursue the cure, both him and his wife have a satellite phone and Pitt specifies that only he will call her. Fast forward to a fraught scene where a troupe of soldiers, including Pitt, have to be quiet to avoid drawing the attention of the ravenous zombies. Of course, the wife chooses to call her husband at such moment and wrecks operation. Lastly, before the beginning of an excursion into zombie territory Pitt refuses to use a gun due to it being too loud. His woman companion takes it instead and of course unnecessarily uses it. SPOILER - One more frankly bizarre moment occurs when the described 'only hope' of the human race slips and shoots himself in the head.

This film also highlights Brad Pitt's deplorable inability to display raw emotion. Tragedy, anger and frustration of the purest form simply aren't in his repertoire. For those who recall David Fincher's sickly conclusion to the thrilling 'Seven', Pitt's endeavour to portray the face of a broken man wasn't successful to say the least. This underlines that his style of acting is arguably more basic, but in this case he does more with less. Passive emotion in 'The Tree of Life' meant he could convey sentiment in a more innocuous manner.

The players change but the game stays the same. I'm sure there were many people who wanted to know what Brad Pitt would be like in a zombie film, but this seems to be the only reason why people would want to see WWZ. Forster's film differed from other zombie flicks with it's globe-trotting facet, jumping from South Korea to Israel to Cardiff, but other than that it brought nothing new to the table. The reason for this is because the producers, over the years, have ascertained what the public want and so they deploy the same formatted product every summer as a blockbuster. Certainly, $128 million gross for WWZ would prove this. In essence, these 'repeats' are a fail-safe way of making money.

From a business point of view, this is all very effective and ingenious but from an artistic and cinematic point of view it's not what we want to see. I would at least expect the companies to give up and coming directors or actors positions so that they graft in the production and gain experience. Moreover, couldn't they add an edge or characteristic to the film that would set it aside to the rest? Create depth of character for the protagonist, possibly some personal turmoil, all with the mutual goal to create a more defined film.

All in all, the film is very watchable. Definitely don't expect anything new from WWZ but it will entertain you for a few hours. Undoubtedly, it bears some extremely tense and thrilling scenes but the plot is a product of trial and error.
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