World War Z
Direction: Marc Forster
Actors: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos
Another week, another doomsday flick at the multiplexes. Of late, scores of scriptwriters have imagined the human race assailed by alien nasties, lusty vampires and what-catastrophe-have-you.
Aiming to create a dire warning of the world that could be, World War Z envisions the planet plunged into chaos following a zombie apocalypse.
Unfortunately, the end-of-times fantasy is decidedly inferior to the similarly-themed 28 Days Later, Planet Terror, or the cycle of the Living Dead frightmares by George Romero.
Adapted from the 2006 novel by Max Brooks (son of Mel and the late Anne Bancroft), the action/horror hybrid was plagued by production problems.
The script underwent several rewrites and some scenes had to be reshot. The troubled gestation reflects in the unfocused outcome.
The narrative kick-starts at breakneck speed when a former United Nations war-zone fixer (Pitt) and his family get stuck in a traffic jam in Philadelphia. Sprinting out of nowhere, a swarm of zombies starts chowing down on the fleeing motorists. Worse is to follow.
If anyone can halt the pandemic it’s our reluctant hero who gets recruited back to his old job. Crisscrossing several exotic locations ranging from Cardiff to Nova Scotia, he must not only find the source of the virus but also an antidote to contain the infestation.
Director Forster, who earlier helmed the James Bond caper, Quantum of Solace, seems hopelessly ill-at-ease while tackling this derivative yarn. Heavy-handed dialogue is interspersed with the mandatory bouts of action involving the reanimated cadavers.
Disparate plot elements fail to cohere while the simplistic, upbeat conclusion is a cop-out. Even the close encounters with the ravenous undead at the WHO. laboratory in Wales becomes a chore to sit through.
Brad Pitt, who also co-produced the movie, delivers a reliably expert performance. The other actors come across as ciphers who display the appropriate this-can’t-be-happening-to-us expressions. At the end of two hours, World War Z leaves us quite exhausted.