Jack Hall, paleoclimatologist, must make a daring trek from Washington, D.C. to New York City to reach his son, trapped in the cross-hairs of a sudden international storm which plunges the planet into a new Ice Age.
Life for former United Nations investigator Gerry Lane and his family seems content. Suddenly, the world is plagued by a mysterious infection turning whole human populations into rampaging mindless zombies. After barely escaping the chaos, Lane is persuaded to go on a mission to investigate this disease. What follows is a perilous trek around the world where Lane must brave horrific dangers and long odds to find answers before human civilization falls.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Brad Pitt said of his involvement in the film - "This whole thing started because I just wanted to do a film that my boys could see before they turned 18 - one that they would like, anyways. And they love a zombie." See more »
Gerry's axe in the WHO installation is in fact a splitting maul for splitting logs, not a fire axe or emergency axe as its red paint is trying to suggest. See more »
Good large set-pieces but not so good at producing consistent tension and fear
I'm generally not a fan of zombie movies, not because I don't like them but rather because they seem to easily have an effect on me, chilling me to the bone and staying with me for days (no walking into dark rooms for me). As a result I put off watching World War Z but I was still interested in seeing such a big budget zombie film. The plot sees some form of outbreak and, well, you know what happens. No sooner has Gerry Lane rescued his family from one city, than he is rescued by his old UN employers who want him to help lead a mission to try and find a solution by escorting a doctor to South Korea. No pressure, but the space for his family in safe haven does rely on him saying "yes".
After some very brief character establishment (references to "old job", happy family image etc), we get the first of many set-pieces as an outbreak sweeps across the city and, like many of the set-pieces, it is pretty good stuff. There is plenty of money on the table, lots going on and the scale of it all is suitable for a plot about a global outbreak. The problem is that it never really feels like more than this and the bits in between are not great. The biggest criticism that I can offer is that it did nothing to be other than make me watch the noisy scenes in the way I would with any big blockbuster – and I remind you that I am normally chilled by zombie movies. Here I felt that apart from once or twice, it didn't really do the tension or the horror well, it almost felt too slick, too expensive.
To give a contrast, an outbreak in a closed car park in 28 Weeks Later was really horrific to me (in a good way) but here the one on a plane didn't bring that same feeling. It is hard for me to put my finger on it, but for sure something was missing here. The plot doesn't help – jumping around the world without much linkage and asking the viewer to just go with it; perhaps I would if I had cared more, but everyone apart from Brad Pitt seemed so disposable – just fodder for the attack shots, so I did get numb and also feel remote from it all. Technically it is great and it really is well shot and put together, but it is just the lack of atmosphere that hurts it the most.
It is a big expensive movie though and as a blockbuster it works well enough to give it a go, but it really never works in the ways that would have made it a much superior film.
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