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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 21, 2013

World War Z Review: Definitely Not The Definitive Zombie Movie We Expected

BASED on the book of Max Brooks (son of Director Mel Brooks), “World War Z” is about an apocalyptic worldwide zombie ambition told from the point of view of Brad Pitt, who plays Gerry Lane, a retired U.N. employee, He’s living with his wife (Mireille Enos from the acclaimed TV series, “The Killing”) and two daughters in Philadelphia when the epidemic erupts during a massive traffic jam.

The film starts with a very fast pace. After a brief introduction to Gerry and his family, we are quickly into the thick of the action. He’s called back to service to help fight the virus from destroying all of humanity by finding an antidote, just like in Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion”.

Unlike previous zombie flicks “Night of the Living Dead”, “Dawn of the Dead” and “Evil Dead” made with limited budgets, this one has a much bigger budget, done on a large scale and directed by Marc Foster who helmed award-winning Halle Berry drama “Monsters Ball” and the hit James Bond flick “Quantum of Solace”. He made this zombie outing a truly action-packed flick. This not a reinvention of the zombie genre with individual stories and shades of social significance like the hit TV series “Walking Dead”. You root for Gerry and his family. You want them to survive and this is the sequence that really generates a lot of suspense.

But Gerry goes into full combat mode after leaving his family in a safe ship of refugees and we this becomes an action-thriller with Brad Pitt as a peripatetic action hero and savior of humanity who travels from one place to another (including South Korea, Israel, Wales and Nova Scotia). Well, after all, his motto that he tells the other refugees holed up in a building is: “Movement is life.”

It becomes a one-man show as he braves battling a World Health Organization laboratory filled with flesh-eating zombies even if he is suffering from a deep wound in his stomach. In a sense, he’s also a superhero who saves the world, like Iron Man and Man of Steel.

In all fairness, many scenes are competently executed and are really quite unnerving, like the sight of thousands of people stampeding in panic, scrambling all over each other to get to the top of a wall. Or the airplane crash where passengers are suddenly flying out into the air. They’re surely effective even if we know they’re just computer generated.

But in terms of blood and gore and violent scenes of decapitations, this movie is still quite moderate compared to “Walking Dead” which is certainly more brutal and yucky. There are also some dragging parts that you’d wish they’d quicken up to make the pacing quite faster. The finale of the movie inside the laboratory with Brad Pitt making himself his own guinea pig to test the antidote is so anti-climactic. It’s so quiet compared to past two-thirds of the film that features so much frenetic energy and travelling around.

We’re just wondering why they had to show it in 3-D when it didn’t add anything much to one’s viewing satisfaction. As a matter of fact, when we watched its first screening at SM the Block, the projectionist made a mistake as the images on screen won’t synchronize with the 3D glasses they provided us viewers. We had to call their attention and they had to repeat the movie from the start with the correct adjustments.