I Paid Money to See ‘World War Z’ (So You Don’t Have To)


I’m don’t consider myself to be much of a movie critic. I like movies, I have opinions, but I never really studied film in a class context. So you have my permission to take the following review with a big, heaping grain of salt.

That being said, World War Z the film was pretty disappointing. I has suspicions of its suckage going into it, of course. I even tried to amend my expectations to fit what I knew would be a film COMPLETELY UNLIKE the book I love so much.

My compulsion to see this film can best be described by this scenario from my childhood:

  1. My dad says “Smell this!”
  2. I know I shouldn’t do it
  3. I smell it anyway
  4. I gag at how horrible it smells while my dad laughs hysterically

It was kind of like that.

Image from Flixist.com
Image from Flixist.com

WWZ was underwhelming at best. I’m going to break it down now *starts beat-boxing poorly*. BOOM CHICKA BOOM!

Word War Z breakdown – Cons

  • Well, for starters, the movie is nothing like the book. I knew this. Most people knew this. Still, it made me sad.
  • The PG13 rating kept the gore to a minimum, which was disappointing.
  • Brad Pitt’s hair. ‘Nuff said.
  • The action in the movie starts pretty immediately, but with little to no explanation as to what’s going on.
  • I was very confused as to what Brad Pitt’s actual job at the UN was. Maybe it was just “generic action hero/smart dude with ninja skills” and the writers just expected the audience to buy it.
  • Only one direct quote from the book was used in the movie. (I shouldn’t have been disappointed by this, but whatever. Such a let-down.)
  • The movie seemed to follow a very obvious pattern, which went like this: Brad Pitt goes into new area, Brad Pitt talks to people and discovers a small clue to help him find the zombie cure, something painfully stupid occurs and the zombies attack, Brad Pitt notices something weird about the zombies in slow motion while people die all around him, Brad Pitt survives against ALL CONCEIVABLE ODDS and staggers off to a new place, and the pattern starts again.
  • A handful of characters, such as Brad’s wife and kids, were developed early on in the film (developed enough to be vaguely interesting) and then basically shunted to the sidelines for the rest of the film. It would have been MUCH more interesting to see them encounter zombies without Brad’s help.
  • The first time you see the interior of the UN safety ship, the film does a sweeping overhead shot of everyone working. Later, they use the EXACT SAME SHOT again. In my opinion, that is really really bad editing. The reason I noticed was because a woman with blonde curly hair (one of the only women on the ship) is walking across the shot with a bunch of papers in her hand and talking to someone next to her. Their conversation looked kind of fake, and in my head I was like “Check out those bad extras.” So when they used the shot again, and the same bad extras were walking across the scene in the exact same way….Ooof. EPIC FAIL, WWZ editors. EPIC FAIL.

Despite the laundry list of problems in the film, there were some okay things about it too.

Word War Z breakdown – Pros

  • Right in the beginning of the film, there is a truly excellent scene of a man being bitten, and then convulsing and contorting as he transforms into a zombie. It’s beautifully done. The actor does a great job with the crazy movements, and there’s a strange recording being played over the scene with a child counting to ten (which winds up being significant). It’s probably the best scene in the movie.
  • The zombies sprint, leap, and stampede like animals. Their speed completely negates a lot of the zombie-survival logic in the book (such as timing shots to a metronome), but it’s a new and interesting twist on zombie movement. In some ways the WWZ zombies remind me a lot of the “spider orcs” that so many people complained about in the Fellowship of the Ring’s mines of Moria scene. Their movements are very insectile.
  • I won’t ruin the “zombie cure” they come up with in the movie for you. It’s kind of….meh. I’d classify it as a deux ex machina just a bit, but it’s kind of clever.
  • Near the end of the film, Brad Pitt has facetime with one specific zombie and it’s preeeeeetty terrific. It’s easy to forget that there are actors beneath the zombie makeup, and this actor did a wonderful job. In particular, he did this teeth chompy thing that was quite frightening. So, mad props to him!

Yeaaaaah. That’s about it for the pros. I thought the movie had a few decent surprises in it, but literally ANY sudden movement or loud noise can make me jump. I would definitely suggest that you wait until World War Z hits the movie rental store, Redbox, or Netflix. It’s not worth the money to see in theaters.

Any differing (or concurring) opinions? Let me know if the comments!

4 thoughts on “I Paid Money to See ‘World War Z’ (So You Don’t Have To)

  1. Here’s the thing: most of the time when a book is turned into a movie, it fails. There have been some great book to TV/movie interpretations (I’ve heard Game of Thrones is fantastic), but they have been few and far between. I loved your review and because of this; I have a feeling that I’ll enjoy the book better than the movie.

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