June 2013 sees another high profile release in the form of Brad Pitt vehicle, World War Z. The film, based on the book of the same name, aimed to put a new spin on the zombie sub-genre by making a more action orientated film rather than horror. It went through a number of years stuck in development hell before it finally came together with director Marc Forster and Brad Pitt in the leading role. I was surprised though that it ended up being released with a 15 certificate in the UK when it aimed to be a 12A and the gore is left off screen, mostly.
The only other film I can think of that had a similar premise was the abysmal Battle: Los Angeles which put the US Army up against an alien military force, going in to World War Z I had my fingers crossed I would not be in for the same kind of thing. Luckily my prayers were answered and the film actually had a number of things that I did not expect. There is very little set up at the movies beginning and before you even got comfortable you’re ripped into zombie apocalypse mode. The turning of the city does not take long and the first twenty minutes or so mainly consists of action sequences as Pitt escorts his family away from the danger as quickly as he can. It’s not an unfamiliar kind of situation but it’s well carried out and tension is built masterfully by director Forster. The abrupt start gives you a taster of what you can expect from the rest of the film, while it has a emotional drive very little time is spent building story and you is much more concerned in showing you slick action scenes with the emotional core bubbling underneath and keeping you attached to the events. For once I actually noticed some good use of 3D, a form that I am strictly against in general, but there were moments of World War Z, in particular a scene that involves a grenade and a plane, were I was actually pleased the showing times only allowed me to see it with bulky glasses attached. When we reach the last act of the movie it doesn’t really feel as though you’ve been through enough story to warrant the ending but it doesn’t make the final scenes any less tense. The end comes abruptly but the fact that I wanted the movie to go on can’t be a bad problem for it to have.
While World War Z may be one of the least anticipated blockbusters of the summer its a welcome surprise that its not as bad as you may have expected. Despite being more horror than it perhaps it set out to be and not really delivering on its promise of military style battle this could turn out to be a surprisingly good franchise if the second instalment delivers on its promises. A better film than Man of Steel this film is a fun watch ad welcome addition to the summer of 2013.