World War Z (12A)
A zombie movie without blood, guts and gore is not a zombie movie, and World War Z lacks serious bite.
Through the eyes and experiences of Brad Pitt’s Everyman, a former United Nations investigator named Gerry Lane, we witness the world being overrun by the living dead.
Gerry spends a lot of his time on planes and helicopters getting an aerial view of civilisation as it collapses. And as his journey takes him from Philadelphia to South Korea to Israel to Wales he (and we) continue to ask how it all began, and how it all might be stopped.
A movie that dallies with established zombie lore, World War Z makes the critical mistake of attempting to evolve what fans of the genre know, love and expect. Thus it is that there is far too much talk, too little action and far too few zombies.
Director Marc Forster zips from one eye-popping visual to another. Gerry, his wife and two daughters flee Philadelphia at the outset of the film as the plague takes hold. Soon it becomes apparent that the whole of the United States is affected as well as the wider world.
It is this rapidity of pace that prevents World War Z from being an outright failure. But even then the most impressive scenes have already been glimpsed in the pre-release trailer.
Pitt endures a dizzying journey across the globe in search of an answer. The yo-yoing of the storyline means he leaps from one frenetic moment to another. Yet those episodes are punctuated by rather too many instances of near tedium.
A finale set in a labyrinthine laboratory complex seems to have strayed from a completely different film – as if the mammoth budget ran out and a shoestring was all that remained. This, however, is where the real tension lies.
A peculiar and unwieldy hybrid, World War Z is set up for a sequel that can only be better than the film that spawned it.