World War Z, adapted from Max Brooks’ semi-modern classic book, was a strange sort of surprise last summer. It didn’t follow the usual template for summer blockbusters — its biggest setpiece comes in the first scene, and its climax is strangely and purposefully anti-climatic — so critics heaped praise upon the film. Directed by Marc Forster, whose career has been steadily losing the hint of lustrous promise insinuated by his first two films (Monster’s Ball and Finding Neverland), World War Z was a hugely forgettable but unexpectedly popular zombie apocalypse blockbuster with occasional moments of daring repudiation.
Forster is responsible for the polarizing Quantum of Solace and the lopsided, messy adaptation of the mega bestselling The Kite Runner, and he brings the same lack of style to World War Z. He eschews the humor that defined the book and instead pours generic apocalyptic action down our throats. His zombies are poorly rendered seas of CGI, moving in undulating waves through forlorn middle eastern landscapes and through the funneled confines of Jerusalem’s stone corridors. The characters are bland, and the moments that hint at suspense are lacking because there’s no reason to care about any of these people. Mireille Enos is handed a stock role as the worried wife while Brad Pitt and his gorgeous flowing blond locks (this dude is 50?) travels the world trying to save humanity.
On the bright side, David Morse steals his sole scene as an imprisoned CIA operative who knows a concerning amount about the impending apocalypse, and the final 20 minutes or so are fairly tense, if stupid.