Several World War Z reviews are in, and for the most part they have been hardly enthusiastic. Directed by Marc Forster and starring Brad Pitt (who also wears a producer’s hat in the film), World War Z has been a troubled production from the get-go: there were financing woes, the budget reportedly escalated from $125 million to $200 million, there were numerous rewrites and quite a bit of reshooting, in addition to a red-alert delay in the film’s release date.
Anyhow, here are a few English-language World War Z review snippets. Of note, perhaps it’s only a coincidence, but the American publications have tended to be considerably more welcoming to World War Z than the British / Irish ones:
"What a disaster. This end-of-the-world epic — Brad Pitt’s ’baby,’ which he’s been working on since 2007 — is mostly bland and extremely bloated. It’s Z for zombie, in case you’re wondering. But a more apt title would be World War Zzzzz… Rumour has it that the film’s backers, panicked by spiralling costs, leaned on Pitt to turn out a more family-friendly product. All we do know for sure: his undeniably spectacular offering has little in common with the blackly comic source novel by Max Brooks." Charlotte O’Sullivan in the London Evening Standard.
"Forster (Quantum Of Solace) does fast and furious perfectly, but his widescreen approach doesn’t work so well when Lane’s [Brad Pitt’s character] investigation leads him down the dingy corridors of horror movies past and present. Conspicuously bloodless, the PG-13 rating rears its family friendly head whenever the camera gets too close for comfort, and a dumbed down finale looks suspiciously like a scene from every zombie flick that’s ever been made. But it’s not just the intestines that are missing — with Lane’s family crisis set against such a monumental backdrop, WWZ is sorely lacking in heart (and with it, any genuine sense of danger)." Paul Bradshaw, Total Film.
"Marc Forster’s film junks the satire [found in Max Brooks’ World War Z novel] and multiple perspectives, and instead recasts the story as an uncomplicated globe-trotting thriller. On one side we have Lane [Brad Pitt] and a roster of temporary sidekicks, and on the other, an inexhaustible supply of the living dead. What we get is a collection of moderately violent action set-pieces untroubled by humour or broader coherence." Robbie Collin, Independent.ie.
"[World War Z] is most impressive in its big set-pieces. The initial panic on the streets of Philadelphia is thrillingly done, as is the fall of Jerusalem to the zombie horde. There’s also an effective airborne sequence. But it is horrifyingly feeble when it comes to characterisation. Brad Pitt’s hero lacks personality. All we know is that he loves his family, but no one has given him or his relations any exceptional qualities." Chris Tookey in the Daily Mail.
"There is certainly a tension running through [World War Z] between latent serious ambition and lowest-common-denominator-pleasing requirements, with the latter ruling the day most of the time without entirely erasing evidence of the former. Notwithstanding the expectation that the brave leading man and his adored family will somehow come out of it all unscathed, there are a few narrative surprises along the way and an absence of dumb, clunking dialogue that often infects such fare." Todd McCarthy in The Hollywood Reporter.
"Less effective, unfortunately, is the third act of the film. World War Z’s production problems have been well-publicized, … but it’s only during the film’s denouement that you can possibly see those fracture lines. It’s tough to discuss the ending, obviously, without spoiling it, but essentially Pitt’s Gerry … makes a really dumb choice that will decide not just his fate, or his family’s, but the world’s. And the results of that choice are even more dumb. Along the way, much of the logic and "real world" feel of the film go out the window as well." Scott Collura at IGN.
"Anyone who has watched Forster’s Bond effort Quantum of Solace likely remembers how busily directed and edited it was, and disappointingly, exactly the same is true here. Likely attributed to the director re-hiring Quantum co-editor Matt Chesse, World War Z is a frantic, messily constructed him, so keen to convince you that it’s exciting and kinetic that it fails to provide even basic coverage of many of the action beats." Shaun Munro in WhatCulture!
"… director Marc Forster and producer-star Brad Pitt’s much-maligned World War Z emerges as a surprisingly smart, gripping and imaginative addition to the zombie-movie canon, owing as much to scientific disaster movies like The China Syndrome and Contagion as it does to undead ur-texts like the collected works of George Romero. … this sleekly crafted, often nail-biting tale of global zombiepocalypse clicks on both visceral and emotional levels, resulting in an unusually serious-minded summer entertainment …” World War Z enthusiast Scott Foundas in Variety.
"The result [in World War Z] is slick, tense and hangs together fine, far from the disaster many predicted during its tortured birthing. But it’s also just a little bit bland and generic. In particular, horror fans jonesing for grand-scale carnage are unlikely to come away entirely satisfied." Nick de Semlyen in Empire.
Brad Pitt heads World War Z cast
Besides Brad Pitt, the World War Z cast includes Mireille Enos, Eric West, David Morse, Matthew Fox, James Badge Dale, Michiel Huisman, David Andrews, and Trevor White. World War Z opens in North America on June 21.
Brad Pitt World War Z photo: Paramount Pictures.