It looks like Hollywood executives can sleep a little easier at night, once again content in the knowledge that they can solve a problem by throwing enough money at it. Thanks to $20 million in reshoots, Marc Forster's World War Z
has managed to conceal most of the cosmetic evidence of its clusterfuck production and emerge as an eminently watchable summer blockbuster. That said, it remains fundamentally flawed. Billed as “an oral history of the zombie war,” Max Brooks' inventive 2006 novel-turned-source material saw dozens of characters sharing their horrific accounts of humanity's annihilation at the rotting hands of the undead. It’s disappointing, then, that this adaptation centers on just a single character. Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a former U.N. investigator whose family is set upon by agents of the zombie apocalypse. With this brand of walking dead more akin to rabid sprinters than somnambulists, humanity is quite literally overrun in record time. Forster's previous work on Quantum of Solace
and Machine Gun Preacher
hasn’t instilled much faith in his aptitude for directing action, and he lives down to his reputation here. The best that can be said is that his lack of spatial awareness occasionally serves to heighten the frantic chaos of the large-scale skirmishes. What World War Z
most glaringly lacks, though, is any unique sensibility. The screenplay has no interest in subtext—the lifeblood of any great zombie film. Ultimately, such a product can only satisfy the most mindless of hordes.