Entertainment Movies
Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'World War Z' review: Nonsense goes viral

** (out of four)

Here are some things that don’t make sense to me:

-- Adapting a book that is all detailed oral history and no thrills into the exact opposite—a film that aims for streamlined excitement and minimal human interest within a planet consumed by zombies.

-- Making a zombie horror film restrained enough for a PG-13 rating that relies mostly on faceless, generic CGI oceans of sprinting, screaming monster maniacs—particularly when the book’s zombies were slow.

-- The entire third act of “World War Z,” which, without spoiling, involves characters taking a logical leap and then acting in a way that’s not even consistent with their findings. It’s like they realize they can survive on a glass of water and insist on busting into a Gatorade factory anyway.

This probably should have been expected. Vanity Fair has a thorough article about the many extensive financial and conceptual problems behind director Marc Forster’s (“Quantum Solace”) adaptation of Max Brooks’ completely different 2006 book. In one day two weeks ago, star Brad Pitt made brief appearances at screenings in Chicago, Atlanta, Austin and Philadelphia, probably so people would say after the movie, “I can’t believe we saw Brad Pitt in person!” instead of, “We could have re-watched ‘Contagion’ instead of that mindless drivel.”

Reportedly costing Paramount somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 million, the needlessly 3-D “World War Z” isn’t a total disaster. Pitt’s a credible hero, as his ex-UN investigator works to protect his family and save the world while an increasingly large contingent of snarling baddies craves delicious human flesh. Numerous scenes pack the urgency of a civilization in chaos, reduced to panic and instinct.

Yet with confusing action and muddled dialogue, “World War Z” takes a perceptive story about withering global society and makes it about the special treatment one invincible man receives from the government. In a zombie invasion, most people wouldn’t be saved by helicopters or survive a terrible plane crash within convenient walking distance from a medical research facility.

The film is summer entertainment too bleak to be fun and too bland to be memorable. It’s a product that makes you wish for an escape from all this so-called escapism.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Lollapalooza style portraits

    Lollapalooza style portraits

    Concertgoers pose at the three-day fest in Grant Park.

  • Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    And just like that, there’s only one day left of Lolla. Here’s what stood out to us from day 2. Best: The Tallest Man on Earth: Maybe it was just a right-mood, right-set situation, but boy this was the perfect mid-day act to take a breather, sit in the sun, and just chill and listen to and enjoy....

  • 50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    Shots in The Dark at Parliament Nightclub with 50 Cent and The Underground Nightclub with Wyclef Jean and Joey Fatone July 31st

  • Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    One day down! Here’s the best and worst we saw at Lolla on Friday, plus a few superlatives from day 1. Best: Anyone who knows me knows I was bound to pick Paul McCartney as my favorite act of the day. The Beatle came out and gave it his all with more than two hours of hits, tributes and jokes about...

  • Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    What can you really say about Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, pop music pioneer, worldwide cultural icon, and all-around great guy, that hasn't already been said? I mean, seriously. With the Beatles changing music for the better, becoming a pop culture institution and being "more popular...

  • Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Chicago's ban on plastic bags starts to take effect at many big stores Saturday, but an alderman who helped craft the law already is talking about changing it in order to thwart a few large retail chains that he says are trying to skirt the new rules.

Comments
Loading
69°