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
  • Donald Trump says cops should be tougher on Chicago crime

    Donald Trump says cops should be tougher on Chicago crime

    Businessman Donald Trump brought his nascent bid for the Republican presidential nomination to town Monday, warning that crime in Chicago is "out of control" and hurting the city's image worldwide.

  • South Carolina church shooting shines spotlight on media treatment of white, black suspects

    South Carolina church shooting shines spotlight on media treatment of white, black suspects

    I have been to the Grammy Awards. I have had features written about my music in Billboard, XXL, Jet and other magazines I've always loved. Oprah Winfrey told me to my face that she loves my dreads and purple eyebrows. My music is played on TV shows and movies, and I write about my opinionated views...

  • 'Magic Mike XXL' is the summer's best sequel so far

    'Magic Mike XXL' is the summer's best sequel so far

    2012’s “Magic Mike” and its sequel, “Magic Mike XXL,” could have been so stupid, and I’m sure those who haven’t seen either one assume that they are. I mean, think of how cheesy a movie about male strippers could be. Based on the commercials, they barely seem like movies at all—just two-hour thrust-athons...

  • Vince Staples' sprawling double album 'Summertime '06' is relentlessly gritty

    Vince Staples' sprawling double album 'Summertime '06' is relentlessly gritty

    Vince Staples deals in pessimism, for good reason. The Long Beach rapper has seen a lot of violence and despair in his 21 years. He'll tell you about it too, in unflinching clarity that few artists his age possess. There’s little if any hope in his music. Yet even with the darkness oozing out of...

  • RedEye's favorite songs of 2015 (so far)

    RedEye's favorite songs of 2015 (so far)

    As we reach 2015's midpoint, it's clear that the year in music has been incredible, with a little bit of everything, from classic soul, rap, emo, '70s funk, grunge and scorching Southern rock to searing punk, bubblegum pop and jazz fusion. In particular, Kendrick Lamar's rap-funk masterpiece "To...

  • RedEye's 25 favorite albums of 2015 (so far)

    RedEye's 25 favorite albums of 2015 (so far)

    As we reach 2015's midpoint, it's clear that the year in music has been incredible, with a little bit of everything from classic soul, rap, emo, '70s funk, grunge and scorching Southern rock to searing punk, bubblegum pop and jazz fusion. In particular, Kendrick Lamar's rap-funk masterpiece "To...

Comments
Loading