Matt Adcock’s film review: World War Z is middle-ranking brain-munching fare

Brad Pitt stars in World War Z.
Brad Pitt stars in World War Z.

“Life as we know it will come to an end in 90 days. It’s on us to change that…”

Zombies are hot property this year with the pleasing zom-rom Warm Bodies, undead cop thrills in R.I.P.D and The Returned bringing quality zombie mystery to TV along with the continuingly excellent Walking Dead.

For sheer large scale, big screen undead action we now have World War Z, so does it really bring the subject alive?

It’s based on the novel by Max Brooks, and Brad Pitt plays United Nations worker Gerry Lane, who must save humanity virtually single-handed in the face of a pandemic zombie uprising.

We’re thrown straight in to a seemingly normal day in Philadelphia – Lane is on a family trip with his wife Karin (Mirielle ‘Gangster Squad’ Enos) and daughters Constance (Sterling Jerins) and Rachel (Abigail Hargrove).

Before you can say ‘this is a bit dull’ the Lanes are up to their necks in crazed zombies and the fuse is lit for the rest of the film.

While his family bunks up on a military vessel, Lane is dispatched to globetrot from South Korea to Jerusalem and, erm, South Wales in order to track down where the zombie virus originated.

The zombies of World War Z aren’t your general shuffling brain-hungry menace – these are twitching, sprinting, gnashing terrors who are attracted to sound and who recruit normal people to their undead ranks in just seconds after being bitten.

There are some great standout scenes of mass zombies overrunning cities and a genuine sense of threat to everyone in the story – except Lane…

The biggest problem for World War Z is that Pitt is so much the star here that you never for a moment really think he’s going to die.

So while he ineptly bumbles around the film’s re-shot climactic sequence in a Cardiff World Health Organisation HQ, making noise by dropping cans of product-placed Mountain Dew, there isn’t the required tension because – well, it’s Brad and he’s obviously going to make it to the credits so that he’s available to star in any potential sequel.

He is lovely, though, with his flowing blonde locks.

World War Z’s tinkering with the plot and star focus won’t please fans of the source book but it does provide a good-looking big screen zombie-em-up .

In the 2013 summer blockbusters league table, it ranks below Man of Steel but well above After Earth.