Posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2013 by Angie Han
World War Z has been plagued by reports of behind-the-scenes trouble from the get-go, leaving fans to worry that long-gestating adaptation would fall far short of its widely beloved source material. But in the end, what matters isn’t whether director Marc Forster and star/producer Brad Pitt struggled mightily to make the movie, but whether they succeeded in making a good one.
And on that front, critical opinion seems to be deeply divided. For every reviewer that calls the film “a total rush,” there’s another who knocks it as “World War Zzzzz.” Hit the jump to read the early responses.
Reactions following some of World War Z‘s earliest screenings were very positive — surprisingly so, given how rocky the production was.
saw the long awaited #worldwarz last night. first 45 mins scared the living heck at me. nearly broke my girls hand I was so tense. Go Pitt
— darren aronofsky (@DarrenAronofsky) May 23, 2013
World War Z will probably be the most intense movie you will see this summer…I was shocked it was that good. So much for those re-shoots.
— LatinoReview-Kel (@Latinoreview) May 23, 2013
So after all that fuss, 'World War Z' turned out to be a surprisingly effective zombie thriller.
— Mike Sampson (@mjsamps) May 23, 2013
As longer, more in-depth reviews cropped up this weekend, though, the consensus became less clear. To be sure, some folks still had high praise for it.
It’s a total rush. [...] All this excitement could wake the dead.
WWZ is a popcorn movie on the level of Independence Day. But like that summer hit, Forster’s film never flags and is always entertaining.
World War Z is a big, sweeping — and fairly fresh — take on the age-old zombie genre.
Others seemed less disappointed by the film itself than by the squandered potential.
World War Z isn’t terrible. Parts are impressive and exciting. But the incredibly long distance it falls short of its source material means it must rank as one of Hollywood’s most wasted opportunities.
Zombies are becoming too archetypal a concept in cinema, and it requires something really innovative to fully justify spending a lot of money to re-enter the world of the undead, and though this certainly has its moments, it’s just not quite creative or original enough.
There were some critics who really didn’t care for the movie at all.
What a disaster. This end-of-the-world epic [...] 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…
But most reactions fell somewhere in the middle. While the action scenes sounds appropriately big and epic, it sounds like there isn’t much heart, humor, or gore to go around.
Despite a lavish budget heading for $200 million (£131 million), World War Z borders on a damp squib for traditional zombie fans. More an action blockbuster than a horror squelcher, it contains spectacular crowd scenes that have an Hieronymus Bosch quality, but the film lacks strong meat — of the emotional and bloody zombie-cannibal sort.
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).
What we get is a collection of moderately violent action set-pieces untroubled by humour or broader coherence. [...] [T]here’s no heart to be found amid the guts.
World War Z opens June 21.