Has the critical tide has turned on Marc Forster and Brad Pitt‘s World War Z (Paramount, 6.21)? Will anyone at Paramount give o hoot if it has? World War Z is about as critic-proof as they come, but on a deep-down level the filmmakers want the approval of the critical elite, even if Paramount marketing execs are indifferent. In any event Scott Foundas‘s Variety rave indicates that other critics may follow suit…maybe.
“Rising from an early grave of negative pre-release publicity, director Marc Forster and producer-star Brad Pitt’s much-maligned World War Z emerges as a surprisingly smart, gripping and imaginative addition to the zombie-movie canon, owing as much to scientific disaster movies like The China Syndrome and Contagion as it does to undead ur-texts like the collected works of George Romero.
“Showing few visible signs of the massive rewrites, reshoots and other post-production patchwork that delayed its release from December 2012, this sleekly crafted, often nail-biting tale of global zombiepocalypse clicks on both visceral and emotional levels, resulting in an unusually serious-minded summer entertainment whose ideal audience might be described as comicbook fanboys who also listen to Democracy Now.
“Considering the incoherent shambles he made out of Quantum of Solace, Forster handles the large-scale action here with considerable aplomb and much striking imagery, enhanced by the seamless mix of choreography, prosthetics and CG that bring the herking, jerking zombies to ‘life.’ That these zombies have particularly sensitive hearing allows Forster and his sound designers a field day with creaking doors, broken glass crunching underfoot, and in one especially tense moment, a soda can rolling across a cafeteria floor.
“Moreover, the director always keeps the movie rooted in a compelling dramatic situation, with Pitt giving a very appealing turn as the seen-it-all veteran of the world’s worst places whose desire to protect his family trumps his desire to save the world. By today’s standards, he’s a refreshingly human-scaled movie hero, with no outsized strength, agility or superpowers to help him win the day.”