WORLD WAR Z (Marc Forster). 116 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens today (June 20). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NN
All World War Z had to do was turn Max Brooks's chilling, weirdly credible novel about a global zombie plague into a movie that was half as cinematic as its source.
Instead, producer/star Brad Pitt, director Marc Forster and a host of screenwriters have dumped everything from the book but the title and the concept, boiling it down to a two-hour action movie in which Pitt runs away from zombies over and over again.
Forster swaps out the book's traditional undead for fast zombies, using the 28 Days Later model of immediate infection to create zombie hordes in just minutes. This means the movie can run at a breakneck pace, sprinting from the eastern United States to South Korea, Israel and Wales - but it also means that the same thing keeps happening.
Seeking the source of the pandemic, Pitt's heroic UN fixer, Gerry Lane (who does not appear in Brooks's novel), lands somewhere and asks a few questions; the zombies show up and overrun the place; Lane flees and goes to the next location.
Director Forster (Monster's Ball, Quantum Of Solace) still can't handle complex action sequences, and the lowered light levels in the 3D conversion just make everything murky. The final movement is more focused and intense than the rest of the picture, and adds Peter Capaldi as a W.H.O. researcher, but it arrives too late to turn things around.