World War Z ★★½

Victory sealed with purple soda.

Incompetent in the expected ways. Egregious errors are obvious, but quickly: a wife whose only job is to sit by a phone; the fact anyone survives that plane crash; a film that is more or less Contagion without any thematic or intellectual weight; and did we need that voiceover for the ending? But not entirely without merit or at least watchable moments. Film is almost purely bones in the best way possible. After only a single scene of set up, gets the ball rolling ASAP and without bullshit. Exposition is clear, quick, and precise, because no one wants to waste any time playing coy due to the situation at hand. The script takes its outbreak/pandemic material quite seriously, so much that the few jokes actually feel out of place. What really had me excited is the authentic tension in all the build ups. Before violence ever breaks out, Forster understands how to emphasize the quiet before the storm (the fog in the South Korea scene, the flares that light the corridor, the piling of luggage on the plane). I don't watch that many horror movies, but I feel this is basic 101 done right—the fact that sound that attracts the zombies is a simple but wonderful detail that forces the filmmakers to make scenes that aren't big and loud. It's too bad that the zombies do have to attack, because, for Christ's sake, Forster, hold a damn shot. The Philly car chase might be "chaotic" and full of panic, but I can't feel panic if I have no idea if the spatial relationships aren't set up (there's the family car driving through...where? And that semi is moving through what? Aghhhh). I literally threw my hands up during this, the stairwell, and Israel because I literally couldn't see what was happening. All the most exciting shots during the action scenes are the big panoramic CGI sweeps, as it's the one time we can see anything. However, I don't know what happened to Forster with the reshoots, because everything in the final hospital sequence is terse, quiet, and almost always easy to follow. I almost got a Jurassic Park Velociraptor-vibe from it. Which made me think how Spielberg could have made a killing with this material. But whatever. The Keep was sold out.