World War Z: Extended Action Cut review

Is this $200million zombie blockbuster the ultimate disaster movie or just a disaster of a movie?

Based on Max Brooks' best-selling novel of the same name, this epic action horror stars Brad Pitt as a former United Nations investigator tasked with travelling the globe in an attempt to find a cure for a zombie outbreak sweeping the planet.

Trapped in development hell for years, only to finally go into production and then be subjected to last minute rewrites that resulted in the entire final act being reshot, it's something of a miracle that this $200million zombiethon isn't a complete disaster. It's not a rousing success either.

The global approach to the undead pandemic gives World War Z an epic feel, but also makes it seem slightly disjointed and episodic. Additionally, while the major set-pieces have plenty of impact, the decision to play down the actual violence renders the zombies themselves a little toothless when compared to what even a TV series, such as The Walking Dead, currently offers.

But if you're more interested in action than scares and like a spot of globetrotting adventure in your movies, then World War Z is a perfectly enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.

Picture: World War Z's AVC-encoded 2.40:1 1080p imagery won't necessarily win any awards as home cinema demo material, but that doesn't stop it from doing a fine job of replicating the film's deliberately flat and drab aesthetic.

For the most part the colour palette is fairly subdued, which only serves to make the sudden intrusion of primary tones (such as the red lighting that bathes the stairwell in the lead-up to the rooftop helicopter rescue in Chapter 4) that much more jarring.

Detailing remains impressive throughout, however. Clothing and faces are particularly well rendered, with every intricate crease and wrinkle being cleanly delineated without the need to resort to digital sharpening tools.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: Paramount's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix is every bit as apocalyptic as you could wish for – the giant scale of the film's major action scenes are matched blow-for-blow by the remarkable breadth, depth and power of the disc's sonics. In other words, it's the kind of bombastic track that will have you ducking for cover as an exploding helicopter sends shrapnel flying across the entire soundstage in Chapter 9, or grabbing on to the arms of your chair as a gaping hole in the side of a passenger jet whips wind around you in Chapter 11. Pure home cinema gold.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: The film's tumultuous production history, and the fact that a different third act was shot and screened to test audiences, is common knowledge, so the rather innocuous array of extras actually on offer is extremely disappointing.

Origins (eight minutes) looks at the genesis of the film. Looking to Science (seven minutes) covers the attempts to ground the film in the science of actual viral outbreaks. Finally, WWZ: Production (36 minutes) is split into four parts, each looking at the making of a specific scene. Meh.
Extras rating: 1.5/5

We say: Powerful 7.1 sonics and striking hi-def visuals give this zombie blockbuster added bite on BD

World War Z: Extended Action Cut, Paramount, All-region BD, £25 Approx