Brad Pitt's World War Z arrives in cinemas this weekend after a turbulent production. The apocalyptic zombie epic, based on the acclaimed novel from Max Brooks, began shooting way back in 2011 and was plagued by rumours of on-set friction between Pitt and director Marc Forster. Eventually, the final third of the movie was binned and reshot with an entirely new script.
The pre-release buzz may have been toxic, with a John Carter-esque Hollywood disaster seemingly on the cards, but reviews are pointing towards a blockbuster that's a little more promising. With words like "smart", "thrill-ride" and "gripping" being thrown around, Esquire takes a look at the critical reaction to see if this is worth your while.
Empire (Nick de Semlyen)
"[World War Z] result is slick, tense and hangs together fine, far from the disaster many predicted during its tortured birthing. But it's also just a little bit bland and generic. In particular, horror fans jonesing for grand-scale carnage are unlikely to come away entirely satisfied."
Total Film (Paul Bradshaw)
"Sprinting, gnashing, leaping and head-butting their way through civilisation in a swarm of thousands, the Zombie apocalypse finally looks big enough to be believable. Globetrotting from one epic set-piece to the next, WWZ is at its best when the screen is filled – with CG hordes pouring through crowded streets, piling high at city walls and overrunning helicopters like ants."
The Guardian (Peter Bradshaw)
"Alfred Hitchcock gave us mind-blowing finales at Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty. Brad Pitt gives us his own climax in a chemical laboratory just outside Cardiff. On a slightly overcast day. He's the producer-star of this bloated and boring zombie action thriller that's been in production for so long I think I remember first hearing about it in the playground at primary school."
Little White Lies (David Jenkins)
"World War Z is actually pretty damn good, a sombre, globe-hopping apocalypse yarn whose simple, episodic story acts as subtle conduit for much thoughtful geopolitical subtext. One minute Brad Pitt's pony-tailed family man Gerry is cookin' up some pancakes for his kids in a scene of sun-dappled domestic bliss that's so "perfect" as to come across as lightly satirical. The next, he is Earth's only hope for survival."
Digital Spy (Stella Papamichael)
"Zombies are on the rampage in World War Z, but the B-movie premise becomes an epic story of survival in the hands of director Marc Foster. If his Quantum of Solace was too esoteric, then it's the opposite here, as Brad Pitt traverses continents to find a cure to the fast-spreading scourge. Everything about the film moves at a breakneck pace, including the zombies. It's a total rush."