I went to see World War Z yesterday and while I looked forward to seeing it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. There’s the usual hype that accompanies a Brad Pitt film and a zombie apocalypse film to boot but I recall hearing that the film was tweaked and reshot and normally that doesn’t bode well. I saw the movie at 11:30 (yes, a.m.) on a Sunday and the theater was fairly full. It is opening weekend so that indicates three possibilities: good word of mouth, lack of other zombie/action movies and a lot of Brad Pitt fans.
World War Z did not disappoint. It started with the usual first few minutes of character introduction and brief backstory before it plunged the viewers directly into the action and terror. And it did not let go until the very end. Plan on using the bathroom facilities before the movie starts and either avoid drinking altogether or stick with a small size because you do not want to miss a thing. Just when you think you can catch your breath and breathe, director Marc Forster starts the roller coaster up again, often dropping you from greater heights. That’s how exciting this movie is.
Don’t think that this is a typical zombie movie, full of brain eating and gratuitous gore. Yes, there are several scenes that are unsettling and flat out disturbing but World War Z is an intelligent zombie flick, moreso about stopping a worldwide pandemic than getting teens into theaters. It could just have easily been the Spanish Flu (mentioned briefly in the film) affecting mankind as zombies and it still would have worked, although running from, fighting and stopping the undead is a lot scarier on film.
Brad Pitt is perfectly suited as lead character Gerry, a United Nations employee who is trying to save the human race, and I say that as someone who is generally not a fan of Pitt’s. He has turned in some good roles in the past but has just as often headlined some real crapfests and having him headline this film was not a selling point for me. However, he plays Gerry very realistically. There is a humbleness to his performance, he’s not interested in being the hero (as I am sure fellow thespian Tom Cruise would have inserted into the role), he merely wants to ensure his family’s safety and return to them. The action sequences were also very real – - no running, running, running, jumping off tall buildings and outrunning explosions as you would see in a Mission Impossible installment.
Despite the chatter, I wouldn’t bill World War Z as a horror movie. It’s an action film, of sorts, and it’s a suspenseful thriller. Was the ending expected and pat? Sure, but that didn’t detract from the excitement during the film. If there were any weak parts during the movie, Brad Pitt and company managed to pull you through it.
In short, World War Z kept me invested and on the edge of my seat. I loved it and thought it was possibly the best zombie movie I have seen. The photography is incredible – - just check out of the aerial scenes above Jerusalem. And as previously mentioned, Brad Pitt made for a sympathetic and wholly likable protagonist – - one with faults and who had to rely on his intelligence to get by. World War Z is a simple concept done very, very well. Go see it!